Abraham’s sacrifice: Personal Reflection

Abraham’s sacrifice: Personal Reflection

It is the season of islamic pilgrimage. It is the time for the greatest feast of Sacrifice which almost sounds like a name rooted in the most primitive pagan festivities. But, to the contrary, the Islamic feast of Sacrifice is a celebration of the victory of Abrahamic religion of One God over the pagan polytheistic practices. Prophet Abraham is labeled as the father of the new monotheistic faith and he is accepted as such by the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is the celebration of Abraham’s sincere commitment towards His Lord, a commitment which was dramatically expressed through the selfless willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his older and most beloved son. Prophet Abraham was able to withstand the difficult test and still keeps his son who was replaced by a ram as the object of sacrifice. The incident was so powerful that it was narrated in Quran as well as in the Bible. It was transformed into an enduring myth which got implanted in the mass consciousness and was transmitted from generation to generation in the form of pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca where Abraham build the Kaaba, the house of God. Shrouded in a veil of ritualistic practices and animal sacrifices, the story of the father willing to kill his son became distant and mute. It became a special quarrel between the Omnipotent God and His prophet who emerged from this encounter as a Super Being deserving the title of “Companion of God” or “خليل الله”. if the soul goal of the story is to prove the supremacy of Abraham and his closeness to God, then we can all attest to the resounding success. The story of sacrifice defies all rational and ethical boundaries. It leaves the most acute and philosophical intellect utterly exhausted and gasping for air. Interesting enough, the simple religious mind is willing for peaceful acceptance of the story than the intellectual mind. This peaceful resolution and acceptance will render the story more mysterious and foggy. The story becomes a testimony to the power of religious narrative in challenging the human mind and shredding it to pieces without the single regret. By doing so, the secular mind is faced with one question: “Take it or leave it”. And, by leaving the story, the rest of the religious heritage is doomed to the same fate. Beyond the harsh showdown between the sacred and the profane in perceiving the story of the sacrifice, is there a human perspective which places the Abrahamic myth is a more universal setting ?

Regards,
Walid.

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