The Sacrifice of Isaac: The Aqedah (Genesis 22) and Its Interpretations

By Ed Noort; Eibert Tigchelaar | Go to book overview

IBRĀHĪM'S SACRIFICE OF HIS SON IN THE EARLY
POST-KORANIC TRADITION
F. LeemhuisFor muslims the story of Ibrāhīm willing to sacrifice his son is certainly not just a story. It is part of God's message to the world as contained in the Koran. And from this story lessons are to be learnt for those who understand. Lessons about obedience to God's will and His reward for those who obey Him unquestioningly.Nowadays muslims generally are convinced that the intended victim was Ismāʿīrl, the firstborn son of Ibrāhīm. To sacrifice an animal on the 10th day of the month Dhūl-Hijja, whether it be on pilgrimage in Minā near Mecca or anywhere in the world, is to remember Ibrāhīm's preparedness to sacrifice Ismāʿīl and to repeat the sacrifice of the substitute that was provided to take the place of Ibrāhīm's son. The believers are thus reminded of the lesson to be learnt from the story. The function of the liturgy is to strengthen the faith of the believers.In the Koran the story is referred to in Sūrat al-Ṣāfffāt (37): 100–113. It begins with a prayer of Ibrāhīm:
100. 'My Lord, grant me someone who is righteous'
101. Then We gave him the good news of a gentle boy.
102. When he had reached the age of running[or: working] with him, he said: 'My dear son, I see in my sleep [or: dream] that I shall sacrifice you. So, look, what is your view?' He said: My father, do what you are commanded. You shall find me, if God wills, someone who is steadfast.'
103. When they both had submitted themselves and he had laid him on his forehead,
104. We called to him: 'Ibrhāhīm!'
105. You have confirmed [or: accepted as true] the vision. Thus We reward those who do right.
106. This indeed was the clear trial [or: clearly a trial].

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