Alleged Contradictions in the Qur'an answer
Did Abraham Smash The Idols?
Did Abraham smash the idols? The accounts of Abraham, Suras 19:41-49, 6:74-83 differ quite a bit from Sura 21:51-59. While in Sura 21 Abraham confronts his people strongly, and even destroys the idols, in Sura 19 Abraham shuts up after his father threatens him to stone him for speaking out against the idols. And he seems not only to become silent, but even to leave the area ("turning away from them all").
Verses in question:
19:41-49. And mention Abraham in the book, he was indeed a saintly man and a prophet. When he said to his father: 'Why do you worship a thing that can neither hear [your calls] nor see [your conditions] and cannot help you in anything. My dear father, things that were unknown to you have come to my knowledge; therefore follow me, that I may guide you to the even path. My dear father, do not worship satan, for satan has rebelled against the Merciful [Creator]. My dear father, I fear that a punishment from the Merciful may inflict you and you may become a partner of the satan'. He replied: 'How dare you renounce my gods, Abraham? If you desist not, I shall stone you [to death]. Leave my house this instant and go away from me'. 'Peace be with you', said Abraham. 'I shall pray to my Lord to forgive you, indeed He has always been gracious to me. I shall leave you and what you call upon besides God. I shall call upon my Lord and may my prayers to my Lord not be in vain.
6:74-83. And when Abraham said to his father, Aazar: 'Do you really take these idols to be gods? You and all your people are indeed in clear error'. Thus we used to show Abraham the [secrets of the] kingdom of the heavens and the earth, so that he become a firm believer. Then, [one day,] when night drew its shadow over him, he saw a star. 'That', he said, 'is my God'. But when it faded in the morning light, he said: 'I will not worship gods that fade.' When he beheld the rising moon, he said: 'That is my God'. But when it set, he said: 'If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely go astray'. The when he beheld the sun shining, he said: That must be my God: it is the largest.' But when it set, he said to his people: 'I disown your idols. I will turn my face to Him who has created the heavens and the earth, and will live a righteous life. I am no idolater'. His people argued with him. He said: 'Will you argue with me about God, who has given me guidance? I do not fear your idols, unless my Lord so willed. My Lord has knowledge of all things. Will you not be warned? And how should I fear your idols when you yourselves are not afraid of serving idols not sanctioned by God? Which of us is more deserving of salvation? Tell me, if you know the truth. Those that have faith and do not taint their faith with wrongdoing shall surely earn salvation, for they follow the right path'. Such was the argument with which We furnished Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will to an exalted rank. Your Lord is wise and all-knowing.
21:51-59. And We had bestowed guidance on Abraham before this for We were well-aware of him. When he said to his father and his people: 'What are these images to which you are so devoted?' They replied: 'They are the gods that our fathers worshipped'. He said: 'Then you and your fathers have, indeed, been in clear error'. They said: 'Have you got something worth listening to, or are you just playing [with our beliefs]?' He answered: [These are not true gods], your Lord, on the contrary, is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them. And I openly bear witness to this. By Allah, I will, indeed plan against your idols, after you turn your backs [upon them]. Thus he broke them all into pieces, except their supreme god, so that they may [be able to] turn to him [for help]. [When they saw their gods broken in pieces] They said: 'Who did this to our gods, he is indeed a transgressor'.
The critic has claimed that there is a contradiction on the basis of the silence of some verses concerning the events narrated in other verses. Such a method is flawed, as each of these verses relate the happenings of a different event. The argument between Abraham (peace be upon him) and his father was a different stage in his life and occured before he broke the idols. As for the event in verses 6:74-83, some scholars have mentioned that this occured later in Abraham's life in a different land, while others say that this occurred very early in his life before the argument with his father and the breaking of the idols. For the explanation of verses 6:74-83 please refer to [Link only for registered members].
To read how these various events come together in the life of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), one may refer to the following article: