written by Shahirah Elaiza and published in MuzlimBuzz.sg
Prophet Ibrahim & Ismail's Sacrifice
In the story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Ismail (as), we find one of the earliest examples of sacrifice for the sake of pleasing Allah (swt). Prophet Ibrahim (as) is commonly known as the Father of Prophets and his relationship with Allah was so strong that Allah even described him as “an intimate friend” or His “khalil” (Holy Qur’an, 4:125). The intensity of his iman and trust in Allah (swt) is reflected in his willingness to sacrifice his worldly attachments for his Lord. Prophet Ibrahim (as) obeyed Allah’s command to leave his wife, Hajar, and their infant son, Ismail (as), on a barren hill called Al-Marwa. One can imagine how a big a sacrifice it was for Prophet Ibrahim. Not only did he love Hajar dearly but Ismail, who later on became a prophet, was his one and only child at the time. As Prophet Ibrahim walked away from where he left them he raised his hands and said a prayer:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House, in order that they may offer prayers. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.
The beauty of Islam lies in its power to be relevant throughout many centuries, for all time in fact. The lessons embedded in the story of Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail in the Holy Qur’an can be applied even in today’s social settings. They remind us to be cautious with our actions and patient when facing Allah’s trials because sacrifices must be made in order for us to feel a higher level of closeness to our Creator.
Our Sacrifice for the Environment
But for Muslims, Islam is our way of life. From the way we dress to the food we eat, our faith has taught us to spend our wealth and consume what Allah has provided in moderation.
“It is He Who produces gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters.” (Holy Qur’an, 6:141)
collaborative consumption is the revival of a traditional practice. It is a new green consumption trend which promotes the reduction of “throwaway habits” and the idea of temporary ownership by carrying out bartering, sharing, exchanging, lending, swapping, renting and gifting through network technologies. Examples of collaborative consumption in Singapore and Malaysia can be seen in several initiatives and there is something for everybody. A movement called Waste is Not Waste helps businesses and organisations in Asia reduce, reuse and recycle waste. The Singapore-based, MyRideBuddy, is a system which assists like-minded residents of Singapore to carpool or taxipool so they can reduce their carbon footprint and save some money too. Mums-to-be can also take advantage of collaborative consumption by being a part of Maternity Exchange, a retail concept which offers the option of buying or renting maternity wear. There is even something for techies in Singapore who want to benefit from Hackerspace.SG’s space which encourages communal interaction and collaboration between tech enthusiasts.
There is much more to gain from collaborative consumption because this system of consumption, distribution and lifestyle based on sharing fosters trust between people in a modern society that is characterised by individualism and alienation. These are some of the side effects of consumerism – a way of life that is centred on the notion that our worth and identity as human beings are measured by the things we own. With the advent of popular culture, it is not easy to defy this materialist ideology but Islam was sent to advocate that the human value is not measured by one’s physicality or wealth but by one’s good deeds and intentions (Sahih Muslim). Moreover, the concept of sharing is not foreign to Islam because it is considered a form of charity to help not only other people but also any of Allah’s creations on this Earth, which includes animals and the natural environment. After all, sharing is caring.
Like Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Ismail (as), we are faced with a huge test. In our pursuit to entertain our worldly wants, what are we truly sacrificing? In our quest to conquer the consumerist monster within us, perhaps it would help to remind ourselves that the Messenger of Allah (saw) once said, “Paradise is surrounded by hardship and Hell is surrounded by lust.” (Sahih Muslim)