Ibrahim (AS) and sacrifice in the way of Allah
HAZRAT Ibrahim (AS) is one of the most beloved prophets of Allah, the sublime. He has been conferred upon the most singular appellation “Khalil-ullah”, the friend of Allah.
Since friendship is synonymous to sacrifices and trials, Ibrahim (AS) being a friend Of Allah, has to undergo a myriad of physical, spiritual, social and financial sacrifices. He was tested by Allah, the Glorious, on many occasions.
One of the most daunting trials that he had to face was of the dream in which Allah; the supreme commanded him to sacrifice his most pampered and beloved son; a son who was bestowed upon him as a result of umpteen prayers, in his dotage.
When Ismail (AS) the son of Ibrahim (AS) grew young and mature, capable of working with his father, a vision came to Ibrahim AS, ordering him to cut the throat of his son and sacrifice him in the way of Allah.
It was a tremendous trial from Allah the Most High, to His Friend Ibrahim AS. Ibrahim AS did not question Allah’s order or dispute with His Will. Rather, he understood his sacrifice of his son as something that must happen.
Thus it was that, once again, when his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds.” (Qur’an 2:131)
He then asked his son to see how he responded to this order, saying,” O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.”
(Qur’an 37:102) The forbearing son made his father immensely happy by saying,“O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.” (Qur’an 37:102) Young Ismail (A.S) was trained in perfect obedience – firstly to his Lord and secondly to his father, a prophet of tremendous spiritual stature.
If this is what his father understood as an order, it must be carried out, regardless of how it would affect him personally.
Deciding otherwise was not even a possibility for young Ismail and his father, peace be upon them both. Perhaps for this reason, Allah speaks of Ismail (A.S) as a forbearing boy (Qur’an 37:101) and mentions him as being among the patient and among the righteous (Qur’an 21:85-86).
Thus, Ibrahim (A.S) and his young son set out to fulfill the vision, carrying a long piece of rope and a sharp knife. Ibn Abbas (R.A) reports that when the two passed near the place where Hagira(R.A) hastened between Safa and Marwah, Satan appeared to Ibrahim (A.S) and ran after him. But Ibrahim (A.S) outran him and continued on his way, accompanied by archangel Jibrael (A.S). When Ibrahim (AS) reached the site at which the stone pillar of Aqabah stands in Mina, Satan came to him again. Ibrahim (A.S) threw 7 pebbles at him to drive him away and continued toward his destination. At the site of the middle stone pillar, Satan re-appeared, and again Ibrahim (A.S) threw 7 pebbles at him.
Finally, when Satan realized that Ibrahim (A.S) was firm and determined to carry out Allah’s command, he left him alone. Soon the father and son reached the place for materializing the divine dream, which is believed to be on Mount Thabir near Mecca.
It is reported that Ismail (A.S) was wearing a white shirt. “Oh my father,” he said, “I have no garment to be buried in except this, so take it off me and bury me in it.”
Ibn Kathir further elaborates the events that followed in following words: Allah says, and when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, (Qur’an 37:103). It is said that he was about to cut his throat in such a way as not to see his face.
Others say that he started cutting with the knife at his throat but it would not cut at all. It is said that Allah inserted a layer of brass between the knife and his throat.
Then Allah Most High, called out to Ibrahim (A.S) that the objective of his testing and obedience, and his willingness to carry out his Lord’s command has been achieved. (Qur’an 37:104-105) That is why Allah says indeed, this was the clear trial.
And He ransomed him with a great sacrifice, (Qur’an 3:106-107) and replaced him with something which was easy for him to sacrifice in the place of his son.
The majority of commentators say that it was a white ram, wide-eyed and with big horns, which he saw stuck in the bushes.The term “great sacrifice” obviously refers to much more than the specific animal.
According to some exegesis, the use of the term “great sacrifice, here was an allusion to the sacrifice that Allah, The compassionate took from Imam Hussain (R.A), the progeny of Ibrahim (A.S) and his kinsfolk on the plains of Karbala.
To encapsulate, in the story of Ibrahim’s (A.S) sacrifice, we learn that those who are nearest to Allah, make absolute surrender of their own personal wills to Allah.
It is this epitome of submission and trust of Ibrahim (A.S) in Allah which hundreds of millions of Muslims re-enact every year during the days of Hajj on Eid-ul-Adha – Celebration of Sacrifice.
— The writer is contributing columnist, based in Quetta Balochistan.