However, although Ibrahim AS sought forgiveness from Allah for his father, when it was clearly established that his father was an enemy of Allah, he disassociated himself from his father.
The Da’wah of Ibrahim AS to his community
Ibrahim AS was keen to share the guidance that he had received with the rest of his community. The core Message was the same as it had ever been – to worship only Allah and not to associate any partners with Him. Ibrahim AS tried to make them abandon idolatry, but like the fallen communities of the previous Prophets and Messengers, the community was too ingrained in ignorance and replicating the blind practice of their forefathers to distinguish between truth and falsehood.
And recite to them the news of Ibrahim, When he said to his father and his people, "What do you worship?" They said, "We worship idols and remain to them devoted." (Al Qur'an 26:69-71) He tried to appeal to their intelligence, asking whether the idols that they were so attached to could hear them supplicate, or were able to either benefit or harm them.
Idolatry is an illogical practice – a creator is always superior to what he created, and by worshipping what they create, idolaters are effectively worshipping something inferior to them. This practice of idol worship goes against every sensible grain. Worship should always upwards towards a superior being – God the Creator, not downwards to some defective and powerless human handiwork. The people realized the baseless foundation of their worship, but replied that since they found their forefathers doing the same thing, they continued with this practice.
The truth was obvious, but they refused to acknowledge it. They refused to listen when Ibrahim AS warned them that their forefathers were deviants from the Message. The whole community took his message as a joke and continued to hold on to the form of worship concocted by their ancestors rather than ordained by Allah.
Lessons for us
The relationship with Allah is a two way relationship, where if we genuinely seek to find Allah, He will guide us to Him. Ibrahim AS demonstrated that it is irrelevant if one was brought up in a godless surrounding, for he had sincerely set out to seek his Creator, and when he had made the sincere effort and analysis, it was shown that the discovery of Allah is not limited by social or geographical boundaries. When one turns to find God with a sincere heart, Allah will show him the right way. No one can stop us from this search, not our family, and not our conditions. Allah chooses whom He wills, but we have to do our part by seeking Him.
With all the wisdom that Allah gave to Ibrahim AS, and all the common sense and logic that He has endowed humanity, when person is spiritually blind, he cannot cannot see the truth. This is evident where the community of Ibrahim AS refused to see the simple and straight truth laid out before them. We can see this phenomenon even today. This journey is always a lonely one, for the travellers on the path of Truth are very few.
In the past articles, we had shown how the Prophets and Messengers tried to give da'wah to those in the households where they were husbands and fathers, in other words the ones over whom they had authority. In Ibrahim's AS case, the da'wah went to a family member who had authority over him – his own father, on whom he was dependent (this is the first incident where Ibrahim AS put the love of Allah above the love of his family, and the following articles will show how his love of Allah against the love of his family was put to the test again and again). Today, how many sons are willing to speak out against their father for the sake of the truth. Presumably, Ibrahim's AS father was making a lucrative income out of his idol making business, and this is no different from the typical family unit today where the father is the breadwinner. Yet, Ibrahim AS was willing to disrupt the status quo. It was not for the sake of his ego, but it was for the sake of his father's salvation, for he did not want his father to go down the wrong path. This is in stark contrast to so many families that we see today, where all remain quiet in the face of the parents' faults and mistakes against Allah, for fear of disrupting the family harmony, and also for fear of being cast out by them. The importance of honouring the truth for standing for the truth is important, but rarely implemented amongst the majority of us.
The da'wah of Ibrahim AS also show that once one turns towards Allah, the first line of resistance is most often the immediate family. This is almost always the case for new reverts to Islam, but it is also true of a Muslim family, where if one chooses a more devout path, the opposition comes from his close family who cannot handle such a change.
It is easy to blame the surroundings today as an excuse to neglect the practice of Islam. This is especially so in an environment where Muslims are a minority. Yet, what Ibrahim AS has shown us that if one is sincere, he will stand up for Islam, even when he was the only one in the world to do so, vastly outnumbered, and totally alone. What excuses do we have now, for can we compare our challenges to what Ibrahim AS had faced? Many Muslims migrate to non Muslim countries in order to earn a better income, and have none but themselves to blame for the non Islamic environment that they have voluntarily put themselves into. The love of the material now seems to be a valid excuse for neglecting the practice of Islam.
Finally, the manner in which da'wah is given is also illustrated. It is done with patience, guidance and wisdom. It is done with humility, not humility to the audience, but humility to Allah. Da'wah is done through persuasion, not compulsion. None of the Prophets and Messengers displayed rudeness, nor spread the Message by way of insults or aggression. Today, people try to spread Islam through aggressive behaviour, demonstrations, riots and insults, with arrogance, harshness and bad manners. They try spread the message of Allah by showing off their knowledge and engaging in confrontational debates. They try by talking about rules and regulations, halal and haram in the first instance – whereas a simple study of the Qur'an will show that all Prophets and Messengers start their da'wah work with the core message of "La ilaha illallah", there is no god but Allah. Prophets and Messengers, tried to entice the non believers by describing the power and mercy of Allah, without expectations of financial rewards or social recognition. They carried themselves with the best of manners, with no hidden agenda. This is why they are our role models of good behaviour and exemplary character.