To Muslims, he is known as Ibrahim (AS), and to Christians and Jews, he is Abraham. He is the Father of monotheism (believing in one God) and is a patriarch in all three faiths, which are known as the Abrahamic faiths. Ibrahim AS, or Abraham, is mentioned in all three Holy books with stories that illustrate his blind faith in one God.
The Birth of Monotheism
Ibrahim (AS) was the son of an idol maker, Azer. Azer made sculptures for people to worship, which Ibrahim (AS) did not understand and often questioned. After God had spoken to Ibrahim (AS) for the first time and told him to submit to Him, he began his quest to encourage others to do the same. Ibrahim (AS) first challenged his father by questioning the idols he made.
‘When he spoke [thus] unto his father: “O my father! Why dost thou worship something that neither hears nor sees and can be of no avail whatever to thee?’ ~ Surah Maryam 19:42
When this did not work, Ibrahim (AS) decided to demolish the idols. One night, he went to the temple where the idols were kept and destroyed all but one. The people punished him by throwing him into a burning pit of fire. God saved him from the blaze, and Ibrahim (AS) walked away unscarred and continued with his mission.
Testing his Devotion to God
When Ibrahim (AS) reached the age of 75, God commanded him to leave his home with a promise of land and protection, amongst other things. On his journey to the promised land, Ibrahim’s (AS) devotion to the Almighty was tested numerous times. The most known story of his devotion is that of the Holy Sacrifice, where Ibrahim (AS) was ordered to sacrifice his son, Ismail (AS). When God saw that Ibrahim (AS) was willing to sacrifice his beloved son, He replaced Ismail (AS) with a ram. The birth of Ismail (AS) came after his wife, Sarah, offered him a second wife, her slave, Hajar, as Sarah was infertile.
In another trial, When Ibrahim (AS) was with Hajar and their infant son, Ismail (AS), in Mecca, Allah (SWT) told Ibrahim (AS) to leave them and return to Palestine. Ibrahim (AS) left them in a deserted valley with a bag of dates and little water, so when Hajar ran out of food, she ran between the two mountains, Safa and Marwa, looking for water. Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) soon appeared to Hajar, he struck his foot on the ground, and a stream of water burst through. The stream, known as Zamzam, saved Hajar and Israil (AS). But when Ibrahim returned to Mecca years later, Hajar passed away, and Ismail (AS) had grown.
Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) continued spreading the word of Allah (SWT), and together, they built the Ka’aba. Once they had completed their work, Ibrahim (AS) stood on a stone next to the Ka’aba and called on people to submit to Allah (SWT). The same stone can be found today and is known as ‘Makam Ibrahim’. The Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) then came down to Ibrahim (AS) and showed him how to perform Hajj. The first official Hajj was performed by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) many years later.
Remembering Ibrahim (AS)
Today, billions of believers around the world practice his teachings and show their devotion to Allah (SWT) as the Prophet (SAW) once did. In Judaism, the story of the Sacrifice is remembered at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, through rituals like the blowing of a ram’s horn known as Shofar. Christianity gives more importance to Jesus (Isa AS), who often referred to the teachings of Ibrahim (AS) when guiding his people on the right path.
In Islam, Ibrahim (AS) is just as important as any other prophet. He is remembered in all five prayers and plays a crucial role in the rituals of Hajj, a pilgrimage for all Muslims to complete at least once in their lifetime. For example, pilgrims walk seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwa as a reminder of the time when Hajar ran through the hills in search of water. On the third day of Hajj, the festival of the ‘Sacrifice’ known as Eid al-Adha is celebrated to commemorate the Holy Sacrifice and remind Muslims of the Prophets’ loyalty to Allah (SWT).
When the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) performed Hajj, he made two sacrifices, one on behalf of himself and his family and the other for the Ummah. To follow the sunnah, Muslims around the world make a sacrifice, or Qurbani, of an animal on Eid al-Adha that is given to the poor.
When is Eid al-Adha 2023?
In the UK, Qurbani Eid 2023 takes place from Wednesday, 28 June, to Saturday, 1 July. Muslim families all over the world will be gathering to discuss the teaching of Ibrahim and celebrate with friends and family.
You can fulfil your Qurbani in anticipation of Eid al-Adha with Orphans in Need here.