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Abraham's sacrifice

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Muslims around the world recently celebrated what is known as Eid al-Adha, which is a religious holiday for the Muslims, to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

The account regarding Abraham and his son is mentioned in the Quran:

"O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)” So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!" So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him "O Abraham! "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial-And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice: And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: Peace and salutation to Abraham!" (37:100-109)

So Abraham had asked God for a son, Abraham was an old man, and had always wanted a son. After Abraham was finally given a son, God tested Abraham, by telling Abraham that he would have to sacrifice his son. Obviously this was a momentous task for Abraham, a major trial set for him, he had always wanted a son, and now that he had finally had a son, God had told him to sacrifice his son.

Ishmael after hearing what his father had told him willingly accepted it, saying if this was what God wanted, then it was his will and had to be done. At the moment of sacrifice, God called out to Abraham, telling him to stop, and that he had already made the sacrifice by showing his willingness to go through with sacrificing his son, and in the place of Ishmael God had granted a lamb to be slaughtered instead.

And so the Eid holiday is to remember this event, and Muslims just like Abraham, slaughter an animal for God.

Some non-Muslims, specifically atheists, often take issue with this account, saying how could God order a father to sacrifice his son, isn’t this something barbaric? But what atheists never seem to follow on, is that God was never really going to allow Abraham to sacrifice his son, he was just testing him.

The son was never going to be sacrificed; it was God’s plan all along to have a lamb sacrificed instead, and to see if Abraham was willing to go through with it in the first place.

Abraham himself was obviously distressed by what he had to do, but God wanted to see Abraham’s faith, and wanted to show the later generations the strong faith Abraham had. This is why the verses also say that this incident involving Abraham would be used as an example for the later generations, so they could see the strong faith Abraham had.

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