Namrud was an oppressive, tyrant king who had claimed that he was god and commanded the people to worship him.
When Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) went to Namrud and invited him to the oneness of Allah Ta‘ala, Namrud, due to his pride and obstinacy, did not accept and asked Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) what his Lord could do.
Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) said to Namrud, “Allah Ta‘ala is that being who gives life and causes death.” Namrud, not understanding the reality of giving life and causing death, foolishly responded by saying, “I am also capable of giving life and causing death!” In order to prove his claim, he then called for two people who had been given the death sentence and instructed that one be executed and the other be set free and allowed to live.
Namrud failed to comprehend that the reality of giving life to a lifeless thing means instilling the soul within it and bringing it from a state of non-existence into a state of existence. Similarly, he failed to understand that causing death to a living being means removing the soul from the body while all the limbs remain intact.
Seeing that this line of reasoning could not penetrate the dense skull of Namrud, Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) decided to change the style of debate and presented the following argument. He said, “My Allah is the one who causes the sun to rise from the east and set in the west. O Namrud! If you claim to be god, then why don’t you try to reverse the cycle and cause the sun to rise from the west and set in the east?” This argument was such that Namrud was unable to answer and was left dumbfounded and speechless.
In this way, in the arena of debate, Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) defeated Namrud and proved that Allah Ta‘ala alone has power over all things and Allah Ta‘ala alone is worthy of worship.
(Qasasul Qur’aan 1/1, Bidaayah wan Nihaayah 1/179)