Qur’an Stories: The Sacrifice

The story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) preparing to offer his son Isma’il (as) as a sacrifice to Allah (swt) is not one of simply offering flesh and physical bloodhsed, but more so of spiritual sacrifice and submission to Allah (swt).

As the story goes, one day Ibhraim (as) dreamt that Allah (swt) wished for him to sacrifice his son Isma’il (as). Fearing it was a trick from Shaytan, he dismissed the dream until the command came again. From his reccuring dream, Prophet Ibhraim (as) knew that this was a command from Allah Almighty.

As an obedient servant of Allah (swt), Ibrahim took his son Isma’il (as) to Mount Arafat with a knife and rope in preparation for the sacrifice. He told young Isma’il (as) of his intentions but when he raised the knife, Allah (swt) intervened and spoke to Ibrahim (as): he was not to sacrifice his son, for this had merely been a test of his faith, devotion and submission to Allah (swt). Instead, Isma’il (as) was replaced with a sacrificial animal as a symbolic reminder:

‘And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, “O Ibrahim, You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favourable mention] among later generations: “Peace upon Ibrahim.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was of Our believing servants.’ 37: 103-111

Each year, during the holy days of Eid al-Adha, Muslims offer a Qurbani (Udhiyah) sacrifice in memory of this important event. By offering a goat, sheep, cow, camel or other such animal as a sacrifice to Allah (swt), we celebrate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah (swt) and the mercy that Allah (swt) bestows upon us when we submit to His commands. We are reminded of the importance of trusting Allah (swt) and his Greatness, subhan Allah, through this story.