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Eid ul Adha: Legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH)

Eid ul Adha: Legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH)
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Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) played an incredibly important role in the history of humankind. He (PBUH) was born in an age in which people were defiant and ignorant about the worship of one God. His people mostly lived for the sake of materialism. They worshipped idols made of stones, wood, or some other objects. These were the gods of the home, and their worship was seen as a vital affair of daily life and was thought to lead to better health and good fortunes in family life.

AbuBakr Fazili

This weekend, many Muslims across the world are celebrating Eid-ul-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. Prophet Ibrahim’s (Peace be upon him) willingness to sacrifice inspires the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha. It epitomizes the reverence of One God, confidence in His Prophets (Peace be upon them) ways, and righteous living.
Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) played an incredibly important role in the history of humankind. He (PBUH) was born in an age in which people were defiant and ignorant about the worship of one God. His people mostly lived for the sake of materialism. They worshipped idols made of stones, wood, or some other objects. These were the gods of the home, and their worship was seen as a vital affair of daily life and was thought to lead to better health and good fortunes in family life.

Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) is considered the father of all monotheistic faiths and was chosen by Allah to resurrect the knowledge of Tawhid (Oneness of God). He (PBUH) was born in Mesopotamia, now called Iraq – nearly 4000 years ago. At that time, it was recognized as the Chaldean Empire, where he grew up in ‘Ur’ near the present-day city of Mosul. The city was a popular worship center of the moon, the sun, and the stars, and they believed these celestial bodies had a profound impact on the destiny of humans.

As the Quran mentions, one day Ibrahim (PBUH) looked at the sky:
“So also did We show Ibrahim the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, that he might (with understanding) have certitude. When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: “This is my Lord.” But when it set, He said: “I love not those that set.” When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: “This is my Lord.” But when the moon set, He said: “Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.”When he saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: “This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).” But when the sun set, he said: “O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. “For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.”” [Surah Al An’am 6:75-79]

Therefore, Ibrahim (PBUH) contested the worship of all celestial bodies that people worshiped and adored, and thus:
“His people disputed with him. He said: “(Come) ye to dispute with me, about Allah, when He (Himself) hath guided me? I fear not (the beings) ye associate with Allah: Unless my Lord willeth, (nothing can happen). My Lord comprehended in His knowledge all things. Will ye not (yourselves) be admonished? “How should I fear (the beings) ye associate with God, when ye fear not to give partners to God without any warrant having been given to you? Which of (us) two parties hath more right to security? (tell me) if ye know.” [Surah Al An’am 6:80-81]

Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was raised in a family of idolaters, but he (PBUH) was blessed with divine knowledge from early childhood. Allah had made his heart and mind holy, and had given him wisdom

Filipino Muslims gather to celebrate Eid al-Adha at the Luneta Park in Manila (Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP)

His (PBUH) family history teaches spiritual lessons of unwavering obedience, loyalty, and devotion to God. It holds a message of enlightenment for all, a mother, a father, a wife, and a son. Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was raised in a family of idolaters, but he (PBUH) was blessed with divine knowledge from early childhood. Allah had made his heart and mind holy, and had given him wisdom:

“We bestowed aforetime on Ibrahim his rectitude of conduct, and well were We acquainted with him. (as to his belief in the Oneness of Allah)” [Surah Al Anbiya 21:51]

It was in his early age that Ibrahim (PBUH) deliberated and debated with his father, who was a prominent idolater of his times. He used to make idols with his own hands. Ibrahim (PBUH) realized the fallacy of the idols; he (PBUH) found that these idols couldn’t talk, eat or drink and that they couldn’t even turn themselves to the right side if they were turned upside down by someone. How and why could then people believe that these statues could hurt or help them?
“Lo! Ibrahim said to his father Azar: “Takest thou idols for gods? For I see thee and thy people in manifest error.”” [Surah Al An’am 6:74]

“Behold, he said to his father: “O my father! why worship that which heareth not and seeth not, and can profit thee nothing? “O my father! to me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a way that is even and straight. “O my father! serve not Satan: for Satan is a rebel against (Allah) Most Gracious. “O my father! I fear lest a Penalty afflict thee from (Allah) Most Gracious, so that thou become to Satan a friend.”(The father) replied: “Dost thou hate my gods, O Ibrahim? If thou forbear not, I will indeed stone thee: Now get away from me for a good long while!”Ibrahim said: “Peace be on thee: I will pray to my Lord for thy forgiveness: for He is to me Most Gracious. “And I will turn away from you (all) and from those whom ye invoke besides Allah: I will call on my Lord: perhaps, by my prayer to my Lord, I shall be not unblest.”” [Surah Maryam 19:42-48]

In the above discussion, we see a good example of a righteous son’s moral conduct towards his deviated father. This calls us to carry out the duty of Dawah (invitation to way of lord) and Islah (to correct) of one’s family, as Allah says:
“O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones…” [Surah Al Tahrim 66:6]

During his lifetime Ibrahim (PBUH) also argued with a skeptic, who claimed to be god (according to what the commentators said, he was Namrud, the King of Babylon

The teachings found in the short conversation between Ibrahim (PBUH) and his father can be summarized in the following four points:
1. A righteous son is dedicated to his father and wishes him well in all material and spiritual affairs.
2. If a father rejects Allah’s guidance, then the son must do his best to get his father closer to Allah.
3. A son, after having obtained the guidance, does not abandon it, even if he has to sacrifice the love of his father and give up his home.
4. Even if father turns him away, he responds in politeness – packed of compassion and love and is steadfast on the path of Truth.
During his lifetime Ibrahim (PBUH) also argued with a skeptic, who claimed to be god (according to what the commentators said, he was Namrud, the King of Babylon):
Allah says in the Quran:

“Hast thou not turned thy vision to one who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord, because Allah had granted him power? Ibrahim said: “My Lord is He Who Giveth life and death.” He said: “I give life and death”. Said Ibrahim: “But it is Allah that causeth the sun to rise from the East: Do thou then cause him to rise from the West.” Thus was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith. Nor doth Allah Give guidance to a people unjust.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:258]
Ibrahim (PBUH) continued his preaching and lifelong Jihad for the divine cause. When he was an old man he had no children. So he supplicated God to bless him with a child, and his prayers were responded. As mentioned in the Quran;

“Lord, grant me a righteous son, so we gave him the good news that he would have a patient Son. When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Ibrahim said my son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you think? He said, father do as you are commanded and, God willing, you will find me steadfast. When they had both submitted to God, and he had laid his son down on the side of his face, we called out to him Ibrahim you have fulfilled the dream. This is how we reward those who do good. It was a test to prove their true characters, we ransomed his son with a momentous sacrifice and we let him be praised by succeeding generations, Peace be upon Ibrahim! This is how we reward those who do good: truly he was one of our faithful servants” (Saffat; 99-112).

Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) had a dream about sacrifice three times. Ibrahim (PBUH) said on the third night, “O Lord! I have been sacrificing for two days”. The voice said “My beloved friend, Sacrifice your much-loved son Ismael,! “Ismael was just 13 or 14 years old, a youth who enjoyed the prime of his life, but he prepared himself for the sacrifice when the time came. It is narrated that Satan did all he could to stop Ismael and his mother Hajrah from resisting. They, being people of piety and faith, instinctively recognized his trickery and stoned the Satan and told him to be on his way, for they too were in love with their Lord and ready to make every sacrifice like Ibrahim (PBUH).

The next thing we see in this story is Ibrahim (PBUH) sharpening the knife and tying his much-loved teenage son’s hands and legs and getting ready to make the great sacrifice. However, when he had laid him on the ground ready to be slaughtered, God said to him stop! This is all what I wanted to see and show the world how much you are devoted to your Lord, and you are willing to make all kinds of sacrifices for my pleasure.

Coming from Ibrahim’s (PBUH) household meant; giving up things which are precious for something that is even more valuable. Their mantra like Ibrahim’s (PBUH) was “my prayer, my sacrifices, my living, and dying are all for the Lord of the universe” (Al Anam; 162).
The next thing we see in this story is Ibrahim (PBUH) sharpening the knife and tying his much-loved teenage son’s hands and legs and getting ready to make the great sacrifice. However, when he had laid him on the ground ready to be slaughtered, God said to him stop! This is all what I wanted to see and show the world how much you are devoted to your Lord, and you are willing to make all kinds of sacrifices for my pleasure.
This was one of the most daunting tasks and challenges that Ibrahim (PBUH) had to accomplish and he came out of it with flying colours, success leaped and kissed his feet, glory crowned him with a halo whose radiance would last until the Day of Judgment and beyond.

Today Muslims around the globe need to inherit the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). The legacy of unbending belief in one God (Tawhid), his shunning of the idols of the pagans and asking them to reflect and think about what they worship and, above all, his ability to sacrifice his most prized treasure for the love of God.

Author is a Postgraduate in Biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Biochemistry from Colin Ratledge Center for Microbial Lipids, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo, China. He can be reached at faziliab7@gmail.com

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not reflect the stand or policy of Oracle Opinions.

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