بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ
The personality and mission of Father Abraham (as) has many dimensions and lessons for us. Throughout his life he was very much interested in passing on the legacy of monotheism. However throughout his travels he realised that he was not attracting the people as he would have hoped for and thus prayed to Allah for a righteous offspring to carry on his teachings.
Today we will look at one aspect of his personality which is his total and complete submission to Allah.
Firstly, we need to understand that Abraham, up to his teenage years, did not grow up with his parents. When he eventually went home to his parents he was surprised to see them and his people worshipping idols. As a matter of fact his father made and sold idols. So Abraham had a real problem that manifested in him having many disagreements and theological clashes with his father and his people.
Abraham used to ask his father father! Why do you worship that which doesn't hear, doesn't see, and cannot avail you in anything?” He could not understand the logic of submitting to something that was created and had no life; something that could not even drive a fly away. He implored his people to seek sustenance and guidance from the One True God.
We need to understand that Allah is The Sustainer. Everything comes from Him and whatever we want we should beg of Him. He once told Prophet Musa (as) “O Musa! Ask Me for everything, even the mending of your shoelace”.
True submission and faith is not easy for a lot of people. Even amongst the believers; a lot of people say they have faith but don’t really act upon it when they seek assistance from sooth sayers etc.
Abraham tried to show the people in many ways that these creatures they worshipped cannot help them as they even do not have any power of their own. And when his verbal reasoning failed he tried another tactic.
A big celebration was planned where everybody in the village would attend for a big feast on the riverbank. After making sure that no one was around, Abraham went towards the temple armed with an axe and destroyed all the statues except one; the biggest of them all. He hung the axe around its neck and left.
How big was the shock when the people entered the temple! They gathered inside watching in awe their gods broken in pieces. They wondered who might have done this.Then they all remembered that the young Abraham preached against their idol worship. They brought him to the temple and asked him “Are you the one who has done this to our gods?” Abraham said: “No, this statue, the biggest of them has done it.” “You know well that these idols don't speak!" They said impatiently. “Then how come you worship things that can neither speak nor see, nor even fend for themselves? Have you lost your minds?"
Their minds and their senses were telling them that the Truth is with Abraham, but their pride prevented them to accept it, and reject the idols they were worshipping for generations. This they thought would be total defeat. They started yelling at him and shouting: “Burn him! Take revenge for our gods!”
When they decided to burn him Abraham showed no resistance. Even when he was flung towards the massive fire Angel Jibreal appeared to save him. When Jibreal said that Allah did not command him to save Abraham; Abraham refused the angels help and instead relied soley on Allah. He knew that Allah will take care of him and in the process was giving his people practical dawah.
Allah records this in Surah Anbiya
And indeed We bestowed a foretime on Ibrahim his (portion of) guidance, and We were Well-Acquainted with him (as to his Belief in the Oneness of Allah, etc.).When he said to his father and his people: “What are these images, to which you are devoted?” They said: “We found our fathers worshipping them”. He said: “Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error”. They said: “Have you brought us the truth, or are you one of those who play about?” He said: “Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them and of that I am one of the witnesses.“And by Allah, I shall plot a plan (to destroy) your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs”. So he broke them to pieces, (all) except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it.They said: “Who has done this to our gods?”He must indeed be one of the wrong-doers”. They said: “We heard a young man talking (against) them who is called Ibrahim”. They said: “Then bring him before the eyes of the people that they may testify”. They said: “Are you the one who has done this to our gods, O Ibrahim?” Abraham said: “Nay, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it. Ask them, if they can speak!” So they turned to themselves and said: “Verily, you are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)”. Then they turned to themselves (their first thought and said): “Indeed you Abraham know well that these (idols) speak not!” Abraham said: “Do you then worship besides Allah, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you?” “Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allah! Have you then no sense?” They said: “Burn him and help your gods, if you will be doing.”We (Allah) said: “O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim (Abraham)!” And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers.
Allah helps His servants from sources we can never imagine. Abraham understood that he was at all times living in the presence of Allah and this was later passed on to us. This is why, when before we pray we recite
Inni -y wajjahtuwajh -e li- 'alladhefat.ara as- samaawaatwa- al- 'ard. hanef(an) wa- maa 'anaamin al-mushriken
"For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him (Who is facing me) Who created the skies and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah."
People say we pray to the kaba but Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said; When you stand for salaat facing the Qibla understand that Allah is in front of you, and is between you and the Kaba”
We need to understand that we don’t own anything. Everything is from The Creator. All He has given is will power; power to channel His blessings on us in a direction of our chose. Humans are blessed with a little bit of freedom with the knowledge that we will be taeken to judgement one day.
Submit to Allah and let Him take care of everything else. The entire life of Abraham contains instances and actions where he demonstrated immaculate faith in Allah; from the story we recapped above up until his mature life. We too should strive to build our reliance and faith in Allah.
It is something easy to profess but when the trials and test come your way, only then can you really test your faith. Faith in Allah is something you cannot rationalise. You must culture yourself to always trust and rely on your Lord and know that He will never let you down; just as He took care of Abraham in the most trying of times.
May Allah bless us all to develop faith and trust in Him, similar to the faith shown by His friend Abraham and all His other Messengers, insha Allah.
Transcript of discourse delivered by
Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed
At his weekly Zikir session held at the Hermitage Masjid