Id-ul-Adha, or Bakrid, commemorates Hazrat Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail, as epitomised in the Koran.

Ibrahim left his wife Janab-e-Hajira and son Ismail in the wilderness. Hajira faced scarcity of water but miraculously, the fountain Zamzam originated under Ismail’s feet. On his return, Ibrahim found his family happily settled. On the ninth night of Zilhaj when Ibrahim was in Masher-al-Haram along with his wife and son, he dreamt that he was slaughtering his son, Ismail. Ibrahim construed the dream as Allah’s command and told Ismail about it. Ismail, himself a Prophet of Allah, consented and said: “O, my father, do what you are commanded ...” (Saffat: Verse 102). The dawn of 10th Zilhaj saw the strange scene of a father set to slaughter his son. It was a spiritual task beyond human comprehension. Ibrahim made his filial affinity take the back seat, blindfolded himself and got ready to slaughter Ismail as per the wishes of the Maker. However, there was something else in store.

Ibrahim, with eyes swollen and raw from crying, saw his son standing safely. A slaughtered lamb lay on the ground instead. Ibrahim was overwhelmed with joy and thanked Allah, but wondered if his sacrifice had been accepted. Thereupon, Allah said: “O, Ibrahim! You have indeed materialised your dream; surely thus do we reward the doers of good. Most surely this is a manifest trial. And we have ransomed him with great sacrifice. And we perpetuated (praised) him among the later generations.” (Saffat: Verses 104 to 108).

Recalling the sacrifice of Ibrahim brings forth many imageries, impressions and events. On 10th Zilhaj, Muslims perform Qurbani to celebrate the glory of sacrifice of Ibrahim, which is similar to the ritual performed by Hajis. Every Muslim who can afford it is required to sacrifice a disease-free animal according to set norms in Qurbani. Islam requires them to divide the meat into three parts — for the family, for neighbours and the third to be given to the deserving.

Id-ul-Adha tells the youth to emulate Ismail and implicitly obey their parents.

Mir Mazher Hussain