In Islam, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is considered to be one of the greatest men in the history of humanity. Referred to as Abraham in other monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Judaism, he is considered by many as the father of the prophets. It is to his lineage that some of the most prominent prophets mentioned to us in the Qur’an, the Bible and the Torah belong. In the Islamic faith, this includes the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The story of his sacrifice has carried across millennia and the example of his unwavering faith in Allah (SWT) continues to inspire Muslims of each generation. 

As we approach another Eid al-Adha, Muslims reflect on the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and its important message. 

Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his sacrifice

The story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his sacrifice begins with his journey to Allah (SWT).

Ibrahim (AS) was born in Babylon, present-day Iraq. Ibrahim’s community practised paganism and the worship of idols, and his father was a principle sculptor and crafter of idols.

With little regard for the idols throughout his childhood, Ibrahim eventually grew to disbelieve in the worship of the idols in his community entirely. He questioned how idols made from wood and stone, crafted by human beings like his father, could be the Gods of the people – providing no benefit or harm. 

Ibrahim (AS) continued to reflect, observing the sky and the natural world around him. Eventually, he submitted in his heart to “the Lord of the universe”, who he had decided could be the only creator of this incredible world.

This act of submission was the first of many that Ibrahim (AS) would make with his newfound conviction in the one Lord of the universe. Inspired by Allah (SWT) to call the people to the truth in his community, Ibrahim (AS) faced many tribulations as a result, including being thrown into a raging fire by his own father. Still, throughout all of these tests, Ibrahim never wavered from his faith and submission to Allah (SWT), the one God. 

After leaving the fire unscathed, many were amazed at the miracle but continued to doubt.

Years later, Ibrahim (AS) who was established in his mission and his family who also faced trials of their own in the way of their devotion to Allah (SWT), had a dream that Allah (SWT) had instructed him to sacrifice his only son, Ismail (AS). 

Difficult as it was, Ibrahim (AS) yet again submitted to the will of Allah (SWT), recognising this as a test of his faith in this phase of his prophethood. He asked Ismail to travel with him to Mount Arafat to perform the sacrifice.

Ibrahim (AS) told his son, Ismail of his dream, and Ismail, who later became a prophet himself, had an equally unwavering faith in Allah (SWT) and submitted himself.

Just as Ibrahim was about to perform the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) intervened saying, “O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the vision and now you will be rewarded!” Allah (SWT) sent a ram to Ibrahim (AS) to be sacrificed instead of Ismail.

“And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice” (Quran 37:107)

Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice is something that Muslims remember every Eid al-Adha during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah, when Muslims from all over the world offer an animal (usually a goat, sheep, cow or camel) for the sake of Allah (SWT).

By giving Qurbani, we follow the same footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and remember his devotion to Allah (SWT), with an additional obligation to the poor. Performing the sacrifice for the sake of Allah (SWT) requires Muslims to reflect and approach the sacrifice with sincere intention like Ibrahim (AS). According to the majority of the scholars it is recommended to refrain from cutting the hair, nails or skin and according to the Hanbali madhab it is obligatory, before making the sacrifice in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

With this sacred act of sacrifice, Muslims reflect on the many significant messages of this story and beyond, including our duty to those who are struggling, the sanctity of Allah (SWT)’s creation and the world around us.

This Eid, remember the millions of people across the globe who are struggling with poverty through the holy month of Dhul Hijjah. Offer your sacrifice with Islamic Relief to help feed families this Eid al-Adha.

Donate Qurbani and make your sacrifice today.

scholar verified badge islamic relief

We ensure our content is reviewed and verified by qualified scholars to provide you with the most accurate information. This webpage was last reviewed by Sheikh Saalim Al-Azhari.

Page last reviewed: 9 June 2022

Next review due: Within 12 months

© Copyright 2022 Islamic Relief Worldwide, Inc. All rights reserved. Registered Charity No. 328158

Quick Donate