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Muslims as Men and Women of Faith: Trust Allah

Islam is not just something we do.

It informs every action and every decision we make, from getting up in the morning, to eating our meals, even to our relationships with our husband or wife.

Islam is a complete way of life.

Similarly, the actions we perform as Muslims and the two feasts we celebrate help us to live our lives. Praying five times a day, for example, does not stop at doing five actions each day. Our daily prayer affects the whole of our day, making it holy as we live in the presence of God and are reminded constantly of Him.

So it is that we now prepare to celebrate the feast of sacrifice, Eid ul-Adha, which comes at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. But, as with the other feast we celebrate as Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr, this feast is not just something we do for a couple of days and then forget about until it comes around next year. Eid ul-Adha has something to teach us every day. It is a gift that helps us to be Muslims and we should reflect on it not just now, but throughout the year.

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Like all the actions of the Hajj (pilgrimage), Eid ul-Adha is completely related to the journey and sacrifice of Ibrahim (peace be upon him), the one Christians and Jews call Abraham. Truly a man of faith, the beloved of God, Ibrahim teaches us to trust in God, no matter what befalls us. This is the very essence of Islam.

As Muslims we “submit” to God. This does not just mean giving mental assent to a formula, or mouthing words so many times a day. Even less does it mean just dressing up in Arab clothes and forgetting the poor in our midst.

Submission to God means exactly that. In all things we surrender to His Will, rather than doing our own. The very image of Islam is someone prostrating on the ground, his forehead touching the earth, admitting that we cannot do anything without the help of God. All our efforts will come to naught without Him.

Prophet Ibrahim is a true example to us of one who submitted to God’s Will. There are many events from his life that teach us this, but we will look at just two of them.

Pilgrims in the Footsteps of Abraham

As the pilgrims come from all over the world to perform Hajj, as those who are able are commanded to do by God, they are all reciting the words of the Talbiyah, verses dating back to the time of Ibrahim. “Labeyk Allahuma labeyk“, they proclaim:

“I respond to Your call, O Allah. I respond to Your call and I am obedient to Your orders. You have no partner. I respond to Your call. All the praises and the blessings are for You. All the sovereignty is for You. And You have no partners with You.”

These words take us back to the time when Ibrahim and his wife and young son had travelled at God’s command to the desert around Makkah. They were to discover there the ruins of the Ka’bah and Ibrahim and Ismail would later rebuild this first house on earth built in worship of God. But when there was nothing to be seen there at all, Ibrahim showed the strength of his faith. God told him to proclaim the pilgrimage:

{And proclaim the pilgrimage among men; they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean (on account of journeys) through deep and distant highways.} (22:27)

Always ready to do God’s Will, Ibrahim must have paused for at least a brief moment to wonder what this command could mean. All around him was bleak and inhospitable desert. There was not a single soul to be seen. Who, he must have asked himself, must he proclaim this message to? There was no-one to hear him.

Yet he did as he was told, calling out to the wilderness in the north, south, east and west that men and women should come to worship at this place. It was then that something extraordinary happened. From the distance in all four directions he heard these extraordinary words coming back to him: “I respond to your call, O Allah…..I respond to your call,” and vast throngs appeared from every direction to worship at the Ka’bah. It was then that Ibrahim, the Intimate Friend of God, asked for the rituals of the pilgrimage to be revealed to him and they were explained to him by Jibreel.

This is the first event we look at to teach us how we should trust God’s words, even though we don’t understand and even though they seem to make no sense at all. The other event is known to all people of faith, Christians and Jews included.

Submitting to God’s Will

One day Ibrahim had been told in a dream that he must sacrifice his only son, Ismail, to God. Not knowing why God should want such a thing from him, nevertheless responded to the command of his Lord and set off at once with his young son, telling him they were going hunting.

On their way to a mountain, Ibrahim and Ismail were approached by a man who urged Ibrahim not to carry out God’s Will. Ibrahim threw seven stones at this stranger, who he knew to be Satan in disguise, and the man left. Satan reappeared in a different guise and this time Ismail threw seven stones to make him go.

For a third time, Satan came and whispered to Ibrahim not to carry out his mission. Ibrahim threw another seven stones and Satan disappeared. He then explained to his young son the truth of what was about to happen. The young Ismail replied:

{O my father! Do as thou art commanded. Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills, one of the steadfast.} (37:102)

With grief in his heart, Ibrahim raised a knife to kill his son as a sacrifice to God. The knife pressed against the boy’s flesh but would not cut. He suddenly heard a voice calling out:

{You have fulfilled the dream.} (37:105)

And a ram came down the mountain just at that moment. Ibrahim and Ismail, with joy in their hearts, offered the ram, instead, as a sacrifice to God.

What faith, that a man would be prepared to sacrifice his own son. Again, not understanding what the command could mean and not knowing why God would want such a thing, Ibrahim trusted and acted in faith, knowing that God knew all things.

The Hajj pilgrims have symbolically thrown stones at the devil during their pilgrimage, just as we are all called to drive the devil away, with all his pomps and false promises. Muslims’ sacrifice of a sheep or a goat at Eid ul-Adha reminds them of the time when Ibrahim trusted in God.

If we want to be men and women of faith we need to trust. There are some times in our lives when our faith is sorely tested. It is then that we are called to trust. At other times our faith becomes lukewarm. It is then that we are called to trust. In all things, good and bad, we are asked to give thanks and praise to God, since He knows what is best for us.

And as men and women of faith we take as our own the words of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) every day. Each morning that we wake up anew we should proclaim these words with sincerity and faith. “I respond to Your call, O Allah….I respond to Your call.”

In responding to His call we will truly find peace and happiness in our lives, insha Allah.

About Idris Tawfiq
Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.