The Great Sacrifice

The Bible and the Qur’an declares that Prophet Abraham was chosen for a special mission.The Bible states, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (Genesis 12.1-3). The same promise is given in the Qur’an, “Lo: I have appointed thee a leader for mankind” (Al-Baqara 2.124).

All Muslim celebrates the festival of Eid al-Adha. This festival is observed in memory of the sacrifice that Prophet Abraham offered God. In the Qur’an we read, “We gave him tidings of a gentle son. And when his son was old enough to walk with him,Abraham said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee”(Al-Safat 37 100-102).

According to Muslim, this was Ishmael, not Isaac. In fact, the Qur’an does not state whether that son was Ishmael or Isaac. God has put the prophet to the test by asking him to sacrifice his son, “For this was obviously a trial – and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice” (Al-Safat 37:106 -107).

Muslim commentators usually say that this “great sacrifice” refers to the ram that was provided by God to be sacrificed in place of Abraham’s son. But would a ram be a truly great sacrifice in comparison to Abraham’s son? “The great sacrifice”must refer to another sacrifice. This raises a question. Was God pointing forward to a Great Sacrifice in the future?

In fact, the Qur’an does not provide great details of this great story. In contrary, the Bible gives us a detailed record of the story. We read in the Tawrat, Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him,“Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the [a]lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the [b]lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb fora burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham,Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Thent he Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said:“By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,because you have obeyed My voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”(Genesis 22: 1-17)

In the Bible, we see that God’s Messiah, Isa Al-Masih (His Peace be upon us), is the one who has been made the sacrifice and ransom for the whole world. Prophet Yahya said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Injil,John 1.29). He gave Jesus this title to emphasis His role as a sacrifice.

In an incident when Isa Al-Masih (His Peace be upon us), answering the Jews, He said“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8.56). Prophet Abraham looked forward to the coming of Al-Masih to redeem the world as the Great Sacrifice. He is the Redeemer, the one who was foreshadowed in the sacrifice of Isaac.

Abraham foresaw the sacrifice of Isa (His Peace be upon us). Once a year Muslims commemorate the deep, wondrous love of Abraham for God in being willing to sacrifice even his own son out of obedience to God. However, do you know that every day of the year true believers in Jesus remember the deep, magnificent love of God for people, shown through God being willing to spare not even hiso wn Word and the Spirit, known to us as Isa Al-Masih. “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)

More Stories
Zainab’s Story