By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
“When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Abraham said, ‘My son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you think?’ He said, ‘Father, do as you are commanded and, God willing, you will find me steadfast.’ When they had both submitted to God, and he had laid his son down on the side of his face, We called out to him, ‘Abraham, you have fulfilled the dream.’ This is how We reward those who do good ― it was a test to prove [their true characters] ― We ransomed his son with a momentous sacrifice, and We let him be praised by succeeding generations: ‘Peace be upon Abraham!’ This is how We reward those who do good: truly he was one of our faithful servants.”
The Qur’an 37:102-111 (M.A.S. Abdul-Haleem)
“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, Father? Yes, my son? Abraham replied. The fire and wood are here, Isaac said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham answered, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, Abraham! Abraham! Here I am, he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:7-14 (NIV)
The story is familiar to Jews, Christians and Muslims; the prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, was asked by God to make the ultimate sacrifice, his beloved son, though perhaps disagreeing on which son Abraham was asked to surrender, the meaning of this account doesn’t change. Who could make such a sacrifice, when we’d give everything for our children? Abraham dearly loved both his sons and their mothers, he surely would not have wanted to harm either of them in any way or form. To understand this account, we need to look beyond the worldly veils disguising it’s true meaning. Everything that manifests in the physical world begins with an intention, a beginning within a person’s heart.
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