Qurbani is also referred to as the Sunna of Ibrahim in many texts. The word itself gives us a deep clue as to its importance and meaning. The word ‘Qurbani’ originally derives from the Arabic word ‘qurban’, which itself comes from the word ‘qurb’ which means ‘nearness’ or ‘a way of approaching someone’. Through the action that Qurbani remembers, the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) experienced true closeness to Allah (SWT), and the true meaning of the word Islam - submission to Allah (SWT).
The Qurbani account, which is found in the Qu’ran 37:102-110, follows the true story of father and son, Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS), and their unflinching loyalty and devotion to Allah (SWT). The story serves as a symbol of submission and a means of motivation, education and inspiration to millions of Muslims around the world today. Here, we will talk about this episode at length.
It is said that Ibrahim (AS) experienced a dream one night, in which Allah (SWT) told him to sacrifice Ismail (AS), his beloved son. At first, Ibrahim (AS) believed this was the devil playing tricks on him and he immediately disregarded it. However, the following night, the same dream occurred again commanding him to do the same. Ibrahim (AS) then came to realise that this was no fluke and was, in fact, a message from Allah (SWT).
Ibrahim (AS) loved his son, Ismail (AS). Yet he was fully prepared to follow Allah's (SWT) command and do as He instructed. He took his son to the top of Mount Arafat and brought with him a knife and rope. Upon reaching an appropriate place, he told his son about his dream and what Allah (SWT) had commanded him to do. Being an obedient son, Prophet Ismail (AS) immediately obliged to the wishes of Allah (SWT) and his father, and asked that his hands and legs be tied so that he may not struggle and that his father blindfold himself so that he does not have to witness him suffer.
Ibrahim (AS) did as Ismail (AS) had said. Blindfolded and with the knife in his hands, he did as Allah (SWT) had asked of him. When he took the blindfold off, to his surprise, he saw the body of a dead ram in front of him. Ismail (AS) was completely unharmed standing right next to him. At first, he thought that something had gone horribly wrong and that he had disobeyed the order of his Creator. But then he heard a voice telling him that Allah (SWT) looks after his followers and that he need not worry.
A divine miracle had taken place. Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) had just passed a difficult test from Allah (SWT).
Since then, every year, during the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the holy calendar, Muslims from around the world perform Qurbani to remember what Ibrahim (AS) did. We use his deed to inspire devotion, obedience, and submission in our own lives. Muslims sacrifice animals (preferably a goat, cow or camel) using special rules and practices, in memory of Prophet Ibrahim's (AS) sacrifice.
Therefore, Qurbani for Muslims is a lesson in obedience and submission. We must obey Allah's (SWT) command without pause. We must perform the tasks He has ordained compulsory on all Muslims such as praying Salat, performing Sawm, paying Zakat and embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage. May Allah (SWT) enable us to perform the Sunna of Ibrahim year in and year out. Ameen.
Due to the firm faith of both father and son, Isma'eel (AS) was replaced by a ram and his life was spared by Allah (SWT). In this story, we must, therefore, remember that Eid ul-Adha is not just a celebration, but the remembrance of one of the greatest sacrifices in history.
As we remember the story of Prophet Ibrahim's (AS) sacrifice every year, and we remember the obedience, devotion, and submission that he showed on that fateful day atop the mountain, we think of the importance of the celebration of Qurbani, and what we must do to honour it. For those of us blessed with enough wealth and prosperity that the giving of the sacrificial meat is not something we can do ourselves, Muslim Aid can help.
By donating to Muslim Aid so that your Qurbani obligation may be fulfilled, you serve those most in need and unite the Ummah in this time of joyous celebration as you follow a commandment that is blessed by Allah (SWT). Make Qurbani 2019 a time to remember.