Download The Concept of Sacrifice in Islam قال الله تعالى Allah swt says: `Say
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The Concept of Sacrifice in Islam قال هللا تعالى Allah swt says: ‘Say (O Muhammad pbuh): "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are all for Allah, the Lord of the whole Universe’ أيها المؤمنون: If someone were to ask us what Islam is, how would we answer? We may start by enumerating upon the Five Pillars or explaining the meaning of the word ‘Islam’ and the requirement to submit to the will of Allah. There are pamphlets and books elucidating all aspects of Islamic beliefs and teachings. These may help someone to understand but may still leave many aspects unanswered. This is very similar to a lay person asking about the workings of complicated machinery, such as aircraft engines or electron microscopes. Any amount of verbal explanation and written material may still leave him bewildered. It is much easier, therefore to give a better explanation if we have a model at hand. The person enquiring can then see for himself and can follow the explanations given of how things work. To see the model of Islam is to see the life of prophet Ibrahim (pbuh). The salient features of his personality are manifested in his life of total submission to the obedience of Allah swt. To start with, the direction of his life was entirely focussed towards Allah. In surah al-Anam v79, Ibrahim (pbuh) says: Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism) and I am not of the Polytheists’ Brothers in Islam: To implement this conviction we see that all his relations and dealings with his family, his society and his nation, whether personal or societal were governed strictly under Divine supremacy. He firmly enjoined himself to Allah and severed all other relationships. He left his home, his parents and his birth place to wander in the wilderness rather than compromise his beliefs. So complete and thorough was his submission that no sooner was he asked to submit then instantaneously submitted to the Divine will: surah al-Baqra v131. When his Lord said to him, "Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!" He said, "I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the Universe." He was extremely selfless and sincere for the cause of the propagation of the Divine Message. Thus, he was not worried about his own well-being, but was concerned about the Message of Allah be perpetuated not only in his life time but in the centuries to come. He established institutions and society in such a way that future generations should continue to be blessed. For this purpose, he and his son Ismail (as) built the Kabah, the first house on earth for the worship of Allah swt. Then, he established the institution of Hajj and his earnest prayer for the Muslim Ummah to continue his mission. These efforts are the testimony of his love, devotion and the far-sightedness so that the Oneness of Allah swt continues to permeate throughout the ages. Thus, when he was laying the foundation of the Kabah with his son Ismael (as) they prayed: surah al-Baqrah v128-129. "Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – i.e. Hajj and 'Umrah, and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. (128) "Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur'ân) and Al-Hikmah, and purify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." Above all his life was full of sacrifices. The supreme test came when he was asked by Allah swt to sacrifice his son. Without hesitation both father and son submitted themselves in obedience. Surah as-Saffat v103-1-5. Then, when they had both submitted themselves, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead; (103) And We called out to him: "O Ibrahim! (104) You have fulfilled the dream!" Verily! Thus do We reward the good-doers. أيها المسلمون: Yet another perfect model we find in the life of the prophet Mohammad (pbuh). He was persecuted in Makkah, stoned and ridiculed in Taif, and suffered economic and social boycott and was banished. Even in Madina he was slandered and harassed by the combined forces of the Quraish, the Jews and the hypocrites. But he left us the best example of sacrifice and forbearance, which Allah has asked us to follow: Surah alAhzab v21. Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. Sacrifice is the essential requirement to test the sincerity of our Iman. The path of Islam is the path of struggle. We will not be left alone just by saying that we believe. We will be tested so as to establish whether our belief is superficial or rooted firm in our hearts and manifested on our actions. The glorious Quran mentions this fact in several places so that we should not be perturbed when these trials come and so that we remain steadfast in our Iman: Surah Ankabut v2-3. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe” and will not be tested (2) And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars. Brothers in Islam: Just as to purify gold it has to be put in a crucible and heated so that all its impurities are evaporated, similarly it is only by trial and tribulation that we shape and develop our personalities. Those who stay firm, persevere and strive hard receive Allah’s guidance and reward. Thus, after going through severe trials, tests and untold sacrifices was Ibrahim (pbuh) granted the honour of ‘leader of mankind’: Surah al-Baqrah v124. Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near! What should we sacrifice? To start with we are asked to sacrifice our possessions- things that we love to own and collect. Gold and silver, houses and cars, clothes and jewellery, cattle and land- all of which are the possessions of this world. Then we love our families and ourselves. All of these are to be sacrificed in the way of Allah if need be. Brothers in Islam: Much more difficult is the sacrifice of time. All ‘Ibadah’ require our commitment to find time to fulfil our obligations to Allah and our fellow human beings. Still more difficult is to forgo our own opinions and submit our ego to the dictates of the Shariah. Customs and traditions sometimes conflict with the clear injunctions of the Shariah. We may have to overcome the bitterness of family and withstand pressure of society. It is only then that we really succeed in obeying Allah. The sacrifice of a goat, sheep or camel is just symbolic. We see the innocent animal is firmly in our control and is prepared to die for the will of its Creator. Are we really ready to sacrifice our lives, possession, our inner desires and our ego? Are we willing to place ourselves like the helpless animal in the control of the will of our Creator? That is the real sacrifice. Otherwise each year Eid-ul-Adah comes and we diligently sacrifice some animals and we feel satisfied when we have fulfilled our obligation- no doubt we have performed an act of Ibadah for which we will be rewarded. Surah al-Hajj v37. It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is the piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad pbuh) to the doers of good. Let us prepare ourselves for a life of sacrifice. Without making sacrifices we will not be able to start the revival of Islam. We should be ready to sacrifice our time, our wealth, our resources, and our lives, our personal likes and dislikes. If we sincerely strive in Allah’s way He will open His doors of success for us. This is His promise. Allah swt says in Surah Ankabut v69. As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allah is with the good doers." Together we can fulfil the obligation for which this Ummah is created. Without making sacrifices the revival of Islam will only remain a dream. This is the way to achieve Allah’s pleasure. This is the way of prophet Ibrahim and prophet Muhammad (pbut).