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Prophet Ibrahim a.s. and His Dream: The Epitome of Faithfulness and Devotion

One of the many significant events in the month of Zulhijjah is performing Qurban.

It is an act of worship highly recommended for muslims to perform if they possess the financial means to undertake.

We are reminded of the wisdomful story of Prophet Ibrahim a.s and his son, Prophet Ismail a.s.

As mentioned in the Surah As-Saffat verses 102 – 111, Prophet Ibrahim a.s. received a revelation in the form of a dream to sacrifice Prophet Ismail a.s. Once they were ready to execute the command out of full devotion, Allah s.w.t. revealed that the task itself was only a test of their faith.

Beyond the mere benefits of satisfaction for those performing the Qurban and the beneficiaries, there are a multitude of profound lessons that we can learn from the story of Prophet Ibrahim a.s and Prophet Ismail a.s.

Here are three refined lessons we can draw from their story:

Empowerment of children by involving them in significant decision-making processes.

Prophet Ibrahim a.s. had a dream in which he saw himself sacrificing his son.

In Islamic tradition, it’s widely agreed upon that the dreams of prophets are regarded as divine revelations from Allah. Upon experiencing this dream, he turned to his son and asked, “فانظر ماذا ترى” (“So tell me, what do you think?”).

This action encapsulates two crucial lessons:

i. The significance of engaging our children in dialogue.

Despite Prophet Ibrahim’s a.s. awareness that sacrificing his son was an incontestable duty as revealed by Allah. he still sought his son’s opinion.

Scholars suggest that the question was not intended to solicit his son’s opinion but rather to test the degree of his devotion; it underscores the significance of engaging our children in dialogue. Whether as a test or to genuinely seek their inputs in certain matters, involving our children in decision-making fosters their understanding and inclusion in matters concerning them.

ii. The importance of good upbringing and the need to start early.

Scholars mentioned that during that time, Prophet Ismail a.s was 13 years of age, which was relatively young and that proved that he was wise from a very young age. The level of maturity and religiosity that Prophet Ismail a.s was blessed with, especially at a young age, is a virtue that we should all strive for.

2) Do what pleases Allah

When Prophet Ibrahim a.s enquired Prophet Ismail a.s regarding the dream that he had, Prophet Ismail a.s answered with a noteworthy answer. Instead of saying “Sacrifice me”, he said “افعل ما تؤمر” which means “Do what you were ordered to do”.

This concise answer included permission to his father and the reasoning behind it. Prophet Ismail’s a.s permission for his father to slaughter him was not only because he was an obedient son. Rather, it was more so due to the fact that it was ordered by Allah s.w.t for Prophet Ibrahim a.s to perform. In other words, Prophet Ismail a.s said to his father: “I give you my permission to slaughter me because Allah s.w.t ordered you to do so”.

This shows that ultimately, Prophet Ismail a.s. put his trust in his father and complied with Allah’s command. This, again shows the level of obedience and religiosity that Prophet Ismail a.s. possessed and the virtuous upbringing from Prophet Ibrahim a.s.

This serves as a lesson to all of us to not deviate from Allah’s commands. As Muslims, we align all our actions to seek Allah’s pleasure. Think through well before acting; if an act invites Allah’s wrath, abstain from it, even if your parents tell you to do so.

As parents, we should not order or encourage our children to do things that contradict the teachings of Islam. Looking at the example of Prophet Ibrahim a.s, he dreamt about slaughtering his own son, which is, to the naked eye, an immoral thing to do. However, due to it being a revelation from Allah s.w.t, it had to be performed undeniably and in a way, it does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

Likewise as children, we should obey our parents especially when the instructions given are aligned to Islamic teachings. The previous story shows that Prophet Ismail a.s was able to justify his permission to his father to slaughter him, which is due to Allah’s command.

3) The true meaning of ‘sacrifice’

When Allah s.w.t commanded Prophet Ibrahim a.s to slaughter his son, he knew that it was an order that had to be fulfilled. This was, however, a demanding test from Allah s.w.t. After getting permission from his son, he was ready to perform what was asked of him.

At that point of time, Prophet Ismail a.s was Prophet Ibrahim’s only son. He was his only hope for the continuation of his generation. Certainly, Prophet Ibrahim a.s loved his son dearly and would not do anything to harm him. One can only imagine how difficult and heartbreaking it would be to sacrifice his one and only son.

However, due to his unwavering devotion towards Allah s.w.t, and the need to comply with Allah’s command, he was willing to slaughter his son. He sacrificed his feelings and hope for the sake of Allah s.w.t. He displayed utmost devotion and submissiveness towards Allah s.w.t by prioritizing Allah’s command over his emotion.

As a result, Allah gave Prophet Ibrahim a.s. a high recognition of being a muhsin (good-doer) and mukmin (faithful). He was given the privilege of bearing a legacy for all Muslims and promised peace for his devotion.

This serves as an important lesson to all of us. Korban is an example of ‘sacrificing’ an animal and our wealth for the benefit of others. On a general level, we tend to be inclined to our worldly possessions and affairs and find it difficult to lose them. However, if it is for the sake of Allah s.w.t, it acts as an investment for the hereafter. Thus, the true meaning of Qurban is not limited to sacrificing an animal, but to also occasionally sacrifice our worldly needs and possessions for the sake of Allah s.w.t.

Performing korban should remind all of us of this. After all, only Allah knows what is best for us; to rely on Him and do things for the sake of Him will only bring benefit to us.

In summary, in commemorating the event that happened between Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail a.s, we should also strive to understand that particular story from a different lens to view Korban from another perspective. The importance of including our children in decision making, the importance of good and virtuous upbringing of children from an early age, and the importance of understanding the real meaning of Korban are some of the lessons we can derive from the story.

Masjid Maarof Admin

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