Thursday, 18 July 2024
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Obedience & Sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim's Family (Text)

Click here to listen to this Friday Speech: Obedience & Sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim's Family

Brothers and Sisters, as you know, we are in the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, the month in which millions of Muslims from around the world visit the Holy lands of Makkah and Madinah to fulfil their Hajj. And as we stand here today, with millions of our brothers and sisters in Islam there now preparing to begin performing the acts of Hajj this coming Monday, InshaAllah we will revisit the story of Prophet Ibrahim, Lady Hajar, and their son, Ismaa^eel.

Prophet Ibraheem left Haajar and their baby son Ismaa^eel in a place which is present-day Makkah. When he left her and was leaving, Haajar said to him, “where are you leaving us in this area where there are no humans, nothing, just an empty valley?” He did not respond to her and he continued walking forward. She went after him and asked him: “aallaahu amaraka bi haadhaa?”, which means: “did Allah order you to do this?” He said, “yes”. She said, “then Allah will not let us down, we will obey”. Thus Prophet Ibraheem continued to depart and Haajar stayed with her baby son Ismaa^eel. They had a container of water and she drank from this and continued to nurse her child. Until eventually the water ran out and then she and her son Ismaa^eel felt thirsty. She then went in the search of water, she moved to one side of the valley ascending a mount called As-Safaa.

She climbed to the top of this and looked around to see if there were any people around who could help them, but she could not find anyone. So she went back down and she went to the other side of the valley and up another mount called Marwah. She climbed to the top of this and looked around to see if there were any people there who could help and she could not find anyone to do so. She then went back to the previous area and climbed once again the mount of As-Safaa and looked again, she went backwards and forwards like this 7 times. This is why the pilgrims amongst their actions of hajj that they perform, they go between these two mounts, As-Safaa and Al-Marwah 7 times.

After she did this, an angel came and hit the ground, i.e. the soil with his wing and as a result, water started to come out from the ground. Haajar immediately went to that place and tried to contain the water so that the water doesn’t spread and just sink back into the ground. So, she started then scooping water and placing it in her container and this water as you know is still running until today; it is the blessed water of ZamZam. Haajar stayed there for a time, drinking from this water and giving it to her child. Then after some time a group from a tribe called Jurhum were passing by this area and they asked: would you permit us to use from this water? She said, yes, but you have no right to take control of the water. These people then settled there for a long time.

Ismaa^eel learned the Arabic language from them and they liked him, seeing him growing up as a young man with good attributes that a Prophet has, they then gave one of their women to him in marriage. During this period Prophet Ibraheem did not just desert his family, Haajar and Ismaa^eel, just forgetting them. Rather he used to visit them on a daily basis. He used to come from the area of Ash-shaam of that time to the area which is now called Makkah to visit Haajar and his son Ismaa^eel. He would do this by riding the animal called al-Buraaq, the same animal that Prophet Muhammad rode during his journey known as Al-Israa and Al-Mi^raaj. Prophet Ibraheem would leave early in the morning from Ash-Shaam and go to Makkah and stay there until late afternoon and then go back to his other family, Saarah and Ishaaq. Prophet Ibraheem undertook this trip from since Ismaa^eel was a baby.

When the time came that Ismaa^eel grew up to around the age of 13 years old, Allah tested Prophet Ibraheem. Allah willed to show how obedient Prophet Ibraheem was, how honourable, good and righteous he was. Allah then made Prophet Ibraheem see in his dream that he was slaughtering his dear son Ismaa^eel. We know one way that Prophets can receive the revelation is by way of the dream. Thus Prophet Ibraheem knew immediately that he was obligated to fulfil this order of Allah.

Hence, one day he said to Ismaa^eel: O son bring some rope and a knife and let’s go to a particular area. Ismaa^eel like an obedient son went and got what his father said and went with him. Prophet Ibraheem did not tell his son Ismaa^eel what he had been ordered to do. Whilst they were going, the devil came to Prophet Ibraheem and tried to change his mind from carrying out the order of Allah. Prophet Ibraheem did not waste any time listening to what the devil had to say. Hence, Prophet Ibraheem took some pebbles from the ground and threw them at Iblees. This is why the pilgrims during the hajj throw pebbles at the three stations to remember the act of Prophet Ibraheem, thus saying to the devil, if you were to appear to us like this we would throw these pebbles at you and follow the orders of Allah. Hence, the devil does not live at those three stations where the people throw the pebbles.

When Iblees gave up trying to convince Prophet Ibraheem, he then turned his attention to Ismaa^eel. Ismaa^eel was walking behind his father and so the devil said to him, “O boy, do you know where your father is taking you?” He said, “Yes, he is taking us to go collect some firewood for the family”. The devil said, “no, he is taking you to slaughter you; he claims that his God ordered him to do that”. Ismaa^eel responded, “If God ordered him to do that then we would obey Allah and do it”. When the devil failed to convince Ismaa^eel he went to his mother, Haajar who was back at home. The devil asked her, “Do you know where Ibraheem is?” She said “he took Ismaa^eel out”. He said, “Do you know why he went there?” She said, “Yes, to get logs, firewood for the family”. He said, “no, he took him to slaughter him; he claims that his God ordered him to do that”. She said, “Well then, we will obey the order of Allah, so let him do it”. Thus the devil failed to convince Ibraheem, Ismaa^eel, and Haajar to leave out the order of Allah.

Prophet Ibraheem then got to a point and he told his son, O my son, Allah has ordered me to slaughter you. As we are told in Surat AsSaffat:

{قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنّـِى أَرَى فِى الْمَنَامِ أَنّـِي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنْ الصَّابِرِينَ}

It means: Ismaa^eel said, if Allah has ordered you to slaughter me, then O father do it. You will find me amongst those who are patient in carrying out the orders of Allah. Ismaa^eel then said, “however, O my father make sure that you tie me well, so that when I see the knife I will not get scared and move a lot and when the knife cuts my neck I will not kick out a lot such that my blood would stain your clothes”. “So O my father tie me well and do not lay me down on my side, for like this you will see my face and it will be harder for you, lay me down with my face down so like this you won’t see my face and also I won’t see the knife and get scared. Then if you want take my clothes to my mother, so that she will be consoled with my clothes after losing me.”

Prophet Ibraheem ^alayhis salam then said, “how good a helper you are my son for carrying out the orders of Allah.” Prophet Ibraheem ^alayhis salam then laid his son down and was ready to slaughter his son Ismaa^eel, then an angel came down and said, “O Ibraheem, you have carried out the order of Allah, now instead of your son, slaughter this ram as a sacrifice”. It has been mentioned that this ram had been grazing in paradise for 40 years and then it was brought down as a sacrifice, dhabeehah. This ram was very healthy with two horns and Ibraheem ^alayhis salam slaughtered it in Minaa where the pilgrims usually do their slaughtering nowadays as their `ud-hiyyah.

From this story of Prophet Ibraheem ^alayhis salam and his family we can learn many lessons, among them being that they were very quick to fulfil the orders of Allah. They did not say to themselves, let’s make a committee and decide about obeying the order of Allah, what they said is that this is an order from Allah, it is an obligation, we have to do it, so this is how they did it. Also they did not allow the enemy, Shaytaan to divide the family, to go in between the members of the family enticing them against each other, especially against the head of the family, Ibraheem ^alayhis salam.

InshaAllah, brothers and sisters, the Day of Arafah will be this upcoming Monday, the 15th. It is an emphasized Sunnah to fast this day and the one who fasts this day will have the small sins of the previous year and the upcoming year forgiven InshaAllah. The day after it, (Tuesday the 16th) will be the day of Eid AlAd7a. Please join us in celebration.

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