Tuesday, October 15, 2013

(My take on) Abraham's spooky story

(Following post is very unconventional and out of box and may insult your individual belief. Moreover, this is my personal conclusion with note that I am neither a very ritualistic muslim nor a vegetarian).

I think, I was in Grade 2 and 7 years old, when our teacher told us the story of Hazrat Ibrahim and significance of slaughtering of animals on Eid. And I said: "This does not make sense"! (ye to koi baat na hui") - I was punished!

Though all religions are full of mythical tales and are acceptable in context of message within it. But, for decades, I was unable to make peace with Ibrahim's story of taking his own son for slaughtering. It remained spookier than any other story, and a tale of schizophrenia - due to the fact that I got reminder every year on Eid. It took me to various explanations as all Abrahamic religions believed on this tale - either with mention of Ishmael or Isaac as his son. 

My conclusion, which may not coincide with your conventional belief, is following - and it is concluded from Quranic verses (37:75-108) - Which is whole second para/rukuh of said chapter/surah. You need to read the whole thing to get the meaning instead of just concentrating on one verse as conventionally people do (Ayat 102).

This whole chapter talk about prophets calling people to Monotheism (one God). And mention of perpetuating same calling in their generations. In same context All Mighty mention that Abraham asked his fellow citizens to stop praying to idols and called them to one unseen God. As they refused, he prayed for a son who believes on him. And God answered his prayer, gave him a son (no mention of name of son) - and as he grew and become an adult - Abraham mentioned to him his vision. He agreed and put his forehead down!

Stories aside but Quran doesn't mention Abraham even touching any knife. Also, Quran does not speak of any animal replacing his son. Conveniently forgotten is consent of his son while all emphasis go to Ibrahim's dream! My take is that Abraham called his son, as he became an adult, to believe on one unseen God, and he willingly submitted to his belief! I believe, "Zabah" referred to submitting him to One God and purifying him from idols - rather than in literary sense taking him to kill with knife. There is no mention of All Mighty suddenly asking him to sacrifice his son. It is all in context of vision of his callings to One God. Core is in words "Fallama aslama wa tallahu lil jabeen".

Addendum: In other parts of Quran, there is mention of sacrificing animals particularly in reference to Haj but at the end message is "It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him" (22:33-37)

I don't think, sacrificing animal on Eid day is obligated - It would be 100 times more Islamic to spend that money on helping someone. Koi bhi chota sa achha amal Eid ke din Qurbani ki yaad dilane ko kafi hai


Anonymous said...

I don't agree to 'your take'.
But lately i was having this discussion with my closed ones that the ulama should pass a fatwa that there is an option either you do qurbani or the same amount of money should be given to charity. Paisay say bohat se aisay masail hul ho saktay hain jo ghosht say nahi ho saktay. Ajkal ke zamany mai monthly budget se paisay nikal kar charity mai daina bhi qurbani hai.

mystic-soul said...

I agree with you!

bsc said...

My take
Sacrificing of human beings was more commonly known in ancient civilizations. The willingness of Ibraheem AS and of Ismaeel AS for "sacrifice" is important message. Also this marks the end of 'human sacrificing' (which is what makes me difficult to understand the Christian Logic of God sacrificing His own son for all the sins of other human beings)
But Coming back to sacrificing an animal is still good for so many poor people get to eat meat on this day. However spending money to poor people is also good "alternative" and I agree with that suggestion.
BTW sura 37, aya 111 starts with story of the second son and that one IS NAMED in Qur'an as 'Isa-haq' which to me indicates only Ismaeel can be Zabeeh-allah.
Lastly, the message is sacrifice. Can we sacrifice some our bad habits such as arrogance? or whatever else. May Allah bless all of you

Mystic said...


I learned another angle to this story!..Thanks

Feroze Mithiborwala said...

The question that always came to my mind is that what if Allah had not stopped Prophet Abraham from sacrificing his child? Firstly why did Allah even demand a test that was demanding child sacrifice? And why did not Prophet argue with Allah even as other Prophets have in their dialogue with Allah? The age of sacrifice has long ended in other religions who practices similar rituals and the time for it to be discontinued in Islam has also arrived. The world need to build a society of universal love, compassion and peace, not of gore and blood.

mystic-soul said...

Feroz Bhai!

I have been through rollercoaster of all these question

Enjoy the ride :)