With the meanings, morals, values, teachings and principles of Islam being lost in this generation, it is essentially that we start with small reminders. Reminders of prayers, jihad, sacrifices, fasting and brotherhood: these are the ideals Islam lays its grounds on. We see and experience brotherhood and different types of jihad often. While we ignore the right what Allah(SWT)cherishes in his creatures: The essence of sacrifice.
It is well known that “If you sacrifice something for the sake of Allah, He will replace it with something you couldn’t even imagine having.” But the essence of sacrifice isn’t an easy one. We learn that from the life of many Prophets (PBUH)who on numerous occasions displayed their devotion to Allah SWT through various sacrifices and can be vividly felt and experienced in the life of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) depicting the true essence of sacrifice from since the beginning of his life even before receiving Prophet hood when He pondered upon the existence of God while being surrounded by idol worshippers. When He disagreed with selling His father’s craftsmanship.
When Prophet Musa’s mother, upon fear of losing her child she was commanded to put him in a basket and hand Him over to the Nile River where He would float away to his future kingdom that he would rule. This was a big sacrifice from a mother to separate her child relying purely on Her faith in Allah SWT. This event of sacrifice helped not only to spread Islam and establish the oneness of Allah but also left a prompt reminder for the ummah and for the disbelievers.
A greater test of Prophet Ibrahim’s AS obedience and submission to Allah SWT was presented in the form of repeated signs in His dreams, where Allah SWT asked him for sacrificing His beloved son Prophet Ismail AS. In spite of being asked for His dearest, without hesitation Prophet Ibrahim AS obeyed Allah’s orders. He took his son to the top of Mount Arafat. Blindfolding Himself and tyingup Prophet Ismail preparing for the sacrifice. As Prophet Ibrahim laid the sharp knife on his son’s neck, Allah called down: “O Ibrahim! You have done my bidding and now you will be rewarded”. His obedience was rewarded by sparing his son and being replaced by a large ram. This came to be known as the event of Eid ul Adha.
Eid ul Adha or the event of sacrifice is largely celebrated by Muslims all over the world with great zeal to show their devotion to Allah SWT. The word sacrifice translates to “Qurbani” originating from the word “Qurb” which describes its authentic and pure meaning. The word Qurb translates to closeness, nearness and proximity referring to the true essence of sacrifice which is done to attain closeness to Allah SWT. Sacrifice, whether that of wealth or desires, is the practical proof of man’s devotion to his Creator.
If one was to truly understand the meaning of sacrifice, they’ll be able to differentiate between the words of sacrifice and slaughter as the two may seem to go along but are not the same. The purpose of sacrifice is not fulfilled only by shedding the blood of an animal, but it is really fulfilled when a man submits himself completely to Allah’s SWT command. This has been clearly laid down in Surah Hajj, verse 37; “Not their flesh, nor their blood reaches Allah, but it is the piety from you that reaches Him.” This verse eloquently speaks of the fact that sacrifice in Islam is nothing else than a natural expression of homage and gratitude to the Creator establishing the fact that a sacrifice can be made in ulterior ways as well.
It is the spirit of willing devotion and cheerful obedience underlying sacrifices that is accepted by Allah. It is only piety of heart,nobility of soul and righteousness of conduct, that is acceptable to Him. It is essentially symbolic, an external symbol of dedication, devotion to Allah. Tafsir Ibn Kathir stresses this point: “The man who offers sacrifice should keep this fact uppermost in his mind that the most important motive behind this is the willing submission to Allah”
The essence of sacrifice also contributes to other principles of Islam that help progress the ummah. The principal of brotherhood and strengthening of faith and attaining taqwa .
Allah SWT loves taqwa in His people more than anything, so a sacrifice always brings a Muslim close to Allah SWT. When we speak about the true essence of sacrifice, it enhances the brotherhood as parts of the qurbani are reserved for the poor , relatives and friends expanding the message of Islam perfectly. In this manner the generation of today must be taught and reminded about the essence of sacrifice and learn the important aspects of Islam beginning with these small adaptations that have a bigger impact on a person’s religion.
Name: Ayesha Kamran
Academic year: 2nd year
Department: Institute of Medical Technology