Ibrahim (AS)’s Sacrifice, Your Sacrifice

This Eid, all of us made the perfunctory Qurbani or sacrifice of an animal, echoing the selfless act of our father, Ibrahim (AS) so many years ago.  I found myself reflecting on the meaning of this sacrifice, why it was so beloved to Allah (SWT) and what He wants us to learn from this story.

To summarize very shortly the story for the few that don’t know: Ibrahim (AS) had a dream one night that he was commanded by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son Ismael (AS).  When he woke up the next morning, he believed it to be a sign from Allah (SWT) and set about to perform the heart-rending task.  He informed his son of his intention and the young man agreed to it.  Shaytan tried to stop him three times but was unsuccessful.  Ibrahim (AS) closed his eyes, and drew the knife across his son’s throat, only to open his eyes and see that in his son’s place was a ram. Until he opened his eyes, Ibrahim (AS) was convinced that he had, indeed, given up his own son for the sake of Allah (SWT).

“O Ibrahim ! You have confirmed the Vision Thus indeed do We reward those who do right This is indeed the manifest trial !” (37:104-105)

When you think about it, this is a metaphor for living our lives according to the rules of Islam.  We think about the temptations we are guarding ourselves from and the haram rizq we are giving up, and we may think that it is as hard as killing our own firstborn son.  Until we look upon Allah (SWT), we may believe that we are giving up the only life we have.  But when our eyes are opened on the Day of Judgement, we see that we didn’t give up anything: real life begins AFTER death, and the truest of pleasures are the ones we will experience in Jannah Inshallah.

The sacrifice is all in your head.

2 Responses to “Ibrahim (AS)’s Sacrifice, Your Sacrifice”
  1. Bismillah, Asalamu alaykum wrwb

    Jazaaki Allaahu Khayran for your post.

    I do question though if there is such a thing as sacrifice or not. I think that the action is true but the
    attachment isn’t. (I’m not making sense I just feel your face turning in an obtuse angle lol) What I
    mean is this:

    I want food for my family—no money—sell my arms and legs—got food for family—the end
    Essentially I see that the “sacrifice not existing” sounds like “me not giving up my arms and legs”
    but that exists, that is why after the sacrifice you feel void of something because it is real. Just
    like other Sahabis have sacrificed themselves, lost arms and legs, and Allaah SWT gave them
    wings in Jennatul Firdous (quite beautiful). Rather, to my limited perspective, the money not
    being there is what is “all in our head” BUT the sacrifice of dealing with yourself (your arms, your son, etc) which follows emotional void…that exists.

    Or does this sound like I’m poisoned by our Philosophy course? :/

    • actually, the “sacrifice not existing” is not that you didn’t give up your arms and legs, but rather, that your arms and legs didn’t exist in the first place. To use a movie analogy (I hate doing this since I’ve given them up, but if it helps the point get across and creates a connection with the people then I just hope there no harm in it) as they say in the Matrix, “There is no spoon.”

      Your arms and legs, as you know them, are necessary for life, and so giving them up is a difficult decision and a huge sacrifice for THIS life, which is what Allah (SWT) will Inshallah reward you for. But the essential truth is, you will be resurrected whole, and in the afterlife you will have full use of those arms and legs, in a much more powerful way than you ever could in this life. This life is also, only temporary. So in the scope of this life and the afterlife, it is as if you gave up your arms and legs, but only for a second.

      Does that make sense? Or am I also sounding like our weirdo Philosophy professors?

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