Ibrahim (AS) was the first prophet to be called ‘Khalil’ (close friend) of Allah.
Ibrahim (AS) was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He was such a noble and great messenger that many of the messengers who followed after him were from his family. When the prophet Muhammad (SAW) was taken up through the heavens by Allah in the incident of the Mi’raj, he saw Ibrahim (AS) in the highest heaven, the seventh. This shows how close he was to Allah and the status he has. In fact, he has such a high status that in the Quran Allah calls him ‘Khalil,’ which means very close friend. The only other prophet who was called this by Allah was the prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself.
Ibrahim (AS) was born in Babylon, where Iraq is now. At that time, some people worshipped idols made of stones and wood, while other people worshipped the stars. Some people even worshipped the kings! There was a mighty king at the time called Nimrod, and he claimed to be god and told people to worship him.
Ibrahim’s (AS) father was called Azer, and he made idols to sell to the people. Ever since Ibrahim (AS) was a child, he saw his father carve these statues out of wood and stone, and then saw the people worshipping them. He found it strange that people would prostrate to these idols, and give them offerings and ask them for help when he had seen his father make them with his own hands. Allah guided Ibrahim (AS) from a young age, and so he rejected the idea of worshipping these figures.
As a child, Ibrahim (AS) would sit on the backs of these idols and play with them like toys. One day his father saw him playing with them and got very angry and ordered him not to do it again. Ibrahim (AS) asked, ‘O my father, what is this statue? It has such big ears.’
His father replied, ‘It is Mardukh, the king of the gods.These ears are so that it will listen to whoever worships it.’ Ibrahim (AS) found this idea to be funny.