Eid al-adha has begun and will last until Thursday. The most holy of our two holidays in which we remember one of the main trials of Ibrahim’s life — to obey Allah by the sacrifice of his son, Ismail.
Every year this holiday comes and every year I find it very difficult to relate to that level of iman. It’s too incredible for my little brain. The fact is that I just don’t hear about things like that happening nowadays.
If you take a moment and really imagine the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice as more than just a story you read about, but as what it is — a real historical event — you’ll know what I mean.
What if you heard about an incident with a neighbor who was a good man. A man who was very pious and God-fearing and you hear about what happened with his son who was also very pious and good. You hear that one day he had a dream in which God told him to sacrifice his son to show his faith. Right when he’s about to slit his son’s throat, at the eleventh hour, a miracle happens and he sees that his son has been replaced by a dead ram and that his son is unharmed.
It’s different when you hear it like that, isn’t it? That kind of faith doesn’t exist in everyone or everywhere. I wish I could say that I would do the same if I was in his position. But honestly, I most likely won’t. I don’t know anyone who would either. But that’s why we remember it every year since about 1700 BC.
It was an incredible leap of faith that continues to baffle, awe, and inspire generations of people. It never gets old and it never gets topped.
It makes me look at all of the things I’ve wanted to improve in myself in order to get closer to Allah. One of the most difficult and enduring of which is to memorize the Qur’an. Ever since I converted I’ve had the thought of memorizing this great book gnawing at my brain. Is it the voice of God telling me to do it? I’m guessing not. Most likely it’s just my habit of setting high expectations for myself that is making me want to do this, but still, maybe those thoughts that challenge us to improve and test our strength are the ones we need to listen to.
Just like Ibrahim who listened to a dream he had, maybe we need to listen to our dreams and have some faith in God for everything to work out for us.