My wife and I are among the more than two million Muslims who recently performed the hajj to Makkah. We were reminded there of the sacrifices made by Ibrahim (Abraham), Hajar (Hagar) and Isma`il (Ishmael) (peace be upon them).
Abraham and his family’s trust, reliance and patience with God’s commands inspires Muslims, Christians and Jews even today. The Qur’an tells us, ‘And when his son (Isma`il) was old enough to walk with him, (Abraham) said: ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you as a sacrifice to God, what do you think?’ (Isma`il) said: ‘O Father! Do as you have been commanded, God willing, you will find me to be from the patient ones.’
At the Jamarat, the three stone walls in the tent city of Mina marking the places where shaytan (satan) tried to talk Abraham out of obeying God’s command, we threw seven pebbles at each wall; with each throw, casting away satan, regretting over our disobedience to God and praying for His pardon.
Today, God wants different types of sacrifices from us which we must make with patience and trust in Him.
Abraham prayed to God, ‘O Lord! I have settled my family in a valley with no vegetation, by Your sacred House (the Ka’bah in Makkah); in order that they may offer prayers, so fill people’s hearts with love towards them, and provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.’
Christians celebrate Abraham during Advent. Now they prepare for Christmas and its message of peace.
Dear God, as we celebrate our festivals and remember the sacrifices of Abraham and his family, we pray for strength and courage to obey You and to make sacrifices in the service of humanity, amin.