Are you willing to make the sacrifice for Allah?
Find out what stops you from obeying your creator, bring it to the altar (think of it consciously) and sacrifice it once and for all.
By: Saman Haziq
The words Islam and Muslim come from the same three-letter root word (s,l and m) in Arabic, which means 'peace' and is also derived from the word 'silm' which means submit your will to Almighty God. Therefore, it means peace that is received by submitting your will to Almighty God. And the best examples of complete submission, obedience to God for Muslims is that of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) whose spirit of sacrifice won him the favour of Almighty God and his name was made to be remembered and revered till the end of time.
So highly rated was the spirit of self-sacrifice, complete obedience to God's commands by Prophet Ibrahim that Muslims have been ordered to commemorate certain events that took place in Prophet Ibrahim's life such as the Hajj rituals and sacrificing the prescribed animals and this occasion we call as Eid Al Adha, the Greater Eid, which is also known as the 'Festival of Sacrifice'.
Muslims believe and are repeatedly reminded through the Holy Koran that the sole reason why humans were sent to this world was for God to test their sincerity towards Him. Depending on their deeds, level of obedience, God will judge and admit them either in paradise or send them to hell.
One of the main trials of Prophet Ibrahim's life was to obey God's command to sacrifice his dearest possession, his son Ismail. Prophet Ibrahim and his son's faith were tested when God commanded him to sacrifice Ismail. As Prophet Ibrahim prepared to submit to the command, God stayed his order and instead of sacrificing his son, a ram was sacrificed. Both father and son came out of the test successful and since that day Hajl rituals were ordered by Allah, where every Muslim would trace the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim and sacrifice an animal in commemoration of this event. This takes place in one of the four sacred Islamic months, known as Dhul Hijjah. The first ten days of this sacred month bring with them opportunities for the believer to do good deeds and earn great reward. Hajj begins on the eighth day of the Dhul Hijjah, and two days after that, i.e on 10th of Dhul Hijjah, Eid Al Adha begins and goes on till 13th of Dhul Hijjah.
In commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's ultimate show of obedience, the prescribed animal (usually goat or sheep) is sacrificed by Muslims and divided into three parts: one third of the share is given to the poor; another part is shared with relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is retained by the family.
Another ritual that Haj pilgrims trace is the path of Prophet Ibrahim's wife, Hajara, who ran between two hills seven times searching for water for her dying newborn son, after he was asked to leave his wife and baby in the middle of wilderness under divine guidance. According to Islamic tradition, Hajara ran between the hills seven times in a bid to find water for her baby Ismail. After a frantic search, a miraculous spring of water gushed forth from under the baby's feet that runs to this day and is known as Zamzam.
Our focus on this great day of Eid Al Adha should not be only on the food and festivities. The question that we must ponder is what are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of Allah? How tough it would have been for Prophet Ibrahim to give away his only son, his flesh and blood at a time when sons were the wealth and pride of a family. Yet what was it that did not stop him from obeying Allah? It was his dedication, trust and ultimate submission to the will of God. If only we realise that we are powerless slaves of God, our Master, then we will be able to sacrifice whatever is needed.
The lesson to take is that each one of us has that one dearest possession, one weakness, something that we may love that is holding us back from completely submitting to Allah. It could be a preoccupation with career, wealth, status, family, desires, fear of being labelled, or bad habits. Find out what is it that stops you from obeying your creator, bring it to the altar (think of it consciously) and sacrifice it once and for all.
Take heed, spend some time going through the incidents that occurred in the life of Prophet Ibrahim and ask yourself and your children what is your Ismail (weakness)? What it is that you need to sacrifice to please Allah. Become a role model. Help each other with constructive reminders and checks, ponder on verses of the Holy Koran and hadith to see and understand what God wants from you. Let us learn the process of sacrifice, seeking only God's pleasure.