Cherishing your mission needs sacrifice: A lesson from Ibrahim’s (PBUH) sacrifice

M M Waggy

Eid al-Adha is celebrated on 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. It marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj, one of Islam’s five pillars). In Islam, there are two Eids celebrated annually- Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which follows after the significant acts of worship. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of fasting, Ramadan. It is celebrated to signify the achievement of devout Muslims undergoing complete one-month sanctification through fasting. In contrast, Eid al-Adha is observed following the Hajj in commemoration of trials and triumphs faced by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) (also known as Abraham). Among these trials, one of the significant tests was to submit to Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Ismail (PBUH). Ismail was a son bestowed to him by Allah after a long time of sincere prayers. Knowing dream as one of Allah’s means of communication with his prophets, he decided to fulfill Allah’s command and offer Ismail (PBUH) for Sacrifice. Although Ibrahim (PBUH) is ready to sacrifice his dearest son for Allah’s sake, he doesn’t drag his son but takes his consent first that if he is willing to give up his life to fulfill Allah’s command. Ismail (PBUH) doesn’t show any hesitation or reservation in saying: “Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha’Allah (God willing), to be very patient.” The duo shows their perfect submission to Allah’s will by demonstrating their Sacrifice – Allah called out them by saying that Ibrahim (PBUH) is real and sincere in his intentions and had been accepted. He needs not to carry out the sacrifice of his son Ismail (PBUH). Instead, Allah sent Angel Jabril (PBUH) to replace Ismail (PBUH) with a ram that Ibrahim (PBUH) ultimately sacrificed. There is no instance in the records of the religion of one’s love for Allah, superseding his love for anyone else, even his descendants, as that of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). The Quran recorded this sensational story of Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) Sacrifice in the Quran in surah al-Nahl, verse 120-122: Abraham was indeed was a leader, devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) sincere in Faith, and he was not of the polytheists. He showed his gratitude for Allah’s favors, who chose him and guided him to a Straight Way. And we gave him good in this world, and he will be in the ranks of the Righteous in the Hereafter. (Quran, 16:120-122). The Quran has mentioned each story with the treasure of wisdom for men of understanding, and in each law exists an objective that Allah intends human beings to seek. The matter discussed above reflects a deep meaning within it besides the familiar constructs of submission to Allah’s will, compliance, and obedience. We all should adopt these lessons in our life.
Sacrifice can take multiple shapes; sometimes, we might need to sacrifice our time, or our comfortable careers, or the place we grew up in. The sacrifice might physically, or emotionally, or financially impact us, and sometimes it affects those nearest to us.
When an individual has a noble mission in which he truly believes, and it is for the greater good, the essential factor determining your success in achieving your purpose is the degree of your will to sacrifice for that cause. The men who succeeded in achieving their greatness sacrificed their lives, their families, and their properties, wholly and solely in the name of their cherishing mission. Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) had a critical mission to guide the people to Allah’s righteous path away from idolatry, and he explicitly sacrificed everything he had for that noble cause.Introspecting ourselves, how many of us are willing to sacrifice our comforts for a more critical mission? Eid al-Adha is observed in the commemoration of the sacrifice offered by Ibrahim (PBUH) of his son Ismail (PBUH) to please Allah by submitting to His command and not of Ram that Ibrahim (PBUH) sacrificed in the end. Do symbolic Sacrifices we offer in this commemoration have the same intent that Ibrahim’s (PBUH) sacrifice had? In this context, Allah has mentioned in the Quran:It is not their flesh or their blood that reaches Allah, but your loyalty reaches Him. He has thus subjected them to you so that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you and give glad tidings to all who do right to others. (Quran, 22:37).Being merciful to children is an important virtue of this story. It is a huge lesson for parents. When Prophet Ibrahim received the command from Allah to scarify his son, he neither coerced nor forced Ismail to agree to be sacrificed. He consulted his son Ismail on what Allah commanded from him and got an answer that was so pleasing and fruitful. Being merciful to our children is not only to fulfill their needs rather, but it is also making their opinion matters by listening to their voices. We live in Jammu & Kashmir –the conflict-torn area where youth is facing mental trauma owing to many obvious reasons. As the children grow older, the influence of parents decreases upon them, and the recognition of peers is getting more important to them. It is a huge challenge, and there is a need to provide a safety net of parenting to them continuously by communicating to them, ask them sincerely and let them speak their heart and mind. They may speak that is to our disliking, but that is the point of listening. We must listen first to understand, then to be understood. This may be strange to our culture in Kashmir, thinking we adults should dictate everything to the child, leave him unheard, and fail to develop his character in becoming compassionate adults, with empathy. We grow up and seek to live a life full of luxuries, and thus with every passing day, we are driving towards hedonism and materialism. Yet deep down inside us, we get trapped into the cage of various types of troubles every so often. We search for a better meaning and purpose for our lives, but finding that meaning or purpose is more comfortable than acting upon it. Because acting upon it means to sacrifice. Sacrifice can take multiple shapes; sometimes, we might need to sacrifice our time, or our comfortable careers, or the place we grew up in. The sacrifice might physically, or emotionally, or financially impact us, and sometimes it affects those nearest to us. The sacrifice might not make sense to those around us; our families and friends will think we’re crazy, but little do they know that this sacrifice is an essential test of how truthful we are to our vision and mission of life. Sacrifice never goes in vain – and it always accredits change and rewards beyond someone’s expectations. Leaving his wife and a newly born child in the desolated land little did Ibrahim (PBUH) know that his wife Hajjra (PBUH) and child Ismail (PBUH) will discover the Zamzam water that would be the cause for Mecca to become a busy hub of trade and commerce of Saudi Arabia. And when he was ready to sacrifice his son, Ismail (PBUH), little did he know that his son would help him to establish the Kaaba that became the center for pilgrimage for all the Muslims around the globe. And more importantly, thousands of years later, after he passed away, a child was born in Makkah called Muhammad (PBUH), the last Messanger of Allah became a follower of Ibrahim’s (PBUH) legacy – and who changed the face of human history and introduced the Hajj as we know it today. I end my piece of writing here and wish Eid Mubark to every reader of this peice…May Allah bless us all and accept our sacrifices.
(The author is a Research Scholar Department of Politics & Governance Central University of Kashmir Ganderbal Srinagar .Views are his own) [email protected]

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