Today is the third or last day of Eidul Hajj or Adha. Some people call it the Tasyriq , the days when traditionally Meccans and Pilgrims were celebrating the succeful end to Hajj and the dwellers drying the meat of the animals slaughtered. The Hajj season is about to be over.
We slaughtered a goat on the first day. I am careful not to use the word SACRIFICE or Qurban. Instead the word QARIB which means be CLOSE is abundantly used. It was a time to be close to God , the sharing and the gathering to strengthen kinship and friendship.
Today I spent time to revisit the Quran on the subject of Prophet Abraham Slaughter of his son Ishmael. Surah 37 the Ranks was my focu, in particular verse 107 “وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ” Wafadaynahu bithibhin AAdzeemin
There are three words FADIYANAHU, BIDZIBEEN and AAdzeem.
I spent a considerable amount of time studying the word ADZEEM. It has been translated as GREAT, the superlative of goodness. On further research Adzeem as an adjective, I discovered that unlike English ADZEEM is also used to accompany the BAD and the negatives. The word ADZEEM appears 128 times in the Quran, acompanying the good and the bad attributes. Here are my findings
Mailan azeem – terrible deviation
Ghafuriul azeem – great attainment
Ajrun azeem – grEat reward
Azabun azeem – terrible punishment
Faadlun azeem- great bounty
Aalial azeem / most high
Rabkum azeem – Terrible/ great trial
Arash azeem great throne
Kaidakun azeem – great plan
Quran azeem – great kitab
Kaulla azeem – grave saying
Buhtanul azeem – grave fitnah
Kalsauudu azeem – towering mountain
Yauminazeem – terrible day
Hodzin azeem – great fortune
Zulmun azeem – a terrible / great injustice
Karbil azeem terrible affliction
Nabwan azeem great news
Hoddin azeem great portion
Koriatinil azeem great cities
Hinsil azeem great/terrible violation
Robukal azeem most great
Fod lull Azim possesor of great bounty
Hulukul azeem great character
The term Alial ADZEEM and Robbukal Adzeem are reserved for the Almighty but when used with the negatives GREAT does not become the right translation. Adzeem when accompanying the last DAY becomes THE TERRIBLE DAY, Kaulla Adzeem can mean grave fitna or slander, Rabkuum Adzreem is terrible trial, Azabun Azeem cannot be translated as GREAT punishment but TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT, Karbil adzeem is terrible affliction.
Now let us look at the second word BIDZIBEEN in it root form dhubiḥa (ذُبِحَ) / dhāl bā ḥā (ذ ب ح)
It is also found it 37 :102 when Abraham told Ishmael, I have been commanded to slaughter you
لَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
Falamma balagha maAAahu alssaAAya qala ya bunayya innee ara fee almanami annee athbahuka faonthur matha tara qala ya abati ifAAal ma tu/maru satajidunee in shaa Allahu mina alssabireena
“And when he grew enough to work with him, he said: “My son, I am seeing in a dream that I am sacrificing you. What do you think” He said: “O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, God willing, SOBAR.”
Notice there is no mention of QAF RA BA often translated as Qurban. The key word is SLAUGHTER. The word SLAUGHTER always bring a negative connotation, it is about punishment, it is about the end of life. The end of LIFE is never pleasing nor GREAT. When coupled with adzeem the more apropriate accompanying adjective should be TERRIBLE. In this case someone was about to commit something TRAGIC taking the life of his SON. It was therefore a TRAGIC event.
There was only ONE RIGHT thing to do that is to pay FIDYAH or RANSOM in lieu of that COMMAND to take away Ishmael’s life.
Now the question is WHERE WAS THAT COMMAND FROM?
That evil Command could not come from GOD as it was totally against the COMMAND of GOD not to take life. It could only come from the DEVIL as that is its PRIMARY PURSUIT “The devil promises you poverty and commands you to commit evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and grace. God is Immense, Knowledgeable.” 2:268
Adam made that mistake of listening to the DEVIL. Abraham was also coerced by the DEVIL but Abraham did not immediately succumb to the DEVIL. Instead he submitted to ALLAH. He Surrendered to the Will of ALLAH and by doing that he passed the test of submission.