To understand idol worship, you should study Prophet Ibrahim. He had the strongest logic he used against his people.
His Nation was Staunch Worshippers of Idols
In the days of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) ignorance prevailed upon the minds of the people. Most of the people had no knowledge of Allah and His teachings. They worshipped the sun, the moon and the stars. They were astronomers and maintained the records of the movements of the planets. They prayed to the idols made of wood and stone and made many offerings for them. The priests enjoyed a prominent place in the society. They commanded respect among their followers. They were paid well. The poor people were ruled by the chiefs. They were subjected to their cruelty and injustice.
The Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was the son of Terah whose surname Adhar was popularly known. He was a doll carver and a staunch worshipper of idols. He did all he could to compel Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to worship the handicrafts of man but flatly refused to do so. He hated even an idea of worshipping the idols which could neither see, nor hear, nor speak.
At one time a special event took place. There was a grand ceremony outside the locality and every one had to participate in the celebrations. Most of the evil-doers drank; liquor and became noisy and wild. They were losing their balance of mind in a state of intoxication. There was a great hustle. Almost every one from the town attended the ceremony except the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). He had a special plan in his mind. He proceeded towards the Temple escaping the sight of others. When he entered the Temple, he saw there many statues which stood motionless and helpless.
The Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) lifted his heavy axe and began to smite the idols turn by turn. The idols fell to the ground with a big thud. The floor was loaded with numerous noses, ears, heads, arms, legs and other parts of the idols. He broke all the idols in the sanctuary but spared the Chief one. He did so to demonstrate that the idols had no power to cause harm to any one or bestow benefits upon others. They were as helpless as mere stones and it is against the dignity of human beings to pay homage to them. When the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) finished his job, he left the Temple cautiously making sure that no one had seen him.
When the celebrations came to an end, the people returned. The priests went directly towards the Temple as usual and some people accompanied them. They saw that the idols were smashed to pieces. The floor was littered with stones and the Chief idol was standing with an axe hanging down along its neck.
The priests began to scream and became confused. The people rushed to the Temple on hearing a deafening hue and cry. Every one was in a furious mood. They wanted to know who had dared do this trouble to the idols. They wished to take revenge. Then some one said that the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) would have done so because he consistently spoke ill of our gods and advised the people to worship One God. The Holy Quran relates:
“Then he broke them into pieces except the Chief of them that haply they may return to him. They said: Who has done so to our gods? Most surely he is one of the evil-doers. We heard a youth called Ibrahim making mention of them.” (Surah 21: Verse 57)
He (Ibrahim) said, "Rather, this - the largest of them - did it, so ask them, if they should (be able to) speak."
So they returned to themselves and said (to each other], "Indeed, you are the wrongdoers."
Then they reversed themselves, (saying), "You have already known that these do not speak!"
He said, "Then do you worship instead of God that which does not benefit you at all or harm you? (21:63-66)
The Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was summoned to appear before the king. When he came, he was asked if he had destroyed all those idols. He remained silent for a while. Afterwards he directed the king to ask the chief idol on whose neck was hung the axe with which the havoc was done.
The Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was mocking and making fun of those stupid people who worshipped helpless, dumb and deaf idols made of stones. The king as well as the priests did not like to prolong their discussions because the arguments of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) were very sound and convincing. The Holy Quran relates:
“Then they said to Ibrahim: Is it you who has done so to our gods? He replied: Well, some one has surely done this. Here is the chief of them, so ask them if they can speak. Then they turned towards one another and said: You yourselves are surely in the wrong. Then they were made to hung down their heads out of shame and said to Ibrahim: Certainly you know that they do not speak.” (Surah 21: Verses 65-68).
Although they felt ashamed yet they remained stubborn. They decided to burn the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) alive for causing destruction to their idols.