Path Towards Enlightenment (813)
Welcome to our weekly program "Path towards Enlightenment" in which we present you a fluent and easy-to-understand explanation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an. We start from where we left you last Friday and here are ayahs 93 to 96 of Surah Saaffaat:
“Then he (Abraham) attacked them (the idols), striking forcefully.”
“They (the infidels) came running towards him.”
“He said, ‘Do you worship what you have yourselves carved,”
“When Allah has created you and whatever you make?”
Last Friday we said Prophet Abraham the Iconoclast was waiting for an opportunity to jolt the conscience of the idolaters and awaken them from ignorance. He tried to make them realize that the idols, which they themselves have crafted, can do nothing and these lifeless objects have no effect on their fate. As we said, when the spring festival arrived and the people of Babylon, as was their tradition, left the city to enjoy the pleasantries of nature, even though the young Abraham advised them to stay and not be superstitious, he said he wasn’t feeling good and stayed in the city. After all had left, he entered the temple and glancing at the food dedicated by the idolaters, he mocked these lifeless objects at their inability to either speak or eat.
As is clear by the ayahs that we recited to you now, Abraham who was waiting for this very opportunity, he took an axe and forcefully smashed all the idols, except the big one, in whose hands he placed the axe, in order to pose questions to the idolaters and engage them in rational debate. He knew that he had created a great explosion not only in the city but also throughout the country, Babylon, the news of which would spread everywhere. He was, however, the least worried, since Allah Almighty was his Protector and this was enough for him.
When the idolaters returned to the city from the spring festival after having enjoyed the bounties of nature, they were shocked at the sight of the dilapidated idols that greeted them on entering the temple. Their gods of all sizes, whether small or big, lay broken in pieces, with an axe in the hands of the chief idol.
They were certain this was the work of the young Abraham, who did not believe in the idols and had stayed back in the city. They rushed towards him in rage to demand explanation in this regard. Abraham, without the slightest fear of the anger of the idolaters, calmly questioned them: How can you worship things which are the weird imagination of your warped minds and which you yourselves have crafted? So why don’t you come to your senses and worship the One and Only Creator of the entire universe including your own selves; Who has neither form or shape nor confined to any place, and Who is Omnipresent and too Glorious to be encompassed by the eyes of creatures!
From these ayahs we learn that:
- A true believer needs to plan properly in order to push forward his arguments against disbelief in a logical way and manner.
- The Prophets of God, in addition to warning people of the consequences of their misdeeds, and giving tidings to them of their correct belief in God and virtuous acts, are men of action and whenever possible take the right steps to negate polytheism and unbelief.
- It is God the Indivisible, Who has no partners and Who is the Creator of the entire universe, including the best of all creation, the human beings, whom He has bestowed intellect and the gift of speech in order to realize the facts and realities of life, instead of worshipping idols and indulging in sins.
Now we listen to ayahs 97 and 98 of Surah Saaffaat:
“They (the infidels) said, ‘Build a structure for him and cast him (Abraham) into a huge fire.”
“So they sought to outwit him, but We made them the lowermost.”
Oppressors and tyrants have never been familiar with logic and reasoning, and instead of paying attention to the rational statements of Prophet Abraham and accepting reason, the polytheists, especially the elites amongst them, headed by the arrogant tyrant Nimrod, notorious for intransigence, called for igniting a huge fire and throwing Abraham into it from a distance.
In order to burn Abraham only a small load of wood and fire was enough, but in order to quench the fire of their hearts and to take vengeance for smashing their gods, they decided to ignite a huge fire so that this type of punishment would serve as a lesson for other monotheists in future against desecrating the idols.
Then Abraham was placed in a catapult and thrown from a distance into the huge fire, but by God's Will, the blaze was snuffed out and to the surprise of the idolaters, turned into a garden for Abraham, without harming him the least. This was indeed a manifest miracle as the blazing fire suddenly became a garden of lush vegetation to the extent that Abraham was feeling cold.
The plot of the infidels thus miserably failed. Yes, Allah elevated the ranks and position of Abraham, while the powerful and wealthy king and his idolatrous society became abject and humiliated. They were now scared and there was nothing they could do against the young Abraham who had smashed their idols and exposed the falsity of their polytheist beliefs.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- Infidelity and polytheism have no logic and rationale, and sooner or later are bound to miserably fail before the reasoning of monotheism despite their persecution of, and atrocities against Muslims.
- The Messengers of God are never awed by the power and wealth of the unbelievers, and in order to eliminate oppression and polytheism from society are ready to take on any danger without the least fear.
- The Will of God Almighty governs the laws of nature, and whenever He wants, He changes the natural phenomena, as in the case of Abraham, the blazing fire was transformed into a cool and lush garden of vegetation.