Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) was a great prophet. When he was young, he lived among people who refused to worship Allah. Instead they prayed to other things, among them idols which they had made themselves. Once Ibrahim said to his father, “Do you take these idols for gods? If you do, then you and your people are wrong.”
Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) knew it was not right to worship idols, for it was against the will of Allah. Allah had also taught Ibrahim many other things. One evening, for instance, Ibrahim saw a bright star in the sky and he said, “That is my God!” But as the star faded away it became clear to Ibrahim that the star was not God.
On another occasion, Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) saw the moon shining brightly in the night sky, and he again said. “That is my God!” But as the moon disappeared, Ibrahim realized that the moon was not God.
Finally, he saw the bright sun rising at dawn and he said, “That must be my God because it is the biggest thing in the sky. “But when sunset came, Ibrahim realized, once more, that this was not God. Only Allah was God. Ibrahim then said, “O my people, I am free from your guilt of worshipping other gods apart from Allah. I firmly and truly turn my face to Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and I shall never worship any god but Allah.” Who is the creator of all these things. For Allah had created the stars, the sun and the moon. Allah is the Master of the worlds.
Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) went among the people and told them they must worship Allah only. For it is Allah Who created the stars, the sun, and the moon. Allah also created the plants, and animals for food. The sun, moon and stars cannot give anything to eat. Allah has made the earth so that people can live on it. Therefore people should turn away from their false gods and worship Allah alone, and always do good.
Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) spoke of all these things and also said to his father and his people: “What are these images to which you are so devoted? “Our fathers worshipped them,,” they replied. “You and your fathers, you have clearly been wrong,” Ibrahim rejoined. Then he informed them that they should worship only Allah, who has created everything.
Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) also had a plan for dealing with the idols. When the people were out of the way, Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) broke all their idols and images to pieces. But he left intact and unbroken the biggest idol of all. When the people discovered their idols all smashed and in pieces, they were very angry. “Who has done this to our gods?” they cried. Then some of them remembered that they had heard Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) speaking against their idols. So, they brought Ibrahim and asked him, “Are you the one who did this to our gods, O Ibrahim?(Alaih Assalaam)” He replied, “No, it was the biggest one of them who did it. Why do you not ask them, if they can speak properly?”
At this, the idol-worshippers felt ashamed. “You know very well that they cannot speak,” they told Ibrahim. “Do you then worship things that can neither be of any good to you nor do you any harm?” Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) asked.
At this, the people became angrier than ever. In revenge, they threw Ibrahim into a fire. Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) might have been badly burned, perhaps killed. But he had Allah’s help. Allah made the fire cool so that Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) was not burned at all.
Later, Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) left these idolatrous people and went to another country. when he was an old man, he had two sons, Ismail(Alaih Assalaam) and Ishaq(Alaih Assalaam). Both of them were good and just men, and both were prophets of Allah. Ishaq(Alaih Assalaam)’s son Yaqub(Alaih Assalaam), was also a prophet. So you can see that Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) and his children were greatly blessed by Allah.
But first, Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) had to endure a great test. An angel came to him and said: You have to sacrifice your only son. Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) became very sad at this, but all the same, he know that Allah had given him an order and he had to obey it. But first of all, he asked his son if he would agree. The son was good and pious, and he consoled his father: Dear father, he said calmly, if Allah has ordered it, then you must obey, so sacrifice me. Do not fear: with the help of Allah, I shall be brave.
So, full of sorrow, Ibrahim (Alaih Assalaam)prepared to kill his son. But before he actually did so, he heard a voce: You have shown your good intentions, the voice told Ibrahim, this is sufficient. You have already fulfilled Allah’s will.
Thus Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam)’s son was saved, and Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) understood that Allah had been testing him. Of course, Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) was overcome with joy that he would not have to kill his son. They both thanked Allah and sacrificed instead an animal, as Allah had ordered.
To remember this occasion we Muslims celebrate every year and like Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) and his son, we sacrifice an animal. This reminds us that Allah put Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) to a test to see whether he would really obey him. Prophet Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) passed the test and we celebrate in remembrance of this. Like Prophet Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam), we also share the meat of the sacrificed animal with the poor people and our friends. On this occasion, we also thank Allah for everything that He has given us and for the lesson He taught us through the rescue of Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam)’s son.
Later, Ibrahim(Alaih Assalaam) and his son Ismail(Alaih Assalaam) built the Ka’ba in Makkah and then they both prayed: O Allah, take this house in Your grace and help us and the people who come to us to be truly good Muslims.
Allah heard this prayer, and blessed the Ka’ba and the town of Makkah. To this day, Muslims all over the world turn and face in the direction of the Ka’ba in Makkah when they are praying. Muslims from all over the world come to the Ka’ba during the pilgrimage season. They come on foot, on camels, by car and aeroplanes. The Ka’ba is the oldest prayer house of Allah on earth. It is at the Ka’ba that all Muslims worship Allah together, and that includes all those who lived earlier, all those who are living now and all those who will live in the future.