"i should have known we would have no luck finding a taxi this morning."
gloria and i chuckled with each other as we found ourselves walking ALL the way to church (which is really not that far) and admiring the numerous sheep that were being slaughtered right before our eyes on both sides of the street. no i promise thats not a typical sunday in bamako. however, today is a Muslim holiday. tabaski.
on this day of 'sacrifice', men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform prayer in a large congregation in an open field or mosque. Those Muslims who can afford, sacrifice a sheep as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son.
According to Islamic tradition, one of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of God to devote his dearest possession, his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God’s will. During this preparation, Satan tempted Abraham and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out God's commandment, but he drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him.
When Ishmael was about thirteen, God decided to test their faith in public. Abraham had a recurring dream, in which God was commanding him to offer his son as a sacrifice, which God had granted him after many years of deep prayer. Abraham knew that the dreams of the prophets were divinely inspired, and one of the ways in which God communicated with his prophets. When the intent of the dreams became clear to him, Abraham decided to fulfill God's command and offer Ishmael for sacrifice.
Although Abraham was ready to sacrifice his dearest for Allah's sake, he could not just go and drag his son to the place of sacrifice without his consent. Ishmael had to be consulted as to whether he was willing to give up his life as fulfillment to God's command. This consultation would be a major test of Ishmael's maturity in faith, love and commitment for Allah, willingness to obey his father and sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah. Abraham presented the matter to his son and asked for his opinion about the dreams of slaughtering him. Ishmael did not show any hesitation or reservation even for a moment. He said, "Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha'Allah (God willing), to be very patient." When both father and son had shown their perfect obedience to Allah and they had practically demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice their most precious possessions for His sake — Abraham by laying down his son for sacrifice and Ishmael by lying patiently under the knife – Allah called out to them stating that his sincere intentions had been accepted, and that he need not carry out the killing of Ishmael. Instead, Abraham was told to replace his son with a ram to sacrifice instead.
According to the Biblical story, Abraham sets out to obey God's command without questioning but does not state in front of isaac that he is the intended sacrifice. After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying, "now i know you fear God." At this point Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bush and sacrifices the ram in Isaac's place.
obviously, we see the differences in the story pulled from the Qur'an and the one taken from the Bible.
Abraham never believed God wold take a human sacrifice. It just wasn’t consistent with His nature.. And even if God let the knife touch Isaac- I truly believe God would have resurrected him.
Our (Christian perspective) God is a God of love and compassion. Whereas in Islam they can't even gather any sort of proof that Allah even cares for them, much less love them.
to the Muslim: Tabaski is there time for forgiveness-
but for the Christian this story is a sign and reminder of obedience. [hebrews 9.26]
to the Muslim- this annual event gives them
some sort of hope that one day they will have relationship with Allah.
for the Christian: God has already sent the only sacrifice, Jesus the only human in all history who has ever been asked to be a sacrifice and shed blood for forgiveness, that now brings us into relationship with God.
i know this blog was long, but i felt it necessary not only to provide interesting and factual information about our muslim neighbors, but also to serve as a reminder of the One who did shed His blood for us. & in that we are free. yes, we as christians still sacrifice on a certain level our lives to God, but it is no where near or on any level of that of what Christ Jesus did for all mankind. because of his ultimate sacrifice we can now be in relationship with our Creator, just as He intended it to be from the very beginning.
His is the only blood that brings freedom from all sins.