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By Naseema Mall

The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are a beautiful gift from Allah. It is a time to gain much reward from our Lord, a time to reflect on hardship, sacrifices, perseverance and triumph. It is a time to be grateful for the blessings in our life, and to bear with patience the suffering we endure, all with the knowledge that Allah never leaves us alone, even when we feel alone.

There are no stories related to us by Allah in the Qur’an that were not meant to resonate with us in some way, or at least allow us to delve into deep contemplation and reflection. One such story is that of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his family, who endured severe tribulation. It was their unflinching faith in Allah that saw them through difficult times; obedience to Allah, perseverance and faith.

When the evil, oppressive king, Nimrod, was challenged by Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to cause the sun to rise from the west, the king was livid and called for Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to be put in the fire. However, Allah caused the fire to be cool and safe for His beloved prophet. Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) did not fear being put in the fire, as he knew that his Lord would protect him.

'My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.’  He answered: ‘I give life and cause death.Abraham said: ‘Lo!  God causes the sun to rise in the east, so you cause it to come up from the west.’  Thus was the disbeliever absolutely defeated.  And God guides not wrongdoing folk (Qur’an 2:258)

While the people were taking Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to the fire they had prepared for him, the angel Jibreel appeared to Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and asked him if he wanted anything. The noble Prophet replied that Allah knows his condition and he would only ask Allah! Let us pray that we can have such faith and trust in Allah! In the end, Allah did save His beloved Prophet and He made the fire coolness for him.

This was not the only trial that this noble family endured. Allah had commanded Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to take his wife, Lady Hajar, and their infant son, Isma’il to the barren plains of Makkah, an uninhabited harsh landscape. This was not the desire of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), but a fulfillment of Allah’s command. When he left them in the desert, between the two hills, Safa and Marwa, Lady Hajar asked him, “Has Allah ordered you to do so?” He said, “Yes.” She replied, “Then He will not neglect us.”  May Allah give us faith like that of Lady Hajar!

'O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivated valley by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may perform prayer, so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks (Qur’an 14:37)

And so it was, that when the baby started to cry Lady Hajar desperately ran between Safa and Marwa in search of water, and as her feet bled and she was filled with apprehension and fear, suddenly water sprung from the ground. “Zam Zam,” she shouted, but the water continued to flow, as it does til today.
She had sought help between Safa and Marwa but Allah had provided the help she needed from another place; the place of His choosing. Indeed, she did her best and exerted great efforts to rectify her problem but ultimately she trusted in Allah and He answered her prayers and protected her and her child.

When Isma’il grew older his father returned to Makkah, but before they could settle to be a family, Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was ordered in a dream to sacrifice his son. An immensely painful command to fulfill, but Isma’il reassured his father that he would be patient and obey Allah’s command.

'O my father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah so wills, patient and constant (Qur’an 37:102)

Allah is most Merciful and instead sent a ram to be sacrificed. When we are commanded to obey Allah in something, whether easy or difficult, do we obey as readily as Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), his wife and his son? Do we hesitate? Indeed, this story makes us ask ourselves how much we love Allah. Do we obey Him and obey Him with love?

All these trials and Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience earned him the title of “Khalil ul Allah”.

5000 years later

The story of Prophet Ibrahim has many valuable lessons for us. It teaches and reminds us to obey Allah’s commands and have complete faith and trust in Him. It teaches us to be patient. It teaches us to be grateful for the provisions we have. It teaches us that the comforts of today’s existence are not a substitute for belief in Allah. Today when we go for Hajj and ‘Umrah and we are able to walk between Safa and Marwa with ease, but let us not forget that when Lady Hajar ran she was alone, in agony, and her feet bled. She was desperate to save her child and she never lost hope in Allah’s help.

Let us be reminded by this story that when we are faced with extreme hardship, Allah never leaves us alone. There may be times when we feel a sense of abandonment, but Allah never abandons those who trust in Him.

Every person has his / her test in life. When we look at our world today, it is one ravaged by wars, poverty and injustice. People have to make so many sacrifices just to survive.   

So when you celebrate the day of `Eid ul Adha, remember to be grateful for all the bounties bestowed upon you, and ask Allah for the strength, the courage and the conviction to never give up, and for the guidance to keep to the straight path.  



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