Inspite of clear evidence, the infidels continue to deny the truth. This is because disbelief has impaired their capacity to accept the faith. An example of this ordeal can be seen in the account of Prophet Ibrahim-AS. Allaah-SWT had blessed him to discern righteousness according to his status and He-SWT bears witness to his excellence in terms of knowledge and practice. He had tried his level best to convince the infidels of his time logically. When he saw his own father together with his nation involved in idolatry, he wondered aloud that a brave nation of a mighty kingdom stood before statues carved out of stones, worshipped and begged them for help. They answered that their action was not whimsical, because they were copying their ancestors, who were astute, experienced and brave, and were the founders of the kingdom. And even if they could present no justification for idol worship, the practice of their wise forefathers was sufficient as a pretext. Prophet Ibrahim-AS told them that just as they are wrong, so had been their ancestors. How could the stones fashioned into idols become their gods, he added ? They asked Prophet Ibrahim-AS for some proof or was he simply joking? He explained that those stones could not possibly fulfil their needs and it is only Rabb-SWT Who-SWT provides for the whole universe, being the Creator and Sustainer of this entire System. He added that he himself is the greatest living witness to this truth.
Invitation to Allah-SWT
This claim was an invitation for people to acquire the inner light necessary for cognisance of the Reality. If they wished, they should follow his instructions so that he may enlighten their hearts and the Reality may unfold itself to them. As for the idols, he swore upon Allaah-SWT that he would prove their worthlessness when there was no one around.
So on first available opportunity, he shattered the idols into pieces, sparing only the largest. According to the Holy Prophet-SW, Prophet Ibrahim-AS placed the tool he had used on the-shoulders of the largest idol or in its hand to display as if it had been the culprit. The aim was to highlight their helplessness as he was sure to be questioned being the most obvious suspect. As expected, the people were shocked as they entered the idols temple. Who could be so cruel to have battered the objects of their veneration and worship, they wondered! Someone said that a youth named Ibrahim-AS had been speaking against the idols, and none of us could have done it. So everyone demanded that the culprit be produced before the public. And Prophet Ibrahim-AS was summoned before a gathering comprising the chieftains, the judges and the public as observers. This must have been his desire to find an opportunity to prove the truth before the entire nation. When questioned, he blamed the chief idol carrying the tool of crime in its hand. He advised the people to inquire from the victims of tragedy as to what had happened.
Prophet Ibrahim-AS free from Falsehood and Fraud
This topic often comes under discussion. According to a Hadith in Al-Bukhari, Prophet Ibrahim-AS made statements contrary to the facts on three occasions. Of these, two were purely for Allah-SWT while the third was aimed at protecting his wife. The first concerns the topic under discussion that the chief idol was responsible for the wreckage of the rest. Secondly when he told his people that he was sick and lastly when he declared his wife as his sister before a tyrant These statements were not lies but Toriyah, which has double meaning and can be interpreted either way, usually used as protection against the evil designs of the others. The user aims at a particular sense while the listener takes it in another, but there is no element of falsehood in it. If there is dishonesty (lie) it will be termed as Taqiyah (fraud) as practiced by the Shi'ites. This practice of blatantly lying and acting upon it is strictly forbidden (Haraam).
In the first instance, he blamed the biggest idol because it was worshipped and taken as a guardian over the rest, who were considered its servants and aides Prophet Ibrahim-AS, overwhelmed by his monotheistic zeal, shattered the rest sparing it to highlight two facts. Firstly, if the biggest idol could not protect the smaller ones being their guardian, how could it defend anyone else? Secondly, it was left intact and made to hold the tool of destruction to drive home to the idolaters that the whole action had taken place under its very nose.
In the second instance, Prophet Ibrahim-AS had told his people that he was sick. It was taken by them in the physical sense, whereas he was deeply aggrieved by the idolatry of his people. The word Saqeem used entails both meanings. In the third instance, Prophet Ibrahim-AS came across a tyrant who used to detain beautiful women after killing the husbands. Therefore, he introduced Hadhrat Sara as his sister, confiding to her that both of them being Muslims, she was after all his sister-in-faith. In terms of Islamic brotherhood what he said was true. So the tyrant spared him but when she was taken to him he did try to make advances at Hadhrat Sara but Allaah-SWT protected her Whenever he advanced with an evil intention he was blinded. His eyesight was restored each time by her prayer, which he would beg her to make. After the third attempt he was terrified and gave up his evil intentions.
What Prophet Ibrahim-AS asserted on these three occasions was Toriyah certainly not lies, nor does it prove Taqiyah. Such insignificant matter when attributed to an exalted Messenger has been termed lie or contrary to the fact. But this is a Hadith and nobody else is allowed to draw any inference at his own. That would amount to grave impudence. The recitation of the Quran or reporting of Hadith is an exception.
Delicate Stages for the Aulia’
The author of Mu'arif ul Quran has highlighted a unique point. He writes that the Hadith refers to the first two statements of Prophet Ibrahim-AS as ‘fi Allah-SWT ’, that is, for Allaah-SWT ', but his last one which was to protect himself and his wife has not been termed as such. Although self defence and protecting the wife also fell under Allah-SWT's obedience, yet this statement motivated by a tinge of pleasure of the soul, and thus could not acquire the status of 'fi Allaah-SWT ', corresponding to the exalted status of the Prophets-AS, Praise be to Allaah-SWT .How tenuous these matters are. May Allah-SWT forego our errors!
So when Prophet Ibrahim-AS advised the people to ask the idols what had gone wrong, the chieftains felt very embarrassed and bowed down their heads in shame. They reflected that it was indeed they who had transgressed by adopting such false concepts yet they murmured that the Prophet-AS knew that the idols could not speak. Prophet Ibrahim-AS reiterated, that it was indeed foolish on their part to worship the idols so oblivious of their own welfare, and could neither benefit nor harm anyone. Woe be to them and their idols!
When his nation had no answer, they resorted to disputation and decided to fling Prophet Ibrahim-AS into a blazing fire to avenge the insult and refutation of their deities. So they prepared a huge fire. It was their king Nimrod who had passed this order, while the rest of the nation supported him. For forty days people collected all sorts of firewood, filling up a large field. They started the fire and kept it raging for one week, until the atmosphere was choked with flames and it became impossible even for the birds to fly over it. Now the question arose how to cast Prophet Ibrahim-AS into it According to the Commentators, Iblis made his customary' appearance and taught them how to make a catapult, through which Prophet Ibrahim-AS was finally hurled into the burning fire.
The use of Inventions
Although catapult was invented for a cruel purpose on the advice of Iblis, and was used as such, yet history bears witness that Muslim Generals fully availed it for the victories of Islam. Thus the weapon invented by Iblis served against his own progeny and allies. Even today, if inventions like television, being used for promoting obscenity, are diverted to positive use, such as education, it will be far wiser than passing mere verdicts against such devices.
Fire and Prophet Ibrahim-AS
Allah-SWT directly commanded the fire to become cool and comfortable for Prophet Ibrahim-AS, baring any distress. Here many orientalists and deniers of miracles have raised ridiculous objections based on philosophy, that a quality peculiar to a thing can never be isolated from it, for instance, the fire is to burn. But they forget that the qualities are endowed by Allaah-SWT and if He-SWT desires to alter nothing can stop Him. Here He-SWT did not command the fire to extinguish but to become comfortable for Prophet Ibrahim-AS inspite of its quality to burn. And it did burn every thing, including the ropes tied around him yet he was completely unhurt. He later remarked that he had always cherished the time he had spent in the inferno, and never again did he experience such a joy (Tafsir-e-Mazhari).
When Allaah-SWT Wills, the effects of things change. For instance, water is vital for life but it became a death trap for the people of Prophet Nuh-AS. The Pharaoh's folk drowned in water, yet Allaah-SWT says: 'They were drowned and entered the fire".
Now when the infidels were all set to cast Prophet Ibrahim-AS into the fire, angels in the heavens and the earth sought Allah-SWT's leave to help him. Allah-SWT told them to ask Prophet Ibrahim-AS if he wanted their help. So the angels deputed on the winds and the clouds including Archangel Jibril-AS himself called on him to seek permission to do so. He asked them if they knew why was he being thrown into the fire. They said that it was for Allah-SWT . So when Allah-SWT Himself was Aware of it, and also wields Absolute Authority over everything, the angels' concern was unwarranted and they need not stand between him and his Beloved, he said. Allah-SWT > now manifested His-SWT Magnificence by commanding the fire directly. He-SWT is Omnipotent, and like the angels the fire is also His-SWT creation. It remained as such with flames and clouds of smoke rising high though turning into fragrant breeze for the Prophet-AS and when it eventually cooled down, he stepped out safely.
Allah-SWT declares that although they had executed a mighty plan, but the Omnipotence of Allah-SWT foiled it altogether. They were, of course, losers as they failed to benefit from an exalted Messenger.
Disputation leads to Deprivation
Had they pondered over the evidence put forth by Prophet Ibrahim-AS they' would have benefited, but failed because of disputation. The minimum loss of controversy with the Aulia-AS is a deprivation from their Barakah and the Barakah of a Prophet-AS are termed as faith. Although disputation with the Aulia-AS does not fall under denial, yet such people generally die misguided. May Allah-SWT protect all Muslims!
While the infidels failed Allaah-SWT took Prophets Ibrahim-AS and Lut-AS who had sided with the former, safely from Iraq, the kingdom of Nimrod to Syria, This of most of the Prophets-AS It was the centre of spiritual as well as all provisions of life with its canals and abundance of fruits, etc. And Allaah-SWT blessed Prophet Ibrahim-AS with a son Ishaq-AS and a grandson Ya'qub both subsequently raised as Prophets. In other words, not only did He preserve his progeny but also honoured it with Prophethood through generations. Allah-SWT also raised Prophet Lut-AS and blessed him with wisdom and knowledge commensurate with his status. He-SWT also protected him against evil habits and moral turpitude of his people by His-SWT Special Mercy.
Tafsir 'Ruh al M'ani' lists some of these evil habits practised by his people namely drinking, songs and music, shaving off beard and growing moustaches, breeding pigeons for sport, wearing silk, gambling etc. The worst, of course, was sodomy, that is, the homosexuality now legalised and practised in modern Western Society. May Allaah-SWT also destroy them like the people of Lut-AS ! Undoubtedly Prophet Lut-AS a very pious person; was Allah-SWT's Prophet and as such innocent. He as well as all his followers were saved from every turmoil by Almighty.