Standing Firm in Faith: How Ibrahim’s Struggle Against a Godless Society Offers Timeless Lessons (Pt 1)

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    The spiritual season of Hajj and Qurbani is upon us. By the dawn, the ten holy nights, the even and odd numbers, the passing of the night. In this is an oath for the intelligent person” (Al-Fajr:1-5). The ten nights refers to the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah. The central character of this season is Prophet Ibrahim ﵇, the great, great grandfather of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who lived in Arabia and Palestine four thousand years ago. Here we look at the man’s determination to stand up for his faith and defend the freedom to speak. This is something that we need desperately today since despots and tyrants globally (read Dajjal) are threatening this basic human right.

    The Majestic Quran introduces the great warrior Prophet in glowing words, “Remember when Ibrahim was tested with trials by his Lord, and he fulfilled them with flying colours. His Lord told him, ‘I will make you a leader of humanity’, so he asked, ‘And what about my children?’ Allah said, ‘Yes, but my promise is not for the evildoers.’ We made the Ancient House safe and oft-visited place, saying, ‘make it a place of prayer where Ibrahim stood’. And We ordered Ibrahim and Ismael, keep My House clean for those who circle it and stay to worship and bow and prostrate. Then Ibrahim prayed, ‘Lord, make this a city of sanctuary, and sustain it with fruits aplenty those of its people who believe in Allah and the Last Day’. Allah replied, ‘those who disbelieve We shall let them enjoy themselves a little then assign them the punishment of fire, a terrible destination” (Al-Baqarah: 124-126).

    This is a brief introduction to a momentous life, a constant struggle, marked by successes and some failures. The bottom line here is Divine grace, Allah’s compassion and special attention. This underscores everyone’s success and on the other hand, it shows Ibrahim’s unwavering determination to stand up for his faith.

    Ibrahim debates with his father and his people

    Ibrahim lived in an idolatrous society with idol worshippers, materialists, godless and superstitious people. Ibrahim was a confident young man who often confronted his people. “Long ago, We gave Ibrahim guidance, We knew him Well. Once he said to his father and people, ‘What are these idols you worship?’ They said, ‘We found our forefathers worshipping them’. He said, ‘You and your forefathers are wrong’. They replied, ‘Have you come with the truth or are you just joking?’ He said, ‘The fact is, your Lord is the Lord of the Heavens and the earth’” (Al-Anbiya: 52-56).

    They failed to acknowledge Allah, they ignored Prophet Ibrahim’s teachings and gave him the cold shoulder. The narrative begins by establishing Ibrahim’s credibility and divine guidance, signalling that his challenge is not merely a rebellious act but a divinely inspired mission to correct misguided practices and lead his people towards the worship of one God. The incredulity and skepticism faced by Ibrahim, evident when his people question if he is serious or merely jesting, highlights the difficulty of changing entrenched beliefs.

    Ibrahim smashes the idols and is caught

    After years of preaching and pleading with his family, neighbours and society Ibrahim takes a radical step and smashes their idols. “He smashed them to pieces except the biggest which He left so they would return to it. They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? He is evil!’ They said, ‘We heard a young man called Ibrahim speak about them in a derogatory way’. So, they ordered, ‘Bring him in front of the people’s eyes so they can see him’. They asked, ‘Ibrahim did you do this to our gods?’ He replied, ‘It was the big one who did this, ask them if they can speak’. So, they turned to themselves saying secretly, ‘You are the ones who are wrong’. They shook their heads in disbelief and said, ‘You know well that they cannot speak’. Ibrahim quipped, ‘Why then do you worship others besides Allah, they can neither benefit nor harm you? A disgrace for you and what you worship besides Allah, why don’t you understand?’” (Al-Anbiya: 58-67).

    Ibrahim debates with Namrood

    Ibrahim’s case was taken to the head of the supreme court, the emperor of the time Namrood. Listen to the Quran recounting this event, “Have you not thought about the one to whom Allah gave empire, and he argued with Ibrahim about his Lord. Ibrahim said to him, ‘It is my Lord Who gives life and death’. Namrood replied, ‘I give life and death as well’. Ibrahim replied, ‘Allah brings the Sun from the East, so why don’t you bring it from the West?’ The disbeliever was taken aback. Allah does not guide wicked people” (Al-Baqarah: 258).

    Ibrahim is condemned and thrown into the fire

    When wicked people can’t respond to the truth, they resort to violence. So, when Ibrahim paralysed them with his rational arguments and they couldn’t win the debate “they angrily shouted, ‘Burn him and help your gods if you are to do something’. We ordered, ‘fire, be cool and comforting for Ibrahim’. They wished to harm him, but We made them the greatest losers” (Al-Anbiya:68-70).

    Conclusion

    We live in the time of Dajjal where delusions, false promises, fake news and illusory systems are widespread. It’s important to read about Allah’s friends who were courageous and could stand up to tyranny and despotism. In this spiritual season of Hajj, Ibrahim is the man to look at, the Quran honoured him “In him is a role model for you”. To learn more about this amazing time of year, click HERE to read my Kindle book. Please share this with your family and friends, it’s a beautiful gift. May I suggest summarising it and sharing it on social media. People are thirsty for this knowledge. Will you help Allah’s cause?