What can be learnt from the story Of Ibrahim A.s and his son Ismail?

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Prophet Ibrahim (A.s) is mentioned in the Holy Quran 75 times and in 25 chapters. He was born in Iraq in the city of Babylon. Allah (swt) took Ibrahim (As) as his intimate friend and he is among those prophets known as the messengers of strong will (Ul-ulazm). Those Prophets are Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa and Isa) peace be upon them. Due to their patience as well as their great endeavor to Deen of Allah, He gave them the title Ulul-azm.  In this inspiring story, let us look at it and derive some lessons. Ibrahim (as) experienced a dream where he was commanded to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail, as a memory in the ummah Prophet Muhammad (Saw), they sacrifice animals with special rules and practices in every Idul Adh-ha festive. Looking in depth this story, we take some great lessons.

As Ibn Kathir mentions in his Tafsir of Quran that prophet Ibrahim prayed to his Lord to grant him a righteous child at the age 86.

. {رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ. فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلامٍ حَلِيمٍ}

[My Lord grant me a child from among the righteous so we gave him good tidings of forbearing boy.]

[As-saafat: 100-101]

This first lesson that can be learnt particularly by the married couples who may have struggled and spent many years without having a child. Their passion can sometimes lead them to commit acts of Shirk after efforts from medical experts become be fruitless. In light of these noble verses, Ibrahim (A.s) in his elderly age prayed to Allah to grant him not only a child but a righteous one. At a time we want to have offspring we should pray to none other than Allah Swt, and that our prayers should be basically to be granted the righteous children as they bring joy to our hearts and eyes. The righteous child is the one who gives you support in fulfilling the religious duties. Allah (swt) answered Ibrahim’s prayer by granting him a forbearing boy. Allah’s answer also contained good tidings that the child will be a baby boy who will reach the age of exertion assisting him to execute his daily activities.

Ismail, when reaching 16 years old, Allah tested Ibrahim AS by instructing him to sacrifice his beloved son. This command comes at a time when Ibrahim has developed the deep love to his child. Verily he was tried upon between his love for Allah and that of his son which one is dearer to him.

. فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ .

And when he reached with him the age of exertion, He said; Oh my son indeed I have seen in a dream that I sacrifice you. So see what you think. He said: Oh my beloved father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills of the steadfast

[Assafat: 102]

The gentleness of Ibrahim is seen here to his son Ismail when he called him using soft and lovely words….Oh my son’.  Parents can derive a lesson of using soft language as this can motivate their spirit towards submitting to the orders we issue. Ismail reply: ‘Oh my father do what is commanded shows the goodness of the righteous child as he always offers his  state of peaceful acquiescence i.e  never disputes divinely orders. The fact that Ibrahim consulted his son should not mean he wanted him to either obey or disobey the command rather was meant to prepare him towards submitting to Allah’s command. Upon this well spoken words, Ismael replied his father with a lot of willingness. Yes indeed, the love for Allah should be dearer to our hearts than that of our children, parents and commerce. Would our hearts are filled with this kind of love as Muslims we would have sacrificed to the utmost of our energy in calling people to Islam especially at a time when have demonizing Islam.

Both they submitted fully to Allah’s command.

فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ . وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ . قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ . إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْبَلاءُ الْمُبِينُ . وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ

And when they had both submitted and he put him upon down his head upon his forehead. We called to him oh Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream we thus reward the doers of good. Indeed this was a clear trial.

[As-safat: 103-104]

Ibrahim and His Son Ismail [Peace be upon them] teach us that Allah’s Commands are not subject to debate rather we are obliged to fully submit. Similarly, the criteria of benefit is not the basis to adhere to Sharia. If that could be the basis, then Ibrahim (A.s) would not have submitted Allah’s command of sacrificing his son since this did not sound rationally and indeed was a threat to life of his son Ismail. Apparently, Ibrahim realized that the intellect is not the basis of the sharia rather a means to understand the sharia in order to implement it without using benefit as a criteria. This is a great lesson which is worthy today in a time where we live under Capitalism which considers benefit as the measure of doing actions, many Muslims have deviated the Islamic shariah on basis of benefit.  Apart from this, in pursuit of worldly gains, many Muslim scholars have thrown back their Deen!  Thus today, we see many Muslims joining Democratic parties under the pretext of seeking for parochial interest!  They further argue that although Democracy is a kufr system, our interests will not be secured if we boycott its elections. Is not that by adherence to our Deen we solely secure our interests in this world and thereafter?

We clearly see a well nurtured religious family how cordially helps one another in submitting to the commands of Allah seeking solely seek His pleasure. Thus, this truly high sacrifice where we are obliged to even sacrifice our souls in adhering to the commands of Allah. The fact that we are today living in a secular environment where sharia of Allah is disregarded while man-made laws are considered supreme! How a good tidings to who will remember the ultimate sacrifice of Ibrahim and his Son Ismail. Today, we are not tried in sacrificing our sons but in conveying the noble message of resuming the Islamic life by re-establishment of the Khilafah upon the method of Muhammad (Saw)

This indeed was a great tribulation and as we celebrate the amazing Idul Adh-ha festival we must ponder and remember the great lessons from the story. In the last part of the story, we see Allah redeemed Ismail with a noble ram a proof that when we submit fully to the commands of Allah ultimately He (swt) will grant us victory. Consequently by adhering to Allah’s commands then we will be saved from the claws of capitalism.

Shabani Mwalimu,

Media Rep,

Hizb ut-Tahrir Kenya.