“My Master, grant me [a child] from among the righteous. So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he reached with him [the age of] working with him, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, just do what you are told. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.” (Qur’an 37:100-102)Thousands of years ago: Burning hot fire blazing through the air, wanting to scatter and destroy everything that comes in its way. Opposite to it is standing one man, building the courage and strength to embrace the swirling wave of warmth coming from it. And his people, now immersed into the sight and the near future of a man being burnt into fire before their eyes. The sky, once pale blue is now covered by thick gray smoke, is witnessing the event.
And just like that, Ibrahem aleyhi salam enters the fire, holding onto the only rope that’s keeping him alive: Allah’s rope. And just like you would do anything to protect your friend from every trouble coming his way, Allah protected His beloved friend, ordering the fire to cool down as soon as he entered. And the fire obeyed. A miracle happened. Ibrahem aleyhi salam was saved.
He passed the test and so, he took the opportunity to thank his Master and ask Him to bless him with a righteous child. And He fulfilled his supplication. He wasn’t granted just a righteous child, he was blessed with a boy, someone who was gifted with an outstanding character. Someone who doesn’t overreact, who can hold himself back, who has the potential of self-control and steadfastness. Someone who’ll be strong enough to deal with extremely difficult tests.
And it happened. Ismail aleyhi salam was born. From a tender age, he faced the hardship of going through thirst and being raised up in a desert, with little to no civilization. But as the time grew up carrying him along, everything started to fall into place. A loving mother and an affectionate father. A father with whom he used to play around with, run with him, go to work with him.
That was the example of how a father should be. Someone who becomes a part on his child’s everyday life, who is not just the one who supplies him with food and shelter, but gives him love, care and time. Someone who plays, does activities with him. Who is active in his child’s life. Someone who understands him. Are you following his example?
And then a dream appeared, not just ones, but over and over again. A disturbing, traumatic dream: He was sacrificing his son.
And so, he went to his son and asked him: “Oh my beloved son, I’ve seen this dream…take a look. What do you think about it?”.
You, you are a son or daughter mama and daddy. Think for a moment what would you say if one of your parents would come up to you and ask you this question…what would you say? They’re asking you if you are okay with the fact that one of them is going to slice your neck tomorrow, because Allah has ordered it. That these are the few remaining days of your life and that the same dad who has been with you, who loves you, who plays with you, is going to be the one doing the act. I won’t answer this question…you will.
Ismail aleyhi salam, a boy who has just reached the age when he can finally enjoy his life playing around and running and what not, he says: “O my dearest father, just do what you are told. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.” Can you believe this? Ismael aleyhi salam hadn’t become a Prophet yet. He was a kid with the most amazing character. The son of Ebrahim.
This shows us the importance of making your own decisions. Whoever you are, a mum, dad, daughter or son. You will have to make decisions for yourself. And what better commitment than to be happy with whatever Allah wants. Instill that commitment in yourself and your children.
Then, they both walked together to the place where the sacrifice will happen. Ismail asked his father to tie him so that he wouldn’t make it more difficult for him if he would wince at the pain. And told him to tie his own eyes so that his eyes wouldn’t witness the pain his son would go through. He knew how much his father loved him. How difficult this task would be for his father. He knew it.
When Ibrahem aleyhi salam put the knife to his neck, he could sense his son shivering and trembling. Can you imagine…you as a parent to go through that…for the sake of Allah?
Today: Happy faces, people wearing beautiful dresses and thobes, exchanging hugs and kisses, eating sweets from one house to another and then it’s time for Qurbani.
The lamb is being laid down and tied up. The knife is being brought up and as they put the knife on his neck….a thought comes up.
The contrast. Today, we slaughter the animal with smiling faces, knowing that for the next few days this is gonna be our main meal and say Bismi-llah. We slaughter him for the sake of Allah. That day, he was about to slaughter his son with unbearable pain and uncontrollable tears, to throw the knife and hug tight his son. The son whom he waited for so long. And said Bismi-llah.
You see now? How Allah has made our tests so much more easy than what our Father went through. What he was asked to do and what we are being asked to do. And yet we have the audacity and to say how hard this religion is.
Why do we have to sacrifice an animal on Eid? Because our Father was willing to feel his son shaking and a son who was willing to fight his fear….just for the sake of Allah. This is Islam.
“And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, “O Abraham, You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, “Peace upon Abraham.” (Qur’an 37:103-109)
Hajj Series Tip 3: This Eid, don’t just think about what you will be doing and your qurbani. Think about others. Allah didn’t ask you to put a knife to your child’s neck but there are so many people out there who are fighting to restrain themselves from putting a knife on their own necks. Because of their terrible conditions. This is their tests, but it is yours as well. They will get the reward for every ounce of pain they’re feeling today…don’t you want to be among the ones to whom Allah will reward with Jannah?
Here are links where you can share or give your Qurbani and help yourself get close to Allah: