In Surat as-Saafaat XXXVII:101-109, Allah (SWT) says: We gave him (Hadhrat Ibraheem A.S.) the tidings of a son possessing forbearance (hilm).
And when the son (Hadhrat Ismail A.S.) was old enough to walk about with him (some mufassireen have translated sa'ya as to work) (Ibraheem) said : " O my son I have a seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you (for the pleasure of Allah)". He (the son) responded: O my father! Do what you are commanded. If Allah pleases, you will find me of the patient ones."
So when they had both submitted (to Allah), he (Ibraheem) flung him (his son) down upon his face.
We called out to him saying: "O Ibraheem !
You have indeed fulfilled the vision. Surely thus do We reward those who do good deeds
Most surely that was tremendous (manifest) trial !"
Then We ransomed him (Ismail) with a great sacrifice (bidhibhin 'azeem).
And we shifted (this blessing) on him (who is from) among the generations (to come) in later times.
Peace be upon Ibraheem ! The above ayaah paint the picture of a father and son. The father was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his beloved son. The son willingly accepted to be the sacrifice for the pleasure of Allah. By Allah's Grace the son is saved. Allah says the dhibhin 'azeem will come from the later generations. This was a test of obedience to Allah's command. Ibraheem dearly loved Ismail, but he loved Allah more. He agrees to sacrifice his son for the pleasure of Allah. Ismail is a youth with a whole life time ahead of him. Yet not only he agrees to be the sacrifice but also assures his father that he will, inshallah, find him amongst the patient one.
The most poignant statement is that of Allah when He says it was indeed a tremendous trial for the father and the son!
To perpetuate the memory of this test we perform pilgrimage where every ritual is connected with the love which a father and a mother have for their child. Sa'ee reminds us of infant Ismail's thirst and a mother's frantic search for water to quench the baby's thirst. The journey to Meena with a halt at Arafah retraces the journey undertaken by the father and son to fulfill Allah's command.
Where are there any circumstances to call for such a sacrifice ? One can find no reference to it. Was it recorded by any historian ? No, Allah recorded it and reminds the Muslims of the events year after year during the pilgrimage.
Over three thousand years later, on the 10th of Muharram in 61 Hijrah, history witnessed the situation re-enacted on the battle-field of Kerbala. Then a sacrifice was called for to protect and save Islam and all its values from being trampled under the unclean feet of Yezid. Wahdaniyyah was at stake ! Prophethood was at stake ! Justice was at stake ! The belief of accountability on the Day of Judgement was at stake !
Miles away from Mecca we once again we see a father and a son. Ali Akber is standing in front of Imam Hussain. He says, "Father, I request for permission to go and fight the enemies of Islam." Imam looks at his son lovingly. He says, "Akber, you have my permission. May Allah be with you! But Akber, you know how much your mother, sisters and aunts love you. Go and say farewell to them." Akber goes into the tent of his mother. Every time he wants to come out of the tent the mother, aunts and sisters pull his cloak and say, "O Akber, How can we live without you!"
Finally Imam Hussain goes in and pleads with all to let Ali Akber go.
Imam helps his son mount the horse. As Akber begins to ride towards the battlefield, he hears foot-steps coming from behind. He looks back and sees his father. He says, "Father, we have said good-bye, why are you walking behind me?" Hussain replies, "My son, had you been a father you would surely have understood how difficult it is for a father to part from his son!!"
After a fierce battle Akber is over-powered by the enemy who rush from all sides. As he falls from his horse, he cries out. "O Father, my last salaams to you!" As he hits the ground a spear which had wounded him and lodged in his chest breaks. The blade remains embedded in Akber’s chest.
When our Imam heard Akber's salaam he looked at Furaat where Abbas lay and said, 'Abbas! Now that this brother of yours needs you most, where have you gone?' With all his strength sapped by the anguish in Akber's voice, Hussain began to walk towards the battle-field.
When Imam Hussain got to where Akber lay he took him in his arms. Akber had his right hand on the chest. He placed his left arm over the shoulder of his father. Hussain said, "Akber, why do you embrace me with one arm only?" Akber would not reply. Hussain tried to move Akber's hand. Akber resisted. Imam gently moved the hand. Then he saw it ! He saw that dreadful blade of spear sticking out of his son's chest. Imam Hussain laid Ali Akber on the ground and sitting on his knees he put both his hands on the blade of the spear. He then looked at Najaf, and cried out, "Father, I too have come to my Khaiber!" He pulled out the blade.
Jibraeel (a) cried out "Marhaba! Marhaba!". Akber took a deep sigh and then lay still!