Islam teaches us to submit completely and whole-heartedly. "O you who believe! Enter into Islam completely, whole-heartedly..."
It also calls for a submission that is spontaneous and conscientious, without any hesitation or resistance against the will and guidance of God. "But no, by your Rabb, they can have no (real) faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction."
There is great - truly great - news from God. "Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures, their reward is with God: Gardens of Eternity, beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein forever; God is well pleased with them, and they with Him: All this for such as fear their Rabb (the cherisher and sustainer)."
Eid al-Adha is a great and unique occasion of joy and celebration. Ironically, this joy and celebration revolve around sacrifice. It would probably make sense to only those who understand that the joy of giving that touches others' lives is far greater and deeper than the joy of receiving.
This great occasion of Eid al-Ad'ha is tied to an unique event, the Hajj; a unique city, Makkah; and a unique family, the family of Ibrahim
(peace be upon him). Indeed, what the
Quran refers to the Milla of Ibrahim is essentially rooted in the legacy of a model family. Say: "God speaks the Truth: follow the
of Ibrahim, the True in Faith; he was not of the Pagans." (Quran
We cannot discuss Eid al-Ad'ha without remembering Ibrahim, who represents in the
Quran an ideal submission. He never hesitated to respond to the call and command of his Rabb (the Creator, the Sustainer and the Evolver). He never considered anything too precious to be withheld when it came to fulfilling the wish of his Rabb. Everything he
did was commanded by God, and was fulfilled by him conscientiously with honor and nobility. We are all too familiar with the story of his unwavering faith and conviction, and his supreme sacrifice as embodied in the event when he was ready to sacrifice his dear and only son to fulfill the wish of his Rabb. "Behold! his Rabb (Lord) said to him:
"Bow (submit your will to Me): He said: "I bow (submit my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe."
2:131) We know, of course, God
didn't really want him to slaughter his son, he just wanted to see if Ibrahim was ready to submit
and unconditionally. No loving God would have exacted such a sacrifice of
one's own child in reality.
Another member of this ideal family was the first son of Ibrahim, Ismail. The Quran
presents him as like father like son. "... (Abraham) he said: 'O my son! I see in vision that I offer you in sacrifice: Now see what is your
view!' (The son) said: 'O my father! Do as you are commanded: You will find me, if God so wills, one
practicing patience and constancy!" (Quran
In his submission to the will of his Rabb, Ismail was no less ideal. He submitted to the will of God whole-heartedly and with a heart full of peace and tranquility. Once again, there are very few among us who are not already familiar with the role and position of Ismail in the heritage of
Tawheed and the eternal truth.
Going beyond the customary commemoration of the stories of Ibrahim and Ismail, I want to focus here on the
not-so-mentioned legacy of a great woman, Mother Hajar (Radhiallahu
May Allah be pleased with her) the wife of Ibrahim
and the mother of Ismail . Indeed, she is an integral and as important part of the legacy of Tawheed and the
Milla (community) of Ibrahim. Her submission to the will of her Rabb and her sacrifice were as ideal as that of Ibrahim and Ismail. God has ennobled her in the
Quran by making Safaa and Marwah integral to the performance of Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the two hills between which she ran back and forth in search of water for her beloved infant son, while she was all alone according to the plan of God Himself. "Behold! Safaa and Marwah are among the symbols of God. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeys his own impulse to Good, be sure that God is He Who recognizes and knows."
If the readers
have not read already, I invite them to read the Hadith containing details of
her story in Sahih al-Bukhari (Vol. 4,
#583, Book of Ambiya or Prophets).
Mother Hajar was not just a wife of Ibrahim, but she was deeply loved by him. But, once again, to fulfill the wish of God, he brought Mother
Hajar and their beloved infant son, Ismail, to this abandoned, desolate, barren valley of Makkah. There was no such inhabited place called Makkah at that time.
As Ibrahim brought Mother Hajar and Ismail to that barren, rugged valley, she asks (as in the Hadith):
'O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is neither any person nor anything else (to
survive)?' She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him,
'Has God instructed you to do so?' He replied, 'Yes.'...
That was enough for Mother Hajar. Now she knew that it was according to the Divine Will. With the same nobility and dignity of faith as it ran in that family, "She said,
'Then God will not neglect us.' (In another version): 'I am pleased to be (left) with
left and she was alone with her infant. Makkah was not an inhabited place yet. Food and water that
Ibrahim provided them with were consumed by the mother and baby. Desperately, she started searching for water running back and forth through the valley between the hills of Safaa and Marwah.
Surly Allah would not abandon the family of Ibrahim and so, she was visited by
the arch-angel Jibril .
This is an significant point to ponder: What kind of person is visited individually by Jibril?
Water, in the form of an ever flowing spring, the Zamzam, was made available to them by direct intervention of God. Right during that time, the tribe of Jurhum, passing by the valley saw birds flying. Realizing that water must be available, they searched and discovered Mother
Hajar and Ismail. They sought permission to settle there. Thus, the desolate valley of Makkah became an inhabited area.
Ibrahim returned there much later and laid the foundation of Ka'ba. Makkah ultimately was to emerge as a
city and as the perennial heartland of Tawheed, the belief in oneness of God.
Subhanallah, God is glorified. He took such a significant and noble service from a woman. But consider another aspect. What kind of situation Mother
Hajar was placed into? In that desolate, uninhabited valley, what might have been going on in her mind?
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