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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The sacrifice

Muslims worldwide participate in The eid-al-adha celebration which takes place after the hajj, which is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The celebration of Eid is based on Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael. God however intervenes and provides a ram for the sacrifice and thus spares Ishmael's life. The story of the sacrifice is found in the Quran, chapter 37, verse 107, "Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said, "O my son son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view (the son) said: O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou wilt find me If Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy.
          So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah) and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice) We called out to him, O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision! thus indeed do we reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.
It is worth noting that the Quran uses the words sacrifice and ransom in this story. Ironically, the Bible uses the very same words to explain the atonement of Christ: For example, "The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28)  Christ our passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7) The point is the words that the Quran uses to describe God providing a sacrifice for Ishmael, are the same words used to describe Christ's death on the cross.
God has provided the ultimate sacrifice by sending Jesus from heaven to ransom us from spiritual death and lay down his life as a holy sacrifice .Christ's sacrifice on the cross removes all of our guilt and cleanses us from all sin. If God can intervene by providing a sacrifice and sparing the life of Ishmael, one person, what then would prevent him from providing a sacrifice to save the entire human race.
            This is exactly what God did in sending Jesus from heaven. "This is real love-not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
                                                                                                      (1 John 4:10)