IBRAHIM AS [PART 2]
As for Ibrahim’s AS father, it was narrated from Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet SAW said: “Ibrahim will meet his father Azar on the Day of Judgment, and will see his face miserable and full of dust. Ibrahim would say to him: ‘Did I not tell you that you should not disobey me?’ His father would reply to him: ‘Today I shall not disobey you.’ Ibrahim would answer to him: ‘O Lord! You promised me that You shall not disgrace me on the Day of Judgment. So today, there is no disgrace greeted than the disgrace of having my father away from me.’ Allah would say then: ‘I have forbidden disbelievers to enter Paradise.’ Then it would be said: ‘O Ibrahim! What is under your feet?’ He then will see only to find a stained sacrifice. It will be taken by its legs and thrown into the Hell-fire.” (Al Bukhari)
The argument between Ibrahim AS and Nimrod
Ibrahim’s AS mission was far from over. Not long after he emerged from the fire, there was a public argument between Ibrahim AS and King Nimrod. Nimrod was a formidable man, and like many kings and leaders who had been bestowed power by Allah, extremely arrogant and tyrannical. He even claimed godhood.
There was an incident mentioned in the Qur’an which is self explanatory in the following verse: And [mention] when Ibrahim said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [Allah] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” [Allah] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Al Qur’an 2:260)
Perhaps recalling this incident, Ibrahim AS said to Nimrod “My Lord is the one who gives life and ordains death,” he [Nimrod] said: “I give life and cause death.” (Al Qur’an 2:258, excerpt)
What justified Nimrod’s claim? In some reports, it was said that two slaves were brought in front of him. Nimrod ordered one of them to be killed and the other to be spared, concluding that he had “granted life” to one of them and caused death to the other person. This was a dim witted argument, even for a non-believer, what more the leader of a nation. Sparing the life of someone is not equal to creating life, and the phenomenon of life and death cannot be proven by a random and inhuman execution. Nimrod did not make a compelling case at all, but as with all ignorant and arrogant people, there was no reasoning with him.
However, not wanting the community to be duped by such absurdity, Ibrahim AS then said: “It is Allah, Who causes the sun to rise from the east, so can you make it rise from the west?” (Al Qur’an 2:258, excerpt) For if Nimrod was omnipotent, capable of causing life and death, that challenge could have easily been met. Nimrod was dumbfounded and was incapable of answering. The Qur’an describes: “Thus was he who disbelieved confounded, and Allah does not guide people who are unjust.” (Al Qur’an 2:258, excerpt)
The dialogue between Ibrahim AS and Nimrod was entirely futile, and there was no changing the mind of the king or his people. Realising that there was no further benefit that he could do for his community, he decided it was time to leave. Ibrahim AS, his wife, Sara and his nephew, Lut AS, the only Muslims in the world at the time, then prepared for to emigrate from the hostile surroundings towards the area now known as the Levant – where Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine now stand. “And Lot believed him. [Ibrahim] said, “Indeed, I will emigrate to [the service of] my Lord. Indeed, He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Al Qur’an 29:26)
Meanwhile, it is reported that Nimrod gathered his army and people at about sunrise, when a swarm of mosquitoes was sent down by Allah. They devoured the flesh and blood of the army, and it is said that one of these mosquitoes entered into the nose of Nimrod, and resided there. This mosquito caused such unbearable agony to Nimrod, that the only way of allaying the pain was to hit his head with a hammer (some reports said his shoe, as ultimate sign of humiliation) until the day he died. This was the final disgrace upon him in this life – that so mighty a man was debilitated and eventually humiliated by a simple and insignificant insect.
Lesson for us – Resistance from Others and How Can the Vulnerable be so Arrogant?
Through the story, Allah has again shown us that we cannot guide who we want. We can show people towards the right path and invite them to it, but ultimately, Allah guides whom He wants in the manner that He wants. It does not matter if they are related to us or to our close friends – the acceptance of one’s heart to Allah is not up to us, although we can try to lead the way. We can see from Ibrahim’s AS community that even with all the miracles, evidence and means, once a person has reached a certain level of arrogance, Allah veils his vision for the truth, so that his heart is obscured and he becomes spiritually blind, unable to see the truth even if presented by all means possible. This is also the lesson for us, we can only do our job, but the results lie in the hands of Allah.
Even in the direst circumstances, Ibrahim’s AS faith remained strong. Yet for so many of us, our belief in Allah is unsteady, and if questioned, we have doubts or we switch our alliances to our bosses, our bank accounts and our families instead of to Allah. For so many of us, if our faith is under fire, would lose hope and even disassociate ourselves from our Muslim identities for fear that it would hamper our social interaction or our success at the study or work arena.
What’s more when Islam has now come under scrutiny in so many non Islamic countries, we are more afraid of what others would think of us instead of worrying about what Allah would think of us. If our relationship with Allah is so shaky and our priorities are to impress those in duniya, then how can we ever reach the level of unqualified trust and submission to Allah that Ibrahim AS had? He believed in Allah and there was not a sliver of doubt in his heart that Allah was there for him, even as he was flung from the catapult into the heart of the fire. Yet many of us doubt. We panic at the first sign of calamity and seek help from others instead of turning to Allah, the One who created the situation into begin with, for guidance and solutions. If this were the level of faith that we have in our hearts, would Allah have asked the fire to cool down for us? In fact, would we even have made it to the catapult at all, or would we have sold out on our deen when placed under severe questioning? How willing would we be to stand up for the Message, especially if it would have an adverse financial and social impact on us? If we were confronted by a hostile and ignorant king, would we have had the courage to speak against him? One thing to remember is that Ibrahim AS did all this and more – and he was not an angel, but a human being like the rest of us, with the same emotions, fears, feelings and physical limitations.
If we believe in Allah, then we should understand that if we fear Allah above all others, Allah will make others fear us. If we try to please others above Allah, we will always remain in fear and enslaved to others. Ibrahim AS was free from this kind of slavery to duniya, for his only protector was Allah, and that was sufficient for all of his needs.
When one sincerely believes in Allah, the help of Allah will come, at the time that Allah wills and in the manner that is unexpected. In this case, Allah cooled down the fire for Ibrahim AS – a reminder for all of us that all the conditions of this world are controlled by Allah, even the laws of physics. If such a fundamental law of nature can be changed by Allah in an instant, then what grounds do we have to doubt His ability to solve our issues? Allah has dominion over all things and all situations, hence we have no reason to despair when faced with troubles. Instead, we should focus on Allah’s omnipotence and His absolute power. We should not deceive ourselves otherwise. If we were sincere, we can look back and reflect how, when we turned to Allah and Allah alone, our personal problems were solved in ways that we could not have imagined.
That is why something of a magnitude of the raging fire was not able to harm a single hair on Ibrahim AS, whereas an insignificant mosquito (which by some accounts, was also crippled) was able to wreak havoc and cause agony to a mighty king until the day of his death.
Please click here for Part 3.