Abraham was born into that atmosphere, into a typical family of that ancient time. The head of the family was not even an ordinary idolater, but was one who totally rejected Allah and who used to make the idols with his own hands. Some traditions claimed that Abraham’s father died before his birth and he was raised by an uncle whom Abraham called father. Other traditions said that his father was alive and was named Azer. Into that family Abraham was born, destined to stand against his own family, against the entire system of his community. In brief, he stood against all kinds of polytheism.
He was endowed with spiritual understanding from an early age. Allah enlightened his heart and mind gave him wisdom from childhood. Allah the Almighty stated:
“Indeed We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his (portion of) guidance, and We were Well Acquainted with him( as to his Belief in the Oneness of Allah etc). (Ch 21:51)
During his early childhood Abraham realized that his father made strange statues. One day, he asked him about what it was he made. His father replied that he made statues of gods. Abraham was astonished and he spontaneously rejected the idea. Being a child he played with such statues sitting on their backs as people sit on the backs of donkeys and mules.
One day his father saw him riding the statue of Mardukh and he became furious. He ordered his son not to play with it again.
Abraham asked: “What is this statue, father? It has big ears, bigger than ours.”
His father answered: “It is Mardukh, the god of gods, son! These big ears show his deep knowledge.”
This made Abraham laugh, he was only seven years old at that time.
Abraham’s Hatred for Idols
Years passed and Abraham grew. Since his childhood his heart had been full of hatred for these idols. He could not understand how a sane person could make a statue and then worship what he had made. He noticed that these idols did not eat, drink or talk and they could not even turn themselves right side up if someone turned them upside down. How, then could people believe that such statues could harm or benefit them? Abraham ‘s people had a big temple full of idols, in the middle of which was a niche accommodating the biggest gods which was of different kinds, qualities and shapes. Abraham, who used to go to the temple with his father when he was a child, greatly despised all that wood and stone. What surprised him was the way his people behaved when they entered the temple; they bowed and started to cry, begging and imploring their gods for help as if the idols could hear or understand these requests!
At first, such a sight seemed funny to Abraham, but later he began to feel angry. Was it not astonishing that all those people could be deceived? What added to the problem was that his father wanted him to be a priest when he was grown. He wanted nothing more from his son that that he revere those statues, yet Abraham never stopped displaying his hatred and disdain of them.
Abraham Discovers Allah
One night Abraham left his house to go to a mountain. He walked alone in the dark until he chose a cave in the mountain where he sat resting his back against its wall. He looked at the sky. He had hardly seen it when he remembered that he was looking at planets and stars which were worshipped by some people on earth. His young heart was filled with tremendous pain. He considered what was beyond the moon, the stars and the planets (i.e. Allah) and was astonished that these celestial bodies were worshipped by men when they had been created to worship and obey their Creator, appearing and disappearing at His command.
Abraham Reasons with Celestial Worshippers
Abraham, addressed his people who worshipped celestial bodies as Almighty Allah revealed:
“Thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of those who have Faith and certainty. When the night covered him over with darkness he saw a star. He said: “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said: “I like not that those who set.” When he saw the moon rising up he said: “This is my lord.” but when it set he said: “Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among the erring people.” When he saw the sun rising up he said: “This is my lord, This is greater.” But when it set, he said: “O my people! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners in worship with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifan (Islamic Monotheism, i.e. worshipping none but Allah Alone) and I am not of the Al Mushrikeen (those who worship others besides Allah).” His people disputed with him. He said: “Do you dispute with me concerning Allah while HE has guided me and I fear not those whom you associate with Allah in worship. (Nothing can happen to me) except when my Lord (Allah) wills something. My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all things. Will you not then remember? “And how should I fear those whom you associate in worship with Allah (though they can neither benefit nor harm), while you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah things for which HE has not sent down to you any authority. So which of the two parties has more rightto be in security? If you but know.” It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong, i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them only there is security and they are the guided. And that was Our proof which We gave Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly your Lord is All Wise, All Knowing. (Ch 6:75-83 Quran).
In that debate, Abraham clarified to his people that these celestial bodies do not serve as deities and cannot be worshipped as partners with Allah the Almighty. Indeed these bodies are created things, fashioned, controlled, managed and made to serve. They appear sometimes and disappear at others, going out of sight from our world. However, Allah the Almighty does not lose sight of anything, and nothing can be hidden from Him. He is without end, everlasting without disappearance. There is no other deity but Allah. Abraham made clear to them, first that the celestial bodies are unworthy of worship and second that they are among the signs of Allah. Almighty Allah commanded:
“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them if you really worship Him. (Ch 41:37)
Abraham’s reasoning helped to reveal the truth, and then the conflict between him and his people began for the worshippers of the stars and planets did not stand mute. they began arguing and threatening Abraham.
“Do you dispute with me concerning Allah while HE has guided me, and I fear not those whom you associate with Allah in worship. (Nothing can happen to me except when my Lord (Allah) wills something. My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all things. Will you not then remember? How should I fear those whom you associate in worship with Allah (though they can neither benefit or harm), while you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah things for which He has not sent down to you any authority. So which of the two parties has more rights to be in security? …..if you but know! It is those who believe (in the oneness of Allah and worship none but His Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong by worshipping others besides Allah), for them only there is security and they are the guided.” (Ch 6:80-82)
(Ibn Katsir – Stories of Prophet)
Prophets are also miraculously supported by God and instructed by Him to affirm the continuity of His message. In brief, the divine revelation consists of the following information:
a) A clear concept of God, His attributes and creation, and what should and should not be ascribed to Him.
b) A clear idea about the unseen world, angels and jinn (spirits), paradise and hell.
c) Why has God created us? What does He want from us? Will we be rewarded (or punished) for obeying (or disobeying) Him?
d) A clear explanation of how to order our societies according to His will. This involves the implementation of a law that, when applied correctly and honestly, will bring about a happy and ideal society.
As we have seen in the above discussion, there is no substitute for prophets. Despite the tremendous and impressive advancements of modern science, even it cannot provide authentic information about the supernatural world or provide guidance. Its very nature, which is too materialistic and limited, precludes it from serving this purpose. Mystic experience is also unsuitable, for it is too subjective and, frequently, too misleading.
Now one might ask: How many prophets has Allah sent to humanity? Although we cannot answer this question definitively, some Muslim scholars place the number at two hundred forty thousand. We are only sure of what is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an: God has sent one or more messengers to each nation, for He would not be just if he were to hold a nation to account for its actions w shout first informing its people of what is allowed and what is not. The Qur’an mentions twenty-five prophets by name (i.e., Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, who are considered the greatest of all the prophets) and indicates that there were others not known to Muhammad.
Muslims are required to believe in and to respect all of the messengers of Allah without exception. Since all the prophets come from the same God and for the same purpose-to lead humanity to Allah-belief in them all is essential and logical. If some are accepted and others are rejected , it is due to the individual’s misunderstanding of the prophet’s role or of racial (or other) bias.
The Muslims are unique in considering belief in all of the prophets of God to be an article of faith. The Jews reject Jesus Christ and Muhammad; the Christians reject Muhammad and, in reality, reject Moses because they do not abide by his laws. The Muslims accept them all as messengers of God who brought guidance to mankind. However, this acceptance is characterized with a degree of caution, for the Qur’an and the Prophet states the revelation conveyed by those prophets has been distorted and corrupted by those who received it. We read in the Qur’an:
Say (O Muslim s), we believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the prophets received from their Lord. We maize no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered. (2:136)
The Qur’an tells the Muslims that this is the true and impartial belief. If other nations share this belief, it means that they are on the right track. If they do not share this belief, it means that they are following their own whim s and biases. The Qur’an says:
And if they believe in what you believe, then are they rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer; the Knower: This is Gods religion and Who is better than God in religion ? (2:137-38)
There are two important points that need to be clarified about the roles of Jesus and Muhammad, as they are usually misunderstood and distorted. In the case of Jesus, the Qur’an rejects completely the Christian assertion of his divinity and his status of the “son” of God. It also states that the unusual circumstances of his birth-without a father-does not make him a “son” of God, for if this logic were followed to its logical conclusion, Adam, who had no father and no mother, would be greater than Jesus, for: Truly the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam ‘s likeness; He created him of dust, then said unto him, “Be,” and he was (3:59).
Like other prophets, Jesus performed miracles: he raised the dead and cured the blind and the lepers. He also made it perfectly clear that these miracles were done by God, not by him. But his message was distorted, because;it was not recorded in his presence and under his direction, but only about one hundred years after his death.
According to the Qur’an, Jesus was sent to the children of Israel to confirm the Torah of Moses and to bring glad tidings of a final messenger who would come after him:
And when Jesus son of Mary said, Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall com e after m e, whose name shall be the praised one. (61:6)
(the underlined portion is the translation of Ahmad, which is also a name of the Prophet Muhammad).
However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry and plotted against his life. The Qur’anic account of his death differs from the one found in the New Testament: he was not killed or crucified, but rather was raised to heaven by God. It is also implied that Jesus will return one day and that all of the Christians and Jews will believe in him before he dies. This is also supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
Muhammad, the last prophet of God, was born in Makkah in the sixth century CE. Until the age of forty, he was known as a man of excellent character and cultured manners. These characteristics earned for him the nickname of al-Amin (The Trustworthy). There were no prior indications that Allah had chosen him to be His last messenger. Once he was entrusted with this task, however, he began calling his idol-worshipping people to Islam. The revelation was recorded during his lifetime in writing and in the memory of his followers. The care taken to preserve each revelation as it was transmitted by the Prophet ensured that it would reach future generations in an uncorrupted form. As Allah has stated that the Qur’an would be preserved accurately, it is the source of divine guidance for all time, and the Prophet Muhammad is His final prophet.
The Choice – Dialogue Islam & Christian written by Sheikh Ahmad Hussein Deedat. He is more well known by name, Ahmad Deedat. Even he is not a scholar, but his knowledge in Bible and Quran made him famous in theology and comparative of religion. One of his famous action is open debate tour in Europe, Australia and North America with well known Christian Priest/Preacher in their continent. Deedat died on August 2006, at age 85.
This is one of fascinating book that I have read recently. The discussion of Bible & Quran regarding theology aspect & God. This book has being separate to two book, Volume 1 & 2.
The first volume itself have 4 major chapter. First chapter discussed about “ Muhammad in the Bible”. The discussion are majorly discuss about Jesus as Messiah, Life of Jesus, Law of God, race of Israel, Old Testament and New Testament.
The topic also cover regarding natural successor to Jesus. Topic are been debate regarding Last Messiah, God words, Muhammad is “Paraclete”, and prophecy, prophecy that been fulfill.
History of Muhammad, his religion and the choice of man also being discussed. He also describe regarding relation between knowledge, Quran, Miracle of Quran and God.
In 2nd volume, discuss about People of The Book, Incest, revelation and Pornography. ‘Is it Bible is Word of God’, the error in Bible, Plagiarism in New Testament, and Crucifixion in Christianity is also being discussed.
For me this book is very worth to read by Jewish, Christian or Muslim to understand Christian religion in perspective of Muslim preacher. The topic is being separate in good syllabus and all reference of verse (Quran and Bible) is well written for easy reference.
The book is very popular, you can easily search in amazon, ebay or google “The Choice Deedat” to get more information.