Submission – The Lesson / Purpose of Qurbani

A Muslim Submits

Islam is submission. As Muslims we submit, surrender and hand over ourselves to the Divine command of Allah Ta‘ala and the perfect Sunnah of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). In our Imaan, we submit and surrender our intelligence and understanding to believe in Allah Ta‘ala and in the unseen, as explained to us by Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

In our Salaah, we submit and surrender our physical limbs and place them down before Allah Ta‘ala. In fasting we submit and surrender our desire to eat and drink for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala. In Zakaat and qurbaani we submit and surrender our wealth for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala. In Haj we submit and surrender to the command of Allah Ta‘ala by sacrificing our health, wealth, time and homeland; and we present ourselves in the blessed lands in search of the grace and mercy of Allah Taala.

A Muslim is an embodiment of submission.

The days of Haj are with us. Those who undertake this momentous journey will be constantly reminded of Sayyidina Ebrahim (alaihis salaam), his wife Hajra (alaihas salaam) and his son Ismail (alaihis salaam). The Ka’ba Shareef that the Haji will perform tawaaf of was built by this illustrious father and son. The seven rounds between mount Safa and Marwa is the living reminder of the anxious running at that very pace by Hajra (alaihas salaam) in search of water for her infant son. The precious water of zam zam makes one ponder over the thirst of Ismail (alaihis salaam) and the extreme concern of his mother – until finally this miracle was granted to them. These are but just a few of the reminders of this illustrious family. Nevertheless, one tremendous lesson that shines extra-ordinarily in the lives of these great personalities is the level of their unquestioning submission to the command of Allah Ta’ala. In these blessed days of Haj we should be learning especially this lesson from them and enacting it in our lives.


Consider the command of Allah Ta’ala to Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) to leave his wife and infant child alone in a barren land. No amount of human intelligence can fathom the wisdom behind this command. A solitary innocent woman and an infant child being left alone in a desert without any apparent means of survival is something that seems senseless. Had it been one of our liberal thinkers of today, he would have readily “re-interpreted” this command of Allah Ta’ala. Many would have at least asked: “But why must I do this?” Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) however responded very differently. He responded by doing exactly what he was told. Without any question he leaves his wife and child in the barren land and quietly turns to return. He lived up to his declaration which the Glorious Qur’an has preserved for eternity. Allah Ta’ala says: “And remember the time when your Lord said to him (Ebrahim alaihis salaam) ‘Submit!’ He (Ebrahim alaihis salaam) replied “I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds” (2:131). And indeed he submitted without any hesitation and did what many today would have termed senseless – he left his wife and child in a desert without any apparent means of survival.


As he turns to leave, his wife Hajra (alaihas salaam) asks in utter astonishment: “Are you going to leave us here?” This was the response of a normal human being. Anyone would have been perturbed at being left in a desert totally exposed to the elements. But her question is met with silence from Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) who was commanded not to say anything. His silence in this trying situation was also an act of submission. Hajra (alaihas salaam) repeated the question, but to no avail. She finally rephrases the question and asks: “Is this the command of Allah Ta’ala?” Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) indicates positively. That was all she needed to know. Without any further question she exclaims: “In that case He will not allow us to perish.” Subhanallah. What absolute submission to the command of Allah Ta’ala. No cries of “discrimination” were heard from her – as many women of our times would have done. No question was raised about whether this was “democratic.” There was no clamour for “equality”. No sooner did she come to know that she was being left in that barren place on the command of Allah Ta’ala, she fully submitted to it. No “ifs” and “buts.” No “I cannot understand this” or “it doesn’t make sense.” Nothing of the sort. Only total submission was to be seen.


When Hazrath Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) was commanded to slaughter his son, he again submitted without any question and prepared himself to carry out the task. Consider this command at face value and it seems to be totally illogical. Had it been one of our enlightened modern thinkers of today, he would have certainly asked: “But what did my son do? How can I slaughter an innocent child?” Or, perhaps, he would have just gone ahead and “re-interpreted” the command. But this was Khalilullah, Hazrath Ebrahim (alaihis salaam). He proceeded to carry out the command of Allah Ta’ala without any question. When his son, the young Ismail (alaihis salaam) becomes aware that he is soon to be slaughtered on the command of Allah Ta’ala, he immediately submits and responds: “O my father, do what you have been commanded. You will soon find me to be among the patient” (37:102). No protest. No rebellion. No question. Just total submission to the command of Allah Ta’ala.


We also have claimed to have submitted ourselves to Allah Ta’ala. Islam means “submission.” A “Muslim” is one who submits. The time has come for some sincere soul searching. To what extent have we submitted to the clear commands of Allah Ta’ala and His beloved Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? When Allah Ta’ala has declared: “O you who Believe; fear Allah and forsake what is left of interest (2:278),” do we stop and submit? When the Qur’an-e-Kareem exhorts the Believing men and women to lower their gazes, how do we respond? When Allah Ta’ala commands the women: “And remain firmly within your homes (33:33)” do we see the example of the unquestioning submission of Hajra (alaihas salaam) being implemented? The same question should be asked about the command of Allah Ta’ala to the Believing women to “bring close upon them their jilbaab (hijaab)” (33:55).


When we are informed that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) closed his ears at the sound of music and that he declared: “I have been sent to destroy musical instruments,” do we submit and eradicate all music out of our lives? Or do we just ignore these Ahadith and instead promote music by playing it ourselves in our homes and businesses, by having music on hold on our telephones, by installing musical doorbells, etc? Similarly, what about the injunctions pertaining to all our ibaadat, monetary affairs and social interactions?


The time has come to fully submit to the commands of Allah Ta’ala in the manner that Ebrahim (alaihis salaam) and his family have displayed. No questions about “why this?” and “why that?” No re-interpretations and no waiting to see if it “makes sense” to us. All we need to establish is what the command of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is. Then we merely need to submit to His command.

May Allah Ta’ala make us true Muslims – those who submit totally unto Him. Aameen.

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