75. So also did We show Abraham the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, so that he might have certainty.
76. When the night covered him over, he saw a star: He sad: “This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: I do not love things that set.
77. When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: “This is my Lord”. But when the moon set, he said: ‘Unless my Lord guides me,
will surely be among those who go astray,
78. When he saw the sun rising in splendour, he said: This is my Lord; this is the greatest.” But when the sun set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from your giving partners to Allah.
79. “For me, l have set my face firmly and truly towards Him who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.
These verses of Surah An’aam speak of the dispute of Hazrat Ibrahim and his people regarding the absolute unity of Allah and His signs in the rising and setting of the star, the moon and the sun and his declaration of absolute faith in the unity of Allah and total submission to His command. It has been clearly mentioned that Hazrat Ibrahim differed from his people and declared that the heavenly bodies that they worshipped had no divine power at all.
Hazrat ibrahim was born and bred among a people who had great knowledge of stars and heavenly bodies which they worshipped. It was, therefore, natural that the starting point of his search for truth should be the question. “Can any of these objects really be the Lord and Sustainer?” Therefore, when he saw the star he said: “This is my Lord.” but when it set, he immediately declared: “I do not love things that set.” He did the same with the moon and the sun.
This is evidently an allusion to Hazrat Ibrahim’s gradual grasp of truth and spiritual enlightenment, symbolised by his progress from an àdoration of celestial bodies -star, moon and sun to a full realization of Allah’s All- Embracing Existence. He was, however, not guilty of shirk when seeing these heavenly objects, he said: “This my Lord, because in his search of reality, a Seeker has to pass through several stages. It is only when he gets a negative answer at any of these stages that he proceeds further in his research. It should, also not be supposed that he literally worshipped the heavenly bodies which rise and set according to the laws of Allah. Their worship is futile because they are not supreme powers.
The argument of Hazrat Ibrabim was against polytheism and superstitious Beliefs of his people to make them understand that these objects could never be things to be worshipped. When Hazrat lbrahim saw these phenomena of nature, he reflected upon them and came to know the reality. His opponents, on the other hand, saw the signs of Allah everyday, yet did not realize anything inspite of looking at them.
When the people threatened him on account of his declaration of absolute faith in the unity of Allah, and condemnation of their false he said to them: “How should I fear (the beings) ye associate with Allah, when ye fear. not to give partners to Allah… (6:81)
Hazrat Ibrahim left his home and never returned because he could not compromise with what was false in religion. He was devoted to Truth and his people cared more about ancestral custom and cults which Hazrat Ibrahim gave up and followed the true way, even at some sacrifice to himself. The Quran says: “Behold! His Lord said ta him: “Bow (thy will to Me)”. He said, I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the universe.” (2:131)
The Quran says: “Behold Abraham said to his father and his people: “I do indeed clear myself of what ye worship. I worship only Him Who made me and He will certainly guide me. And he left it as a word.. ” (43: 26-28)
‘A word’ refers to the gospel of unity i.e., ‘never shall I give partners to Allah’. This was Hazrat Ibrahim’s teaching and this was his legacy to those who followed him. He hoped that they would keep it secure and uphold the standard of Divine Unity.