By Zahra Anjum
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
The legacy of Prophet Ibraheem, the Khaleel
He loved his father, he loved his hometown, he loved his wife and son, and yet there was someone he loved more than everyone else: Allah.
Prophet Ibraheem (as) tried to convince his father to believe in Allah, but he adamantly refused. It was this once loving and caring father who willed for him to be burnt alive as a punishment for raising the banner of Tahweed (oneness of Allah). But, the Most Loving saved him….
Nonetheless, Prophet Ibraheem continued his love for his father and kept praying for him until it became evident that he was an enemy of Allah; only then did he disassociate himself from him. Going against his father wasn’t easy at all; however for the sake of Allah – the Most Benevolent, the Ever Loving – it was worth it.
Don’t we all cherish the places that hold our childhood memories? After proclaiming his love for the Most Beloved, it was not possible to live in the town that he adored. He left it, for His sake.
Hajar was the wife who bore him his much anticipated son, and yet for the sake of Allah, he left her in the scorching desert sun. He must have wanted to spend time with her and their son.
And when the son reached an age of physical strength and capabilities, the Most Beloved ordered him to sacrifice him. This test was harder than ever before, but Ibraheem willingly complied. He proved in each phase that he loved Allah more than anything else. Consequently, he was given the special title of Khaleel – the friend of Allah.
“…And Allah took Ibraheem as an intimate friend.” (Surah an-Nisa 4:125)
Allah (swt), who is Ash Shakoor – The Most Appreciative, commemorated his life by keeping his legacy alive among the generations to come, through the annual festivals of Hajj and Eid al-Adha. These days tend to remind the believers: “…But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah…” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:165)
How can I sacrifice?
All of us have a desire to obey and Allah and earn His pleasure. However, other things that we love take precedence and love for Allah takes a backseat. In order to reach goodness and paradise, we must make Allah the first and foremost priority of our lives. This is the essence of Tawheed (monotheism) and the words la ilaha illâ Allah (There is no deity but Allah). This is the lesson we learn from Ibraheem (as).
Sacrifice is the test of love, whether or not we are willing to give up something that we love for someone we love even more. If we love Allah, we can give up anything for His sake. Moreover, if we want to increase our love for Allah, we must practice spending from our beloved for His sake. Allah (swt) mentions in the Qur’an:
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Surah Al- Imran 3:92)
What can I sacrifice?
Sacrifice is not limited to the sacrificial animals of Eid al-Adha. In reality, they are a reminder for us to surrender before Allah and sacrifice everything and anything that comes between us and the obedience and love of our Creator. We all know our personal weaknesses, attachments, and priorities. We can analyze our lives and make a list of everything that needs to be replaced. For instance, someone who cannot wake up for fajr, their sleep is an obstacle that needs to be sacrificed.
Following are some other things we can sacrifice to get closer to Allah and increase our faith:
- Desires – when we start following them relentlessly, they take hold of us and weaken our faith. When you feel compelled to do something that is disliked by Allah, make every effort to squash your desires. The more we squash them, the more we remain in control of ourselves. But, the more we give in, the more they pull us down like a quagmire.
- Habits – some of our habits too become an obstacle in pleasing Allah, for instance, laziness, extravagance, excessive talking, negative thinking, and so on.
- Wealth and belongings – When the Companions heard the aforementioned verse about spending from what they loved, they chose their most prized possessions and gave them in Allah’s way. Similarly, instead of picking from the old and useless items for charity, we should at least once in a while, spend from our beloved possessions in the way of Allah.
- Skills and capabilities – We use our skills and capabilities to gain worldly benefits and build our careers. We can sacrifice some of these abilities to benefit the religion and those around us. One of the ways to do so is by volunteering for charitable and causes that invite others towards Islam.
- Time – When invited to study the Qur’an, or attend gatherings of knowledge, people usually make an excuse by saying they don’t have time. We should always have time for those whom we love, and who can be more beloved than Allah? Analyze the 24 hours of your day and see how much is spent on worldly pursuits and how much for the sake of Allah. Do spend some time remembering Allah, learning His teachings, and pondering over His Book.
May Allah grant us His love such that we can willingly sacrifice ourselves and our wealth in His way. Ameen!
Zahra Anjum is a freelance writer, editor and translator based in Islamabad, Pakistan.
© IIPH 2016