[The article was written by Brother Farhan Kazi http://www.kfarhanr.blogspot.com/2010/10/young-man-who-broke-idols.html ]
Once upon a time, there was a young child born in Babylon. His father was famous and well-known for making idols and sculptures. As a young child, he used to watch his father sculpting these idols from stones or wood. When his father was done with them, he would use them as toys, riding on their backs, and kicking them at times. Then after a while, he would see these same statues in the temple, and people prostrating in front of them! The young child asked his father: "Why do you take these toys to the temple?" His father said: "They are statues that represent our gods. We worship them, we ask favors from them, and we offer them presents." The young child's mind rejected this idea, and he felt repulsion towards the idols.
Time went by, and young child became a young man. He still could not believe that his people were worshipping the statues. He laughed whenever he saw them entering the temple, lowering their heads, silently offering the statues the best of their food, crying and asking forgiveness from them. Slowly, he started feeling anger towards his people, who could not realize that these are only stones that could neither benefit nor harm them. They could not be gods, they have no power. God is the All Powerful, Most Magnificent and Greater than what his people were worshipping. One cannot find God sitting on a table in a temple!
Seeing the sorry state of his people who worshipped not only the man-made idols but also natural things like the stars etc. he was in search of his Lord. He started looking for Truth. One night, this young man went up to the mountain, leaned against a rock, and looked up to the sky. He saw a shining star, and said: "Could this be my Lord?" But when it set, he said: "I don't like those that set." The star disappeared, it could not be God. God is always present. Then he saw the moon rising in splendor and said: "Could this be my Lord?" But it also set. At daybreak, he saw the sun rising and said: "Could this be my Lord, this is bigger?" But when the sun set he said: "O my people, I am free from all that you join as partners with God! I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to God." Our Lord is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything. He has the power to make the stars rise and set. He then heard God calling him. He replied trembling: "Here I am O my Lord!”. God said: "Submit to Me!" The young man fell on the ground, prostrating and crying, he said: "I submit to the Lord of the universe!" He kept prostrating until night came again. He got up and went back to his home, in peace, full of conviction that God has guided him to the Truth.
A new life started for him. His mission now was to call his people to the Truth. He would start with his father who was the closest person to him, and whom he loved so much. He said to his father in the softest and kindest voice: "O father! Why do you worship that which can neither see or hear, nor can avail you in anything? O my father! I have got knowledge which you have not, so follow me. I will guide you to a straight path."
His father replied angrily: "Do you reject my gods? If you don't stop I will stone you. Get away from me before I punish you." The young man said: "Peace be upon you! I will pray to my Lord to forgive you."
He left his father after he lost hope to bring him to the right path, and directed his efforts towards the people of the town, but they too rejected his call and threatened him. “By God”, he thought, “I shall plot a plan to destroy their idols”. He knew that a big celebration was coming soon, where everybody would leave the town for a big feast on the riverbank. After making sure that nobody was left in town, he went towards the temple armed with an axe. Statues of all shapes and sizes were sitting there adorned with decorations. Plates of food were offered to them, but the food was untouched. "Well, why don't you eat? The food is getting cold." He said to the statues, joking; then with his axe he destroyed all the statues except one, the biggest of them. 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 man was talking evil of their idols. They brought him to the temple and asked him: "Are you the one who has done this to our gods?" He said: "No, this statue, the biggest of them has done it. Ask him if he can speak." "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?" enquired the young man. They kept silent for a while, for he got a point there. Their minds and their senses were telling them that the Truth is with the young man, 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! Burn him! Take revenge for your gods!”
The decision to burn the young man to death was affirmed by the priests and the king. The news spread like a wild fire in the kingdom, and people were coming from all places to watch the execution. A huge pit was dug up and a large quantity of wood was piled up. Then the biggest fire people ever witnessed was lit. The fire flames were so high up in the sky that the birds could not fly over it for fear of being burned! His hands and feet were chained, and he was put in a catapult to throw him into the fire. At that time, Archangel of God came to him and said: "Is there anything you wish for?" He could have asked to be saved from the fire, to be taken away, but he said: "I only wish that God be pleased with me." The catapult was released, and he was thrown in the heart of the fire. But God would not allow him to be killed. God ordered the fire: "O fire! Be coolness and safety for him!" And the miracle happened. The fire obeyed and burned only his chains. He came out from it as if he was coming out from a garden, peaceful, his face illuminated, and not a trace of smoke on his clothes. People watched in shock and said: "Amazing! His God has saved him from the fire!"
His notoriety grew bigger after this event and the king felt that his throne was in danger, and that he was loosing power, because he was pretending that he was a god. The king sent for him. He wanted to debate with him and show his people that he was indeed the god and that young man was a liar.
The king asked him: What can your God do that I cannot?” "My Lord is He Who gives life and death" said the young man. "I give life and death. I can bring a person from the street and have him executed, and I can grant my pardon to a person who was sentenced to death and save his life" the king said proudly. "Well my Lord makes the sun rise from the East. Can you make it rise from the West?” the young man responded. The king was confounded. He was beaten at his own game, on his own territory, in front of his own people! The young man showed the king his ignorance and powerlessness and the king had nothing to answer back. He was dumbfounded and lost for words. The young man left him there speechless and went back to his important mission, calling people to worship the one and only God.
This is not a fairy tale, but rather a true story! The young man was none other than one of the greatest and mightiest messenger of God Almighty, Ibrahim [Abraham] (peace be upon him). The highly praised Prophet of God of whom God says in His Last Book:
“Who is better in Faith than one who has surrendered his self to Allaah and is good in deeds, and has followed the creed of Ibrahim, the upright? Allaah has made Ibrahim a Khalil.”
Allaah called him as ‘Khalil’, which may loosely be translated as intimate friend. It is derived from the root word ‘Khullah’ in Arabic which denotes paramount love.
The story of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) has a very important significance and a lesson for the mankind. Today we see around us, numerous people worshipping someone or something other than the True God. O mankind, ask yourself whom are you worshipping? Is it the One and Only True God or someone or something you just saw your fathers and people around you worshiping? Do you worship the Creator of Everything that exists or things which themselves are created by others? Do you worship the sun, moon or other natural things or the Creator of these things? Do you consider someone who claims to be god almighty as truthful? If yes, then can he make the sun to rise from then west? In other words, use your wisdom, logic and sense of reasoning!
O humankind, realize your True God, Who is free from all what you associate with Him. His Majesty is High from all these false attributions. He is the Creator of all, Free of All Wants. He is the All-Powerful, the Most High and cannot be comprehended. He is above all things. He is not a human nor can He be represented by statues and sculptures and paintings etc.
“O man! What has deceived you about your Gracious Lord”
I hope that this story will enlighten you and make you think and get you closer to the True God and get you on the true path which Ibrahim followed.
“Say: He is God, the One and Only;
God, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begets not, nor is He begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.”
1- Some people have a great misconception that Muslims worship 786. The number 786 has got nothing to do with Islam. It is the invention of some stupid minds. It has no relation to Islam. Some ignorant people worship graves, that is also not a part of Islam.
2- Another misconception is that Muslims worship the mosque or the Kaaba. Muslims don’t worship the Kaaba, it just determines the direction of prayer for unity in prayer. Earlier the call for prayer (Azaan) was called on the roof of Kaaba. Moreover Kaaba is at the Golden Ratio (1.618) - Center of earth so it is best for being an indication of which direction to pray.