Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his sacrifice
In Islam, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is regarded as one of the greatest figures in human history. In other monotheistic religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, he is known as Abraham, and many see him as the father of the prophets. Some of the most prominent prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, the Bible, and the Torah are descended from him. This includes the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the Islamic religion.
His sacrifice has been told for millennia, and his example of forever trust in Allah (SWT) continues to inspire Muslims of all generations.
As another Eid al-Adha approaches, Muslims focus on Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) story and its important lesson.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his sacrifice
The journey of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to Allah (SWT) begins with a story of his sacrifice.
Ibrahim (AS) was born in Babylon, which is now in Iraq. Ibrahim’s village practiced paganism and idol worship, and his father was a major sculptor and maker of idols.
With little consideration for the idols throughout his childhood, Ibrahim finally came to completely reject idol worship in his village. He wondered how idols constructed of wood and stone, crafted by humans such as his father, could be the Gods of the people, offering no benefit or harm.
Ibrahim (AS) continued to think, looking up at the sky and the natural environment surrounding him. He eventually surrendered his heart to “the Lord of the universe,” whom he believed to be the only creator of this beautiful world.
With his newfound faith in the one Lord of the universe, Ibrahim (AS) committed the first of many acts of surrender. Ibrahim (AS) was inspired by Allah (SWT) to rally the people of his community to the truth, and as a result, he experienced many afflictions, including being thrown into a blazing fire by his father. Despite this, Ibrahim never wavered in his faith and submission to Allah (SWT), the one and only God.
Many people were amazed at the miracle of surviving the fire, but they continued to doubt it.
Years later, Ibrahim (AS), who was well-established in his mission, and his family, who were also facing challenges in their dedication to Allah (SWT), had a dream in which Allah (SWT) directed him to sacrifice his only son, Ismail (AS).
Despite the difficulty, Ibrahim (AS) once again submitted to Allah’s (SWT) will, recognizing this as an instance of his faith in this phase of his prophethood. He invited Ismail to accompany him to Mount Arafat for the sacrifice.
Ibrahim (AS) informed his son, Ismail, about his dream, and Ismail, who went on to become a prophet, had the same unwavering confidence in Allah (SWT) and surrendered himself.
Allah (SWT) intervened just as Ibrahim was about to commit the sacrifice, saying, “O Ibrahim! You achieved the goal, and now you will be rewarded!” Instead of Ismail, Allah (SWT) sent a ram to Ibrahim (AS) to be sacrificed.
“And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice”Quran 37:107
Muslims celebrate Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice every Eid al-Adha during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah when Muslims from all over the globe donate an animal (typically a goat, sheep, cow, or camel) for Allah (SWT).
By doing Qurbani, we follow in the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and remember his love for Allah (SWT), with the added requirement of helping those in need. To perform the sacrifice for the cause of Allah (SWT), Muslims must contemplate and approach the sacrifice with earnest purpose, as Ibrahim (AS) did. Before making the sacrifice by the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is recommended by the majority of scholars to refrain from cutting the hair, nails, or skin, and it is obligatory according to the Hanbali madhab.
With this hallowed act of sacrifice, Muslims contemplate the many significant concepts of this story and beyond, such as our responsibility to those in need, the value of Allah’s (SWT) creation, and the world around us.
This Eid, remember the millions of people worldwide who are suffering from poverty during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah. Donate to Islamic Relief to help feed people on Eid al-Adha.