People practice different rituals in their quest for Divine satisfaction. Sincere good deeds and personal sacrifices made solely for the purpose of seeking the pleasure of Allah have special resonance at the throne of Allah (twa). In the quest for understanding the spirit of sacrifice in the service of Tawheed, the life of Hadhrat Ibrahim (as) serves as an enduring model and inspiration for all believers. For his experiences in all their complex and varied settings represent an extraordinary saga of submission to the Divine Will. Even under conditions of severe trials, requiring extreme patience in the contingencies of life such as being asked his son, Hadhrat Ibrahim (as) remained sincere, solely devoted to the protective hands of the Divine [Inset: Artistic impression of that great sacrifice).
In his Friday Sermon of 04 October 2013, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) Mauritius reflected on the purpose of Qurbani, a ritual of faith all devout Muslims observe on the occasion of the performance of Hajj / Eid-ul-Adha in the backdrop of the story of the life of Hadhrat Ibrahim (as).
Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:
“(O Prophet) Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.” (6: 163)
Today’s sermon is centred on the purpose of Qurbani (Sacrifice). The verse which I have recited at the beginning of my sermon indicates that Allah (swt) accepts the Qurbani (sacrifices) wherein there is sincerity, be it in the deed itself and in the intention with which the deed (sacrifice) is accomplished – only for the pleasure of Allah. In the days of ignorance (Jahiliya) people used to make sacrifices in such a way that they imprinted the sacrificial blood (of animals) on the door of the Kaaba and they suspended the meat thereof on the door of the Kaaba too, thinking that Allah needs all that! Allah (swt) refutes this in the Holy Quran:
“Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety (taqwa) from you.” (22: 38)
Qurbani existed in the times of each prophet but the Qurbani which we, the Ummah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) accomplish is greatly related to Hazrat Ibrahim (as).
The companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh): “O Messenger of Allah, what is Qurbani?” The Envoy of Allah replied: “It is a practice (Sunnah) of your ancestor (Hazrat) Ibrahim (as).” Why has Allah (swt) been pleased with the way that Hazrat Ibrahim (as) made Qurbani and has afterwards ordained the same for us? To understand this, it is necessary that we understand the life of Hazrat Ibrahim (as).
There is no Muslim, Christian or Jew who does not recognise Hazrat Ibrahim (as) as their guide. Such prophets like Hazrat Musa (as), Hazrat Isa (as) and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) are all from his progeny.
There are more than 4000 years (before) that Hazrat Ibrahim (as) was born in ancient Iraq (Mesopotamia). He was a great prophet of Allah having received the title of Khalilullah (Intimate Friend of Allah). After the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is Hazrat Ibrahim (as) who has the highest status among the prophets.
Hazrat Ibrahim (as) was born in an era where the majority of people had forgotten Allah. The place where he was born was a prosperous one (in terms of material comforts/possessions) but it was lost in spiritual darkness. The people used to pray stars, statues, etc. but Hazrat Ibrahim (as) was not one of those people. He was on the contrary a person of intellect (who reflects). He had another line of thinking (compared to his fellow citizens) and thus he began to reflect on the sun, moon, stars and their motion, evolution in a well ordained orbit. As for the idols, they were just objects which these people fabricated with their hands and their king could not be god for he was just human. How then could all these be gods?
The statues do not have the ability to move without the aid of the other false (human) “gods”, such “gods” who do not have any power on life and death of people and besides these “gods” do not even have the capacity to help themselves. After pondering over all these things, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) told the people:
“… O my people, indeed I am free from what you associate with Allah. Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining toward truth, and I am not of those who associate others with Allah.” (6: 79-80)
Hazrat Ibrahim (as) began his mission when he invited the king, Nimrud and the inhabitants of his native land towards the worship of one God, they all turned against him. They began to create difficulties to stop him in his mission. They therefore decided to burn him alive. We all know how Allah saved His Khalilullah Hazrat Ibrahim (as), like mentioned in the Holy Quran.
While these people were pushing Ibrahim (as) in that fire, Allah then ordained that fire to become coolness and security for Hazrat Ibrahim (as).
When Hazrat Ibrahim (as) saw that these people would not have faith (Iman) in Allah, he emigrated in other lands to continue his mission. Everywhere he went he called the people to pray Allah alone. With the passing of years, he attained his eighties and still, he did not beget any child. Therefore he turned in prayer to Allah the Almighty so that Allah may give him a virtuous child to continue his mission. Allah accepted his dua and therefore his second wife Hazrat Hajra became pregnant and gave birth to a son by the name of Ismail (Hazrat Ismail).
It is after lots of dua and whilst in old age that a father got his first-born, a son. We can imagine how dear such a boy was to his father!
According to some narrations, the angels once told Allah the Almighty: “Oh our Lord! You said that Ibrahim is Your Friend (Khalil). But the situation of Ibrahim (as) is such that he has also got the love of his son in his heart. Oh Allah! Verily, to hold the title of Khalil is for someone who has only your love in his heart.” Therefore Allah tried Hazrat Ibrahim (as) to make apparent to the angels that indeed Hazrat Ibrahim (as) deserves this title (Khalilullah) Friend of Allah.
In the night of 8th Zil Hajj, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) saw in a dream that someone was telling him: “O Ibrahim! Sacrifice in my path one whom you love most in this world.”
Hazrat Ibrahim (as) at once understood that this command is about his son Ismail. As the command is a divine one and because of his love for Allah, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) took firm resolution, without hesitation, to perform the sacrifice of his son.
Hazrat Ismail (as) was at that time around 7 or 13 years old. He was beautiful, obedient, and intelligent. Like Allah makes us understand in Chapter 37, As-Saffat, Verses103:
“And when he reached the age of travelling with him, he said: ‘My son, while I was sleeping I saw that I shall slaughter (sacrifice) you, tell me what is your opinion.’ He replied: ‘Father, do as you are ordered (by Allah). Allah willing, you shall find me one of those who are steadfast.’”(37: 103)
The Qurbani which Hazrat Ibrahim (as) did, shows clearly the unflinching, pure and whole love which he had for Allah (swt) and which a believer must undeniably have for Allah.
Insha-Allah, I shall continue on the same subject next Friday, on the great sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (as) and Hazrat Ismail (as).