Skip to main content

Submission

Religion
Defiance to a command is the sign of rebellion, and its acceptance a mark of submission.
| Serdar Kilic | Issue 159 (May - Jun 2024)

This article has been viewed 2200 times

Submission

In This Article

  • The life of every single prophet is filled with examples of their utmost submission to the Divine Command. This is seldom more obvious than in the explication of a particular event in the life of Prophet Abraham.
  • The most terrifying trial that one can experience is that of a parent being tested by their beloved child. And this is exactly what lay in wait for Prophet Abraham.
  • The ending of Prophet Abraham’s ordeal was also a perfect reflection of the ending state of the true submissive believer, one that is blessed and exalted by God.

Among the plethora of events and miracles in the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, there is one that was particularly unique. Around a year before the Muslim community’s migration to Medina, the Prophet was taken by a heavenly steed from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from there lifted to the seven heavens. At the end of this journey, he was brought to the direct presence of God, closer than anyone before or after him.

One of the many fruits of this stunning occasion is the revelation of the last two verses of chapter al-Baqarah in the Qur’an. Because they were revealed to the Prophet from God without any intermediary, they are considered to hold a unique degree of importance compared to the rest of the scripture. Just these two verses hold enough meaning for volumes of scholarship; nevertheless, if we wanted to summarize their contents, we could say that they contain a summary of the true nature of a believer.

Among the plethora of events and miracles in the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, there is one that was particularly unique. Around a year before the Muslim community’s migration to Medina, the Prophet was taken by a heavenly steed from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from there lifted to the seven heavens. At the end of this journey, he was brought to the direct presence of God, closer than anyone before or after him.

One of the many fruits of this stunning occasion is the revelation of the last two verses of chapter al-Baqarah in the Qur’an. Because they were revealed to the Prophet from God without any intermediary, they are considered to hold a unique degree of importance compared to the rest of the scripture. Just these two verses hold enough meaning for volumes of scholarship; nevertheless, if we wanted to summarize their contents, we could say that they contain a summary of the true nature of a believer.

Within these descriptions is one that conveys a concept oft-mentioned in the whole Book: submission and obedience. As it announces succinctly: “And the believers say: We hear and We obey” [2:285].

This proclamation perfectly encapsulates the psycho-spiritual state of the believer. When the Divine Command comes, he accepts it unconditionally and applies it entirely. The reality of God’s Lordship is that He has the unqualified right to command his property as He wills; and the reality of our servanthood is that we must obey the Divine Injunction with complete deference.

Defiance to a command is the sign of rebellion, and its acceptance a mark of submission. In our mundane lives, we naturally exhibit this understanding, from the orders of a supervisor to the commands of a national leader. This principle applies just as well to our relationship with God. In whatever we do, failing to meet the standards of morality and obedience to the Divine Law reflects our inner nature. One that does not manifest perfection but is twisted and disfigured into pure monstrousness.

It is for this reason that the prophets, blessings upon them all, are necessarily free of sin or disobedience. Their role as guides and role models for the believers entails that they must themselves be pure examples of what God wants us to be like. The life of every single prophet is filled with examples of their utmost submission to the Divine Command. This is seldom more obvious than in the explication of a particular event in the life of Prophet Abraham.

Prophet Abraham had already gone through many trials throughout his life. In trying to guide his father, he was disowned and hated. In trying to guide his people away from misguidance and idol worship, he was persecuted and thrown into a raging fire. Despite all of that, his resilience and strength in belief had stayed strong. However, his greatest test would only be made clear at a later time.

There are many things that a person values, forming a hierarchy within their mind and heart. Be it money, family, or a loved one, there are a plethora of things that our faith in God can be tested by. Undoubtedly, however, the most terrifying trial that one can experience is that of a parent being tested by their beloved child. And this is exactly what lay in wait for Prophet Abraham.

One night, Prophet Abraham saw a dream, a true source of revelation for prophets; in it, he was commanded to sacrifice the life of his precious son Ismail. When he woke from his dream, he did so with a heavy task on his shoulders. This is the first part of the formula as mentioned in the verse above: to hear of the command and accept its significance. Right after, Prophet Abraham went to his son and informed him of what the Lord of the Worlds had ordered him to do.

What happened next is a reinforcement of the proper response to God’s mandates. Though Ismail was just a young boy with a full life ahead, his response was even more immediate and enthusiastic than his father’s, as he hoped to console him by reminding him of the proper path. His words are beautifully expressed in the Qur’an: “Abraham said: ‘O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. So tell me what you think.’ He replied, ‘O my dear father! Do as you are commanded. If God wishes, you will find me steadfast’” [37:102].

Here we see the second and most important part of the formula in the Chapter: to obey the command without reference to deception or treachery. And this is precisely what Prophet Abraham and his son displayed, by laying the young man down and attempting to follow through on the act.

When Prophet Abraham showed his formidable resolve in submitting to the Divine Command, God called down to him, declaring that He rescinded his order and that the whole occasion was a trial with the sole purpose of revealing their true characters, that of true believers in complete submission.

In reward, God sent down a ram from the heavens, instructing that they sacrifice it instead. This entire trial was without a doubt the most harrowing decision Prophet Abraham had to undertake, and one that represented his unmatched obedience. It is in commemoration of this event that Muslims make their own animal sacrifices every year on Eid Al-Adha, to celebrate and raise the flag of submission that Prophet Abraham first did millennia ago.

The ending of Prophet Abraham’s ordeal was also a perfect reflection of the ending state of the true submissive believer, one that is blessed and exalted by God. In being saved from having to sacrifice his precious child, the story perfectly encapsulates the ending of Chapter al-Baqarah, a plea sent to the Lord of the Worlds that He bestow on us his Mercy and Grace: “God does not burden any soul more than it can bear. All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. The believers pray: ‘Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Lord! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us’” [2:286].


More Coverage

Dreams keep brain refreshed Tsai et al. Cerebral capillary blood flow upsurge during REM sleep is mediated by A2a receptors. Cell Reports, August 2021 New research has provided some fresh insights into why dreams are biologically so important. S...
The holy mystery called mercy embraces all beings. It is manifested in the most brilliant manner, particularly in the compassion of mothers. The mystery of mercy makes the mother's womb the first place for preparing an infant for their brief visit...
Formula One (F1) auto racing, organized by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, [1] consists of a series of races held in specially built circuits in different countries. Drivers and teams are evaluated based on the total points they sco...