How Much Do You Love Allah (swt)?

how much do you love AllahGoing through Surah Saffat (37), I came across a very beautiful section. Right after Allah (swt) talks about Ibrahim (as) when he, as a young man taught his people about Shirk and Tauheed, it is mentioned that when Ibrahim (as) grew old, Allah (swt) blessed him with a beautiful son named Ismail (as). Ismail (as) learnt to walk but we don’t know his exact age. Some scholars state that he had just started to walk, while others say that he could actually walk at the same pace as his father Ibrahim (as), so he might have been thirteen years of age.

Nevertheless, Ibrahim (as) saw in his dream that he was killing his son. This is mentioned in the Quran:

“And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!’ He said: ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha’Allah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).’” (As-Saffat 37:102)

Ibrahim (as) beautified his son Ismail (as) on that day, put on him his best clothes, and fed him a great breakfast. Then he took him to the place of slaughtering. Some scholars of Tafseer state it was Mina, which is in Makkah, while others say it was Syria.

“Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering).” (As-Saffat 37:103)

When Ibrahim (as) laid Ismail (as) on the ground and sharpened his sword, tears rolled down his cheeks. Verse 103 states “Falamma Aslama” (“when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah)”) and “Wa Tallaho lil Jabeen” (“he had laid him prostrate on his forehead”). This is strange because when you place someone on the ground, you generally have him lie face up, so when you cut the neck, you simply slit the windpipe. If you place him face down, you will have to cut his spinal cord in the bones.

So why did Ibrahim (as) put him face down? And what was the purpose of asking Ibrahim (as) to slaughter his son?

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Wither Spirit of Sacrifice

goatIt was the day of Eid-ul-Adha in a close-knit neighbourhood. It was a neighbourhood which generally came together to celebrate every occasion. Today was no different. Children from different households, along with some adults, were hurriedly making their way to whichever house was doing the sacrifice of animals. There, they would all congregate and watch it together. Children and men would stand on the road, while women would peep from their windows, terraces or roofs.

Sidra and Sarah were two sisters who were part of the brigade of children who were enthusiastically following the sacrifice of all the houses. They had been a part and parcel of these celebrations year after year, and they were not planning to miss any thing today. However, something seemed out of place this year. Sarah, the younger sister, spotted it first.

Entertainment – this is essentially what Eid-ul-Adha has come to signify.

“Is that my imagination or are those guys over there making videos from their cell phone cameras?” she wondered aloud.

Sidra craned her neck to look. Sure enough, a bunch of teenaged boys along with some adults were making a video of the entire process of a cow being slaughtered for sacrifice. There were many laughs and shrieks of delight as this particular crowd captured and exchanged visual after visual. As the two sisters watched stunned, some of the crowd even clapped and cheered as a few men tried to control an over-excited cow and tie it down.

“Let’s leave,” said Sidra. “This is nothing but entertainment.”

When you do your sacrifice on Eid-ul-Adha, do you think it reflects in your attitude for the rest of the year?

And sadly, this tale of one neighbourhood says it all. Entertainment – this is essentially what Eid-ul-Adha has come to signify. You get up early, you go watch all the sacrifices of animals being done in your neighbourhood, you clap and cheer, then you come back, sort out the meat of your own sacrificial animal, and then it’s all about either dressing up to go out for dinner or spending a majority of time in the kitchen cooking meat-related delicacies for Eid parties being hosted in your own house.

But really, is that only what this Eid is all about? Of course, all of you reading this know exactly why this Eid is celebrated, so without going into all of that, let’s just bring it down to one basic question – when you do your sacrifice on Eid-ul-Adha, do you think it reflects in your attitude for the rest of the year?

And if the above question makes no sense, think again about why this Eid is celebrated. You sacrifice an animal in the way of Allah (SWT). And if you do this simple act with the intention of imbibing the true spirit of sacrifice in your daily life, then one Eid will definitely go a long way in making a positive change in your attitude for the rest of the year. And if you start to dwindle in your resolve, another Eid comes to remind you of it.

This leads to another question. What does it mean to have the true spirit of sacrifice in one’s daily life? It basically means to give up your favourite and most-cherished things in the way of Allah (SWT) at all times. For instance, suppose your mother asks you to give away some of your clothes to the less privileged. Honestly ask yourself what you do in this situation – do you hasten to give away your oldest, most worn out clothes or do you willingly give away your newer, better-looking clothes? The answer will tell you the extent to which you have the spirit of sacrifice within you.

How willingly you go for the lesser-liked choice is the spirit of sacrifice.

Then think about what you do when you are faced with a difficult situation in your everyday life. For example, your mother is not feeling well and you must cook dinner. At the same time, there is a party at your best friend’s house, which you don’t want to miss. Again, are you willing to give up some of your fun for the sake of your household or do you insist on going to the party come what may? The answer, even to this question, will tell you for sure whether or not you have the spirit of sacrifice in you.

In a nutshell, there will always be instances and circumstances where you will have to give up your favoured choice, and go for the one which you don’t like – for the greater good. How willingly you go for the lesser-liked choice is the spirit of sacrifice, and every year in which you experience Eid-ul-Adha reminds you that such sacrifices are worth making for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and the long term investment (Jannah).

This article was first published in The Intellect Magazine – it is being reprinted here with their permission