Amazing Story of Submission and Sacrifice

by Dr. Jawad Ahmad

The Light (UK), December 2016 Issue (pp. 7–8)

The celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is to re-live the most sublime story of supreme sacrifice made by the holy family — Hazrat Ibrahim [Abraham], Hazrat Ismael [Ishmael] and Hazrat Hajara [Hagar]. Each character of this family is a light house providing guidance to followers of all the three monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Islam through its institution of Hajj [Pilgrimage] and its meaningful rituals has made each one of them an icon of spiritual brilliance. In fact, the structure of Kabah, in its present historic phase, owes much of its sublimity and reverence to this Holy Trio. We cannot single out their sacrifices individually. Each one, on their part, has shown such a sublime example of steadfastness, submission and sacrifice that, even today, not only the pilgrims, but even those who celebrate Eid-ul-Adha far away from Kabah, feel and experience lustre of these luminous people of God. In fact, Hajj besides being an article of faith, is to pay homage to these great servants of Allah. We spend money and undertake long journeys to re-live those historic events symbolically by performing Hajj and offering sacrifice.

Dr. Jawad Ahmad

Although these great people have been mentioned in the earlier scriptures but the Quran has narrated their amazing story so vividly and in such a sublime manner that their lives inspire millions of Muslims all over the world. The simple structure of Kabah, the two mountains of Safa and Marwah, blessed fountain of Zamzam, vast plain of Arafat and the two Jamaraat, where the Satan tried to dissuade Prophet Abraham — these are stages of that trial in which Abraham and his family turned out to be steadfast. At this point I would like to give you translation of the picturesque words of the Quran which sums up in just ten brief verses this amazing story:

رَبِّ ہَبۡ لِیۡ مِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۰﴾ فَبَشَّرۡنٰہُ بِغُلٰمٍ حَلِیۡمٍ ﴿۱۰۱﴾ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَہُ السَّعۡیَ قَالَ یٰبُنَیَّ اِنِّیۡۤ اَرٰی فِی الۡمَنَامِ اَنِّیۡۤ اَذۡبَحُکَ فَانۡظُرۡ مَاذَا تَرٰی ؕ قَالَ یٰۤاَبَتِ افۡعَلۡ مَا تُؤۡمَرُ ۫ سَتَجِدُنِیۡۤ اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۲﴾ فَلَمَّاۤ اَسۡلَمَا وَ تَلَّہٗ لِلۡجَبِیۡنِ ﴿۱۰۳﴾ۚ وَ نَادَیۡنٰہُ اَنۡ یّٰۤاِبۡرٰہِیۡمُ ﴿۱۰۴﴾ۙ قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ الرُّءۡیَا ۚ اِنَّا کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۵﴾ اِنَّ ہٰذَا لَہُوَ الۡبَلٰٓـؤُا الۡمُبِیۡنُ ﴿۱۰۶﴾ وَ فَدَیۡنٰہُ بِذِبۡحٍ عَظِیۡمٍ ﴿۱۰۷﴾ وَ تَرَکۡنَا عَلَیۡہِ فِی الۡاٰخِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰۸﴾ۖ سَلٰمٌ عَلٰۤی اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ ﴿۱۰۹﴾ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۰﴾

“My Lord, grant me a doer of good deeds. So We gave him the good news of a forbearing son. But when he became of age to work with him, he said: O my son, I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; so consider what you see. He said: O my father, do as you are commanded. If Allah please, you will find me patient. So when they both submitted and he had thrown him down upon his forehead, We called out to him, saying, O Abraham, You have indeed fulfilled the vision. Thus do We reward the doers of good. Surely this is a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. And We granted him among the later generations, the salutation. Peace be to Abraham. Thus, do We reward the doers of good.” (The Holy Quran, 37:100–110).

The Holy Bible also extols Prophet Abraham in somewhat similar strain:

“And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice “(Genesis 22: 17, 18).

But the Holy Quran goes further and regards him ‘a model of virtue’ and commands us to follow his faith. This is what it says:

ثُمَّ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ اَنِ اتَّبِعۡ مِلَّۃَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ حَنِیۡفًا ؕ وَ مَا کَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۳﴾

“Then We revealed to you (O Prophet): Follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one; and he was not of the polytheists” (The Holy Quran, 16:123).

It is a fact that only Muslims honour and invoke salutations and blessings on Prophet Abraham five times a day in their ritual prayers. Almost all the acts of devotion in Hajj, which is one of the five fundamentals acts of devotion, commemorate precepts of Prophet Abraham, Prophet Ismael and Lady Hagar. This last and most important fundamental act of devotion is a resolution which is made by every pilgrim to be submissive and truthful to Allah and His commandments. It is a continuous tribute paid to Prophet Abraham and his family by every Muslim day in and day out. Moreover, the invocation called Darood-i Ibraheemi starts with Prophet Muhammad and his true followers and ends with Prophet Abraham and his true followers. It is evident that by the followers of Abraham are meant Jews and Christians. It is a pity that Muslims have so far not realised that they daily pray and invoke peace and blessings on Abraham and his true followers but still are not conscious that they should be foremost in demonstrating and promoting religious understanding and harmony in the world.

The personality of Prophet Abraham is very pivotal in the religious structure of Islam. Islam owes a great deal to the prayers of Prophet Abraham, and it reaches its spiritual climax with paying homage to him in the form of Hajj. One can come across a number of verses in the Quran in which Holy Prophet Abraham is highly praised and is regarded as “model of virtue”:

اِنَّ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ کَانَ اُمَّۃً قَانِتًا لِّلّٰہِ حَنِیۡفًا ؕ وَ لَمۡ یَکُ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۰﴾ۙ شَاکِرًا لِّاَنۡعُمِہٖ ؕ اِجۡتَبٰہُ وَ ہَدٰىہُ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۱۲۱﴾ وَ اٰتَیۡنٰہُ فِی الدُّنۡیَا حَسَنَۃً ؕ وَ اِنَّہٗ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ لَمِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۲﴾ؕ ثُمَّ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ اَنِ اتَّبِعۡ مِلَّۃَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ حَنِیۡفًا ؕ

“Surely Abraham was a model of virtue, obedient to Allah and upright… and grateful for Allah’s favours. Allah chose him and guided him on the right path… We revealed to you (O Muhammad): Follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one….” (The Holy Quran, 16:120–123).

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, has put special emphasis on this aspect of Islam and tried to revive the Quranic injunction to persuade followers of other religions to at least believe in One God:

یٰۤاَہۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰی کَلِمَۃٍ سَوَآءٍۢ بَیۡنَنَا وَ بَیۡنَکُمۡ اَلَّا نَعۡبُدَ اِلَّا اللّٰہَ وَ لَا نُشۡرِکَ بِہٖ شَیۡئًا

“O People of the Book, come to an equitable word between us and you, that we shall serve none but Allah and that we shall not associate aught with Him” (The Holy Quran, 3:63).

And this is what Prophet Jesus also exhorted to his disciples:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37, 38. Luke 20:27).