Prophet Ibrahim (as) is one of the most loved friends of Allah (SWT) and an example to Muslims of the Tawheed (monotheism) of Islam.
Ibrahim was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) true in Faith, and He joined not gods with Allah.
He showed His gratitude for the favours of Allah, who chose Him, and guided Him to a Straight Way. (Quran 16: 120 - 121)
The story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and his beloved son Isma’eel (as) is the basis for the actions of Muslims today in the giving of Qurbani. The test that Prophet Ibrahim (as) faced is highlighted in the actions of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) whose example Muslims follow.
Prophet Ibrahim (as) was a wise and good-hearted person. His truthfulness, honesty and piety meant He was very dear to Allah (SWT).
One night, Prophet Ibrahim (as) had a dream in which He dreamt that Allah (SWT) had ordered Him to sacrifice his son Isma’eel (as). Because He dearly loved Isma’eel (as), He didn’t think anything beyond the dream but the following night and for many nights, He had the same dream again.
Prophet Ibrahim (as) then came to realise that the dream must be a message from Allah (SWT). This troubled Him because although He loved Allah (SWT) and wished to fulfill His command, He also loved His son Isma’eel and did not want to lose him.
“So, We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
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. So look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.”
Then, when they had both submitted themselves, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead.
We called out to him: “O Ibrahim!” “You have fulfilled the dream!”
Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.
Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial.
And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. (Qur’an 37 : 101 – 107)
However, Prophet Ibrahim (as) could not ignore the dream so He took Isma’eel up to Mount Arafat. He also took with Him a knife and a rope. He told Isma’eel (as) about this recurring dream and what Allah (SWT) had asked Him to do. Isma’eel (as) being a kind and pious child, offered to have his hands and feet bound so he would not struggle and the sacrifice would be quick and easy. Prophet Ibrahim (as) also blindfolded Himself so He would not see His son suffer.
Prophet Ibrahim (as) raised His knife and brought it down. He was convinced He had sacrificed his son. However, when He took the blindfold off, He was shocked and relieved to see not the body of Isma’eel (as) but that of a dead sheep in front of Him instead. His beloved son Isma’eel (as), was in fact, standing next to Him alive and well. Prophet Ibrahim (as) then heard a voice telling Him that Allah’s (SWT) Mercy is all encompassing. Thanks to His trust in Allah (SWT), Prophet Ibrahim (as) had passed a test of faith from Allah (SWT).
Since the time of Prophet Ibrahim (as) with each Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims perform Qurbani (or udhiyyah) - the slaughtering of sheep, goat, camel or cattle and distributing of the meat to the poor.
The Qurbani sacrifice is offered at the time of Eid-ul-Adha by those who are not on Hajj (pilgrimage) and should be completed prior to the Eid prayer.
Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before he prays, let him slaughter another one in its place, and whoever did not slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allah (SWT)." (Muslim)