Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds."
People all over the world know the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). A modest servant of God, requested to sacrifice his own son to show his utmost commitment. In the end, his son is replaced with a ram, proving how important intention is in our actions and showing the never-ending Mercy of Allah.
The story of Ibrahim teaches us many lessons: courage, patience, respect for ones parents, and the importance of nurturing of our children. But the most important takeaway is the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail.
- Sacrifice comes from faith, and is the basis of our very religion. Sacrifice is more than just slaughtering an animal for food or charity. The act of sacrifice means giving up something of our own for a better cause- maybe to bring people together, or help the needy. Or maybe to worship our Creator, which is the best cause of all. It helps us learn how to surrender ourselves to the will of Allah for the sake of serving humanity. It reminds us that everything we have comes from Allah and should be cherished and shared.
- Sacrifice reinforces loyalty to Allah, by showing that we are able to give up other loyalties and priorities.
- Sacrifice helps us develop moral qualities such as patience and tolerance, and makes us stronger and firmer, creating a more solid relationship with our Lord.
- Sometimes Allah asks us to sacrifice these things we love (time, money, possessions) to show us that there is something grater beyond it. Some people sacrifice their whole lives helping others in need, or to memorize the glorious Quran, or to become a scholar of religion in order to preserve the faith and teach others.
Whether it’s the five minutes of TV time you give up praying Asr, or the $5,000 from your savings you spend supporting an orphan or masjid, sacrifice has no bounds or limits.
Eid ul Adha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice, is arguably the most important holiday in Islam for the reason behind the celebration. Yes, animals are slaughtered for food and charity, but the Quran tells us in Surah Al-Haj, Ayah 37,"It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your devotion that reaches Him.”
Sacrificing the animals is just a ritual which symbolizes the bigger sacrifices in our lives and devotions in our lives and to remember Allah and follow His command. So here is your modest reminder to give a little more of your time and possessions to friends, family, and those who need it in the community and world around you. And spending a little more time in Ibadah (worship) can be as easy as lengthening your prayers or creating an Islamic study group.
You’ll find that the small excess you give provides an exponentially greater reward, both in this life and the hereafter, inshAllah. Remember, sacrifice is not necessarily about how we die, rather, how we live. We should make an effort to live truly to the expectations of the spirit of sacrifice that the festival of Eid al-Adha stands for.