13th Dul- Hijjah 1442 A.H
(23rd July 2021 C.E)
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH THE MOST BENEFICENT THE MOST MERCIFUL
BEING THE SECOND SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF DHUL-HIJJAH DATED 13TH DHUL-HIJJAH 1442 AH (23RD JULY, 2021 CE)
LESSONS IN SACRIFICE FROM THE SACRIFICIAL ANIMAL AND THE STORY OF IBRAHEEM AND HIS SON, MAY BLESSINGS AND PEACE BE UPON BOTH OF THEM
All Praises belong to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds Who says in his perfect revelation: "There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding. Never was it [i.e., the Qur’ān] a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things and guidance and mercy for a people who believe." (Yusuf: 111). To him belong praises for the blessing of Islam and Eemaan and the good fortune, and that He made us part of the nation of Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except He alone. He has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. May the benediction, peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad and all members of his household and companions.
Thereafter, servants of Allah! Fear Allah and know that Allah Ta’alah has not laid down any law or made anything Shari’ah except for a wisdom and an admonition from which lesson can be derived for those who have a (living) heart or gas been given hearing, and can actually see. The story of the ransoming of the believing humble family is not far from such, that is the family of the pristine prophet, the dear friend of Ar-Rahmaan (Allaah), Ibrahim, and his wife Hajar and his son Ismaeel, upon them be blessings and peace of Allah, who gave everything in the face of adversity, trials and the challenges of life, until Allah made him one nation among the nations. Allah made him for the nation of Muhammad (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) a good example when He says: "There is indeed for you a good example in Ibraheem and those with him" (Al-Mumtahinah: 4). So his good character of redeeming his pledge became a Sunnah to be followed, "…and we left in him (example) for others"
Based on this foundation, the topic of our sermon this week centers on: Lessons in sacrifice from the sacrifice in the story of Ibraheem and his son, peace and blessings be upon both of them.
Servants of Allaah, dear listeners, know, may Allah have mercy on you, that the story of the prophet of Allah, Ibraheem (peace be upon him) brings to light, the greatest sacrifice for us – the sacrifice of the forbearing father, the repentant faithful one, with his son, the one truthful to the pledge, the trustworthy. A sacrifice that if it was requested of the tall, rooted mountains, it would have declined it and sought excuse from it for it, whence he has treaded on the bridge of adversity since he was small. He did not give up and did not weaken even when he asked for good offspring until he reached old age and his hope was almost cut short from having the child, but he continued pleading “Lord, grant me a righteous offspring" to the One Who provides for him. So he was gifted a pure pious son. And he grew until he had reached a mature age, striving hàrd with him and had become worthy of being bequethed with wisdom and prophethood and he (the father) relied on him in important tasks and ìn times of need, then a divine test came seeking from him to make a self-sacrifice of his beloved son and coolness of his eye. And he had no choice but to hurry to tell his son of what he had been commanded to do. And the son had nothing but a good opinion and thought of his father just as the father had only good opinion and thought of his Lord, such that he said: "Father, do what you are commanded, you will find me, in-shaa Allah, as one of those who are patient" (Al-Saaffat: 102).
Brothers in faith listening to me! What sacrifice can be greater than this of a father? Is there a greater sacrifice than for one of us to offer his son as an offer of sacrifice to his Lord? Is there a greater righteousness than for one of us to offer his neck to his father to slaughter him? Are there such generous honourable fathers remaining who could match such sacrifice? Is there any young man remaining who is as righteous on the face of the earth equal to this righteousness? “Indeed, this is the manifest trial” (As-Saffat: 106)
This is the story that no one fully appreciate the weight of the apprehension, solemnity and fear, as no one feels the love except for the one who has been tried with it, and no one feels the bitterness except for the one who has tasted its bitterness.
It reminds us every year of the sacrifice, that the intention is for savouring the essence of the occasion, not the rams, so that we can remain in constant contact with this great objective – The implications of sacrificing what is dearest to one, the implication that the love for Allah, obedience to Him, submission to Him and submission to His judgement are above money/wealth, life, and children, so we do not desire any of them over and above him, as they are all trusts with us. And is there for anyone a virtue in returning the trust to its owner? Yes, if he did it voluntarily and obediently, and not by force and grudgingly.
This is the meaning and implications that we understand from the story, and if the Muslims understood it as it truly should be, and were mindful of death even as they were given the grace of life, they would not have been subjugated by an oppressive tyrant, and an arrogant tyrant would not subjugate them. And the arrogant tyrant would not have trampled on their land. Allaah Ta’alah spoke the truth when he says: "And who would be averse to the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, "Submit," he said, "I have submitted [in Islām]1 to the Lord of the worlds." (Baqarah: 130-131)
Reflections from the story
This is a strange long-standing story. So what is the underlying essence of it? What does the Almighty, the Wise (Allaah) has as the intention behind it? Is it to just recite and read and be blessed with the meaning? Or is it to narrate an incident that occurred in ancient times and whose era has passed? Or is it one of those stories that one marvels at and then forgets?
No, by Allah, it is none of those, but rather, it is a reminder for muslims every year to put forward and offer the most precious of what they have for their Lord.
Firstly: It is a lesson for the believers in sacrificing what is dearest to them, the most precious of money and soul, both for which Allah, the Almighty had a covenant with His servants regarding them that they will have Paradise if they sell them to Him upon request and offer both for a price, when the caller calls for jihad. Allah says: (إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ) “Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise.” (At-Tawbah: 111)
Secondly: The quality of this sacrifice is dearer and more precious to man, as it is a hundred times easier for him to give himself and his money than to give his son, as it is the instinct of mercy that Allah has placed in the hearts of his creatures, both human and animal. We see the animal how it fights in defense of its children until it is killed, it does not hand them over to something that can harm them as long as it has a pulsating sweat and a moving soul. As long as it has pulsating vein, and a breathing soul.
Thirdly: There is something that is a thousand times greater than this as well, which is to present your child with your own hand and not with the hand of someone else without seeing it. It is to take your knife in your right hand and slaughter your child with it, the pleasure of your heart, cutting the pharynx and veins back and forth, until blood flows on your hands and before your face, which stains your body. and your clothes, then you remain after all of that standing on your feet, possessing your consciousness, saying to your Lord: Obedience to you, O Allah, obedience to you, there is no partner for you, obedience to You, obedience to You, and the whole matter is in your hands.
Fourthly: Allah’s mercy is close to the doers of good. Patience from a loyal father and an obedient son, Allah replaced the son with a great ram by calling from above the seven heavens to His friend, saying: “You have fulfilled the vision." Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good.” (Al-Saffat: 105).
Fifthly: Your love for the Creator is above everything, above money, life, and children, and with it man prefers it (love of Allah) above all of the child, the parent and all people, so he attains dignity and the highest rank above all creatures, thus becoming worthy to emulate as an example for others. We want that you serve as an example of sacrifice to be emulated, and to be a good example for your Muslim offsprings. (رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمُّةً مُسْلِمَةً لَكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وتُبْ عَلَيْنَا إنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ) " Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites [of worship] and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of Repentance, the Merciful." (Al-Baqarah: 128)
THE SECOND SERMON:
Praise be to Allah Who says, (الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ) “Those who spend their wealth [in Allah's way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve” (Al-Baqarah: 274). May the peace and blessings be upon the best of the messengers, our leader- Muhammad, his household, companions and all their followers in righteousness.
Among the types of sacrifice is sacrifice with wealth as lessons from the lives of our righteous predecessors. This is Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) who sacrificed all his money on every occasion to the dawah of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and he made a great contribution during the Prophet’s migration to Medina. He dedicated all his properties, his sons and servants in its path. He was also given the credit of equipping the Muslim army, freeing the slaves. In Sunan al-Tirmidhi Umar bin Al-Khattab was reported that saying: ‘We were ordered by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to give in charity, and that coincided with a time in which I had some wealth, so I said, "Today I will beat Abu Bakr, if ever I beat him."’ So I came with half of my wealth, and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "What did you leave for your family?" I said: "The like of it." And Abu Bakr came with everything he had, so he said: "O Abu Bakr! What did you leave for your family?" He said: "I left Allah and His Messenger for them." I said: ‘[By Allah] I will never be able to beat him to something.”
Everyone who was brought up in sacrifice, accustomed to it, and adorned with it, has gone a long way in getting rid of the influence of whims and is able to disobey the self that commands evil. Also, a Muslim who is characterized by the act of sacrifice earns reward from Allah, the Almighty and gains His pleasure, then the good pleasure of His servants, so he does not grieve for what he misses and he does not rejoice over what he achieves. In the same way, Allah honors him in his offspring and leaves him with goodness, and the congregation is successful with him.
In every society or nation whose members are characterized by sacrifice and and generosity, there is no doubt that it will be able to achieve its goals, realize its hopes and ambitions, and reach its goal with God’s help.
With it, we in our dear country Nigeria, we resist the enemies, and resent them, and Allah would cast the reverence of our country into the hearts of the enemies, the raiders, the robbers, and the kidnapper, they would not overrun us. There is no salvation, no safety, except by making people accustomed to the character of sacrificing and giving, both leaders and the led, by which they will be saved from hardships and crises, and also from animosity and enmities, preference for others is established, and selfishness is exterminated, and affection spreads, love prevails, and hatred is removed from the community, love, harmony and compassion prevail, and the nation becomes worthy of the mercy of God and His reward in this world and the hereafter.