In a world where our attention is constantly diverted to other things, we often forget about our religious priorities. We Muslims of the world celebrate Eid-ul-Azha every year, remembering Prophets Abraham and Ishmael's (peace be upon them) sacrifice. But what is the true meaning of that story and why is it held with such importance?
The story is simple enough at first glance. The Holy Quran, in chapter 37 verses 103-108, states: "And when he was old enough to work with him, he said, 'O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering thee. So consider, what thou thinkest of it!' He replied, 'O my father, do as thou art commanded; thou wilt find me, if Allah please, of those who are patient.'
And when they both submitted to the Will of God, and he had thrown him down on his forehead, we called to him: 'O Abraham, Thou hast indeed fulfilled the dream.' Thus indeed do we reward those who do good. That surely was a manifest trial. And we ransomed him with a great sacrifice."
It is worth noting that when he had this dream, Prophet Abraham was an elderly man with Ishmael being his only son. No doubt, Abraham had immense love for Ishmael and vice versa. Yet, when he heard of his father's dream, Ishmael unwaveringly told his father to carry out the deed. He had completely submitted to his Lord, so much so that he was willing to lay down his life if it would please Allah. He didn't wonder if his father had gone crazy or if the dream was merely a dream. He gave the go-ahead to his father without a moment's hesitation.
Furthermore, the dream was a test of faith. In the Holy Quran, chapter 22 verse 38 it is stated: "Their flesh reaches not God, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to you, that you may glorify God for His guiding you. And give glad tidings to those who do good." Clearly, Allah does not require any sort of blood sacrifice, let alone the one of his prophets. However, Ishmael's readiness to lay down his life demonstrates his total submission to the will of Allah and as a result; He gave Abraham a goat to sacrifice in Ishmael's stead.
Eid-ul-Azha doesn't commemorate simply the sacrifice of the goat or cow. It commemorates the complete submission of Abraham and Ishmael. When faced with the will of Allah, never once did either of them hesitate.
The writer, a student of law, works with The Asian Age
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