This time of year, in the Islamic year is a very special time, as soon it will be time for Hajj and Eid al –Adha; a time of celebration and a time of joy. On The 10th of Zul Hijjah we commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as).
Prophet Ibrahim (as) and his wife Lady Sarah (sa) desired to have a child, however as time went on and they both grew older, Lady Sarah (sa), told her husband to marry Lady Hajra (sa), so that he could have a child. By this time Prophet Ibrahim (as) was quite old, and deeply wanted a child. With Allah’s (swt) blessing, soon prophet Ismail (as) was born. Throughout the life of Prophet Ibrahim (as), he did not have a son, and only in his old age did Allah bestow him with a son.
Prophet Ibrahim (as) dearly loved his son. As Prophet Ismail (as) grew older, Ibrahim (as) saw a dream; he dreamed that he was sacrificing his beloved son! After seeing the dream three times, Ibrahim’s (as) knew that is a message from Allah, a test.
With this sacrifice, Allah tested Prophet Ibrahim’s love, made him choose between the love of Allah, and love for his child; duty of parenthood and duty of fatherhood. Ibrahim (as) chose the Love of God over the Love of self, Prophethood over Fatherhood.
Instead of seeing the immense beauty of Prophet Ibrahim’s decision, the diluted and altered lens through which the world sees, has made it to see this incident as a story of cruelty where a father grabs his son to sacrifice him. However this is far from the case, as prophet Ibrahim (as) did not forcefully slaughter his son but instead:
“And when he attained to working with him, he said ; “O my son! Surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said of father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah pleases you will find me of the patient ones.” (37:102)
This shows the immense beauty of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail’s commitment to Allah (swt), showing us duty, harmony and choice! The beauty of the sacrifice shows the partnership of the father and son. When both of them surrendered to the will of god, willingly, and Ibrahim a.s made his son lay down, and Ibrahim got ready sacrifice, Allah then called on Ibrahim ;
“ So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him “O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” – Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice: And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: “Peace and salutation to Abraham!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right, For he was one of our believing Servants.“ ( 37:103-111)
As well it was not only his son that prophet Ibrahim had the consent of, but also his wife, Lady Hajra (sa). Although Satan tried to get her to oppose Prophet Ibrahim sacrificing her son, she stood fast behind her husband and Allah’s will.
Prophet Ismail was replaced by a goat; Allah didn’t make Prophet Ibrahim perform; his was a trial of commitment. It was only in Karbala, where every individual went for martyrdom, from their own desire and even when Imam Hussain (as) assured anyone wishing to leave they can leave, however nobody left them. These lovers of martyrdom, they are the lovers of imam, Sacrificed themselves in the way of Allah.
Recall that Abraham was put to the test by his Lord, through certain commands, and he fulfilled them. (God) said, “I am appointing you an imam for the people.” He said, “And also my descendants?” He said, “My covenant does not include the transgressors.” [2:124]
This verse shows how Prophet Ibrahim (as) through his action and his sacrifice gained the status of Imamat. He not only sacrificed, but also raised a son who is willing to be sacrificed.
It was his ability to raise a son like Ismail, and obtain respect to an extent that even his wife was supportive and ready to follow him in his leadership. Thus on Eid al-Adha we celebrate the immense sacrifice of our beloved Prophet and inshAllah we can learn from prophet Ibrahim and his family, and learn to give up and sacrifice our Nafs, our desires and our love of the world, for the pleasure of Allah (swt).This article is inspired and based on Shaykh Amir Mukhtar Faizi , speech called free will in Kerbala, available on http://www.al-islam.org/gallery/video/RM2000/smf1422-8.ra