Qesas ul Anbiya

Ibrahim Nabi (AS) - Part II

The Great Fire

The polytheists had realized the absurdity of their beliefs; however, their arrogance would not allow them to admit their foolishness. They planned their revenge. They complained about Ibrahim (AS) to their King – a tyrant, who put Ibrahim (AS) in chains and shackles into captivity. The tyrant ordered his men to burn Ibrahim (AS).

Anger burned in the hearts of the people. They decided to throw Ibrahim (AS) into the biggest fire they could build. All the citizens were ordered to gather wood as an act of service to their gods. It is said that some ignorant and sick women vowed that they would donate a particular amount of wood to burn Ibrahim if they were cured of their ailment. For several days fuel was collected.

Then they dug a deep pit, filled it with firewood and ignited it. They brought a catapult with which to cast Ibrahim into the fire. Ibrahim was put on the catapult with his hands and feet tied. The fire was ready with its flames reaching the sky. The people stood away from the pit because of the great heat. Then the chief priest gave his order to cast Ibrahim into the fire.

Aqa Maula (TUS) often narrates this episode in detail in the third waaz mubarak of Ashara Mubaraka.

“Ibrahim was a pious man, he had a pure heart, and he held neither grudge nor hatred in his heart for anyone. So when his people decided to throw him in fire, the angels in heaven began to cry.

On seeing the angels weep, Allah (ta) revealed to Jibraeel to go and help Ibrahim but only if he sought his help. Jibraeel was pleased to hear this and came to Ibrahim…When Jibraeel reached Ibrahim, He was already in the catapult. Jibraeel asked Ibrahim: “Do you wish for anything?” (هل لك من حاجة؟)  He trusted Allah and expected deliverance only from Him. So when Jibraeel asked him this question, Ibrahim replied: “Nothing from you”. Now Maulana Jaffer bin Mansoor il Yemen (RA) relating this incident explains that when Ibrahim Nabi (AS) declined Jibraeel’s offer for help by saying “nothing from “you”, Jibraeel inquired: “then do you wish anything of Allah?” Ibrahim spontaneously replied, “Nothing even from Allah.”

The catapult was shot and Ibrahim was cast into the fire. The flames were still there, but they did not burn for Allah the Almighty had issued His command: “O fire! Be you cool and safe for Ibrahim.” (21:69 Quran). The fire submitted to the will of Allah, becoming a rich green garden, cool and safe for Ibrahim (AS).

Aqa Moula (TUS) explains that when Jibraeel said to Ibrahim, “You declined my help, that I understand, but I cannot understand your reason for declining help from Allah.” To this Ibrahim replied, “I realized that I was already placed in the catapult, and the enemy was angry, and the fire was ablaze. Now if Allah wished me to burn in the fire how could I ask him to do otherwise and save me from the fire? Allah has made me his friend (khaleel) and if it is in accordance to Allah’s hikmat and rehmat that I should be saved from the fire, Allah would definitely save me…that is why I replied so. I did not mean to say that I need nothing from Allah, I didn’t want to ask Allah for something that was against His will and hikmat. Allah may do as He pleases; Allah will find me forbearing and enduring.”

The throng, the chiefs, and the priests were watching the fire from a distance. It was burning in their faces and almost suffocating them. It kept burning for such a long time that the disbelievers thought it would never be extinguished. When the fire did burn out, they were amazed to find Ibrahim (AS) coming out of the pit. Their faces were black from the smoke, but his was bright with the light and grace of Allah. Ibrahim walked out of the fire as if he were walking out of a garden. Cries of astonishment were heard from the heathens. As Allah Says: “They wanted to harm him, but we made them the worst losers.” (21:70 Quran)

to be continued…

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