Input by Ustazah Nuurunnuur
Referenced article on sacrifice (korban) by Masjid Al-Huda can be found here.
The story behind how Eid al-Adha or Hari Raya Haji came about is well-known to Muslims and perhaps to some non-Muslims alike. As it goes, Prophet Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice his own willing, beloved son, who was replaced by a ram at the very last moment.
“And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, 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, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast."”
Clearly, Prophet Ibrahim underwent great tests in his lifetime, as did the other Prophets who came before us. But what does the story of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice impart to the rest of humankind?
One of the more obvious themes that we can glean is Prophet Ibrahim’s ultimate obedience to Allah s.w.t’s commandment.
As further context, Prophet Ibrahim and his wife had had much difficulty in conceiving a child, and had finally done so in old age. His willingness to sacrifice his son, whose arrival he had waited so long for, was thus a tremendous testament to his level of obedience.
2. The Value of a Child’s Opinion
For parents, this story has an additional message.
In the Quranic verse first quoted, it is apparent that the Prophet Ibrahim asked his son Ismail for his view instead of imposing what he had understood as God’s will upon him. Ismail’s willingness to obey God’s commandment showed that the sacrifice comprised of both Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail’s submission to Allah s.w.t.
3. Allah s.w.t’s Mercy
In the society that Prophet Ibrahim lived in, human sacrifices to God were common practice. When Allah s.w.t. prevented Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail from going further, this actually taught us that human sacrifice was wrongful.
“And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, "O Ibrahim, 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, And We left for him [favorable mention] among later generations: "Peace upon Ibrahim." Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was of Our believing servants.”
The concept of sacrifice is a universal one that is conveyed throughout different faiths in different ways. In this particular story of Prophet Ibrahim, humankind is encouraged to sacrifice their worldly desires for a higher purpose.
“Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward.”