When the Prophet Muhammed (upon whom be peace) was asked "What is Qurbani?" He answered: "It is the Sunnah of your father Ibrahim, for every hair of the Qurban you will receive a reward from Allah and for every hair in the wool you will receive a reward".
(Ibn Maja and Tirmidhi).
The unforgettable story of a father and a son
Qurbani is traced back to the time of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who was commanded by Allah through a dream to sacrifice his first son, Ismail. But what is the meaning behind Allah’s command and why do we care for it?
The sacrificial ritual commanded by Allah to Muslims to conduct, is virtuous and rewarded by Allah many folds. From Prophet Ibrahim’s bravery, Muslims can learn lessons of trust in God and placing the love of God above the love of creation. Ismail was Prophet Ibrahim’s oldest son and he loved him dearly, and his attachment towards Ismail was far greater than the average attachment of a father to a son, having conceived his first child after waiting over one hundred years.
Prophet Ibrahim was additionally attached to Ismail because of his righteous qualities and his piety, which was demonstrated through his obedience of Allah and his parents. This can be seen when Prophet Ibrahim relayed his dreams to his son:
“So, We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you. So look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.”
(Al-Qur’an 37: 102-103)
At the peak of their relationship, Allah tested Ibrahim with that which he loved the most. Therefore, sacrifice transcends beyond the act itself. For Muslims it’s the symbolism behind the sacrifice. Muslims therefore care for the sacrifice, not only because of the reward aspect of Qurbani, where ‘for every hair of the Qurbani you will receive a reward from Allah’, but it is also a time for Muslims to reflect on their personal lives and their relationship with their Creator and their faith.