Skip to content
Home » Sign 3 of Ibrahim: Sacrifice

Sign 3 of Ibrahim: Sacrifice

Allah had promised the great Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) a son in the previous Sign. And Allah had kept his promise. In fact, the Taurat continues the account of Ibrahim (PBUH) to describe how he got two sons. In Genesis 16 the Taurat tells how he got his son Ishmael with Hagar. Then later Genesis 21 tells how he got his son Isaac with Sarai about 14 years later. Unfortunately for his household, this resulted in a great rivalry between the two women, Hagar and Sarai. It ended with Ibrahim sending Hagar and Ishmael away. You can read here how this happened and how Allah blessed Hagar and Ishmael in another way.

The sacrifice of the Prophet Ibrahim: Basis for Eid al-Adha

So with only one son left in his household Ibrahim (PBUH) encounters his greatest test. But it opens for us a greater understanding of the Straight Way. Please read the account from Taurat and Qur’an concerning the test of the sacrifice of his son here. This account from the Books forms the basis for the Eid al-Adha celebration. But this is not just a historical event. It is more.

We can see from the account in the Books that this is a test for Ibrahim (PBUH). But it is also more than that – since Ibrahim is a prophet, this is also a sign for us, so we could learn more about God’s care for us. In what way is this a sign? Notice what happened just as he prepared to sacrifice his son.

But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Genesis 22:11-13

At the last moment, his son was saved from death and Ibrahim saw a male sheep, sacrificing it instead. Allah had provided a ram (male sheep or goat) and the ram took the place of his son.

Now let’s ask a question. At this point in the story is the ram dead or alive?

Why do I ask?  Because Ibrahim will now give a name to the place, but many miss its importance. The story continues…

So Abraham called that place ‘The LORD Will Provide’. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

Genesis 22:13-14

Another question: Is the name that Ibrahim gave to that place (“The Lord Will Provide”) in the past, present or future tense?

Looking to the Future, not the Past

It is clearly in the future tense.  Many people assume that Ibrahim PBUH, when naming that place, was thinking of the ram. Allah provided the ram by getting it caught in the thicket. Then Ibrahim sacrificed in place of his son. But when Ibrahim gave the name that ram was already dead and sacrificed. If Ibrahim was thinking of that ram – already dead and sacrificed – he would have named it ‘The LORD has provided’. He would have named it in the past tense. And the Prophet Musa (PBUH) would have commented, ‘And even now people say “On the mountain of the LORD it was provided”’. But the name looks to the future, not the past. Neither Ibrahim nor Musa were thinking of the already dead ram. They named it for something else – in the future. 

But what?

Where was the Sacrifice?

Notice where Allah told Ibrahim to go for the sacrifice.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Genesis 22:2

This happened in ‘Moriah’. Where is that? It was a wilderness area in Ibrahim’s day (2000 BCE). But a thousand years later (1000 BCE) the famous King Dawood (David) established the city of Jerusalem there. Then his son Suleiman (Solomon) built the Temple there. We read in the Zabur that:

Then Solomon (Suleiman) began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David (Dawood).

2 Chronicles 3:1

In other words, ‘Mount Moriah’ in the time of Ibrahim (and Musa) was an isolated mountain top in the wilderness. But 1000 years later with Dawood and Suleiman, it became Jerusalem (Al Quds). This was the central and capital city of the Israelites where they built the Temple to the LORD. And to this very day, it is a holy place for the Jewish people.

The LORD chose Mount Moriah, not Ibrahim PBUH.  As Surah Al-Jinn (Surah 72 – The Jinn) explains:

“And the places of worship are for God (alone): So invoke not any one along with God;

Surah al-Jinn 72:18

So, the places of worship are chosen by the LORD. We find out why Allah chose this location.

Isa al Masih and the sacrifice on Mount Moriah

Here we find that the sacrifice is directly connected to Isa al Masih (PBUH) and the Injil. We see this connection when we know about one of the titles of Isa. Isa had many titles given to him, but perhaps the most well-known is the title ‘Masih’ (which is also ‘Christ’). But he also received another very important title. We see this in the Injil when the prophet Yahya (John the Baptist in the Injil) says:

The next day John (i.e. Yahya) saw Jesus (i.e. Isa) coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I meant when I said ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me’”.

John 1:29-30

An important, title of Isa (PBUH), given to him by Yahya was ‘The Lamb of God”. Now consider the end of Isa’s life. Where was he arrested and sentenced to execution?  It was in Jerusalem (which as we saw is the same as ‘Mount Moriah’). The Injil states very clearly during his arrest:

When he [Pilate] learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at the time.’

Luke 23:7

In other words, the arrest, trial and sentencing of Isa happened in Jerusalem (= Mount Moriah).

Back to Ibrahim: why did he name that place in the future tense ‘The LORD will provide’? He was a prophet and foreseeing the future knew that something would be ‘provided’ there. In his test, his son was saved from death at the last moment because a lamb died in his place. Two thousand years later, Isa is called the ‘Lamb of God’ and is arrested and sentenced to death on the same spot!

The Sacrifice: Ransomed Ibrahim from death

Is this important to us? Notice how this sign of Ibrahim ends. The Qur’an says of Ibrahim (PBUH):

And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice

Surah al Saffat 137: 107

What does it mean to be ‘ransomed’?  To pay a ransom requires making a payment for someone held as a prisoner in order to set the prisoner free.  For Ibrahim (PBUH) to be ‘ransomed’ means that he was a prisoner of something (Yes even a great prophet!).  What held him as a prisoner?  He was a prisoner of death.  Even though he was a prophet, death held him as a prisoner.  We saw in the Sign of Adam that Allah had made Adam and his Children (everyone – including the prophets) mortal. They were all now prisoners of death.  To this day everyone, good or bad, rich or poor, male or female, believer or not, dies.

But in this drama of the sacrificed lamb Ibrahim (PBUH) was ‘ransomed’ from death. 

Review the sequence of signs (Adam, Cain & Abel, Noah, Ibrahim 1) to see that prophets always sacrificed animals.  They knew something about this that maybe escapes us.  Because Ibrahim uses a name pointing forward into the future we know that Isa ‘the Lamb of God’ plays the central role in this ransom.

The Sacrifice: A Blessing for Us

The sacrifice of the lamb on Mount Moriah is important for us as well.  After the sacrifice, Allah declares to Ibrahim that:

“…and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me”

Genesis 22:18

If you belong to one of the ‘nations on earth’ (and you do!) this has to concern you because the promise is that you then can get a ‘blessing’ from Allah himself! Is that not worthwhile?! How does this connection of Ibrahim’s story with Isa make a blessing to us? And why? Our clue is that Ibrahim (PBUH) was ‘ransomed’, but apart from that, the answer is not readily apparent here. For an advanced look at the conclusion of the Injil see this. Otherwise, we will continue with the Signs of Musa and they will clarify these questions for us.

But here I just want to point out that the word ‘offspring’ here is in the singular. It is not ‘offsprings’ as in many descendants or peoples. The promise of a blessing was through an ‘offspring’ from Ibrahim in the singular – singular as in a ‘he’. The blessing does not come through many people or a group of people as in ‘they’. This reminds us of the ‘offspring’ in Sign of Adam. The Passover Sign of Musa helps us understand further.

Download PDF of all the Signs from Al Kitab as a book

33 thoughts on “Sign 3 of Ibrahim: Sacrifice”

  1. very interesting brother…infact i dont suppose even an islamic scholar has gotten insights like yours…. but i noted that you did not correct that it was Ibrahim’s first born that was to be sacrificed… Ismaail… not Isaac..

  2. well acording to Islamic view it is ismael the promise was made because if you read the bible very well you see that their is a history distortion 1ismael was a legitimate son of Abraham because when Abraham was challenging God of no having children and he decide to adorpt the children of is slave but God told him that his son will be only from his body genesis15v4. 2in genesis16v3acording to king James version sarai gave hagar has wife but the writters of new revise version they said hagar was a concubine so to establish that hagar was not a legitimate wife and ismael too will be illegitimate son of Abraham but the book of 1 chronicle make us to know that ismael is a legitimate son of Abraham because a legitimate child is name after their father and illegitimate child is named after is mother and ketura was the only woman named along side with her children in chronicle 28&32 . 3 in genesis 17 we learnt that ismael was 14 when Isaac was born but but in genesis 21 the picture of ismael we saw is not of that age is a picture of a child who is not older than maximum 2 year so you can see that out of envy the Jew turn the story so that Isaac will be seen has the one God is talking about because if ismael is legitimate son of Abraham the the covenant is establish with ismael not Isaac . about sacrifice we Muslim do not consider blood to be atone for sin as you Christian believe you Christians believe that in the past that God acept animal sacrifice for forgiveness of sin that is why Jesus came to replace the blood sacrifice with his own blood hebrew9v19@22 leviticus17v11 but we Muslims did not believe in this even the eid aldah which we celebrate did not have anything similar to this and no verse in the bible tell us that Abraham offer sacrifice for atonement of sin or noah and the children of Adam depite all the offering sacrifice been commanded in the book of leviticus the book of jeremiah7 v21&27book of amos and the book of psalm50v9&15 denied all the blood sacrifice which was attributed to God in amos God said for 40 years i have taking you out of Egypt i did not command thee to offer me blood sacrifice so if God did not command any blood sacrifice then of which relevant will Jesus death on the cross will be simply hoax of history

    1. Hi Alawu
      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely correct in that Ishmael was a legitimate son of Ibraham (PBUH). The Taurat affirms this. The translation of ‘Wife’ or ‘concubine’ is not an issue in this case. Concubines were considered as wives in that culture. If you look in my article about what the Taurat tells us about Ishmael, you will see that the Taurat affirms Ishmael is a legitimate son of Abraham. In Genesis 21, Ishmael is about 14 years of age and the account of his crying at almost dieing of thirst in the desert is consistent with what a teenage boy would do. He is not crying over any problem, but the fact that he has lost his father and may die of thirst. So there is no reason to suspect a corruption of this passage based on the narrative. The issue though is whether Abraham sacrificed Isaac or not. I know there is some controversy over this but you can read my article on this question here.
      The point of this article on the Sign of Ibrahim is not to debate merits or not of blood sacrifice. The point is that 1) there was a sacrifice intended but at the last minute a ram substituted for the son 2) After this happened Ibrahim (PBUH) named that spot in future tense “The LORD will provide” 3) Jesus (or Isa – PBUH) 2000 years later was crucified in the same spot 4) Jesus (or Isa – PBUH) was called ‘Lamb of God’ by the prophet Yahya (pbuh). The Israelites did have blood sacrifices and as you point out in your references they did NOT provide in and of themselves. They were pointers to the great sacrifice.

      1. if you want to know the truth about your bible, I
        suggest you read at least the chapter genesis. after reading it pls let us know according to you who wrote the chapter genesis. or who is the story teller?. who is the witness of this event ?, Was it god, or if not to whom it was told ?, for what purpose it was written ?.( what is it trying to tell you and why, ? was it the word of god ? as you believe it is. also find out the same thing about below quotation :
        your own quotation
        “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The LORD Will Provide’. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:13-14)”

        1. I am sorry, but I honestly do not know what you are getting at here. Perhaps I am confused about your statement ‘read chapter Genesis’ when Genesis is really a book with many chapters. Are you concerned about this chapter (22) in terms of who wrote it? I guess I will answer that question and sorry if you meant something else. Genesis is part of Taurat. Taurat was written by prophet Musa pbuh but the events of Genesis occurred before prophet Musa pbuh lived. (other books of Taurat are during life of Musa pbuh). So how could Musa be an author of events that come before him? Scholars have explained this in 2 steps. The sections of Genesis were written by the person whom the events describe. These sections are clearly demarked in the text with the phrase “This is the account of ….” Abraham starts his recording in Genesis 11

          His recording ends when his sons Ishmael and Isaac start there sections in Genesis 25. Ishamel starts like this

          25: 12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.

          Isaac starts his section with

          25:19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.

          So Chapter 25 is the end of Abraham’s written account. It started in chapter 11 with

          27 This is the account of Terah’s family line.

          Terah was the father of Abraham and you can see that the text describes Abraham and his brothers and then continues on until CHapter 25 with Abraham’s story which (as I pointed above) is picked up by Ishmael and Isaac.

          So different sections of Genesis are written by the specific prophet whose events it describes. This is the first step
          The second step is the prophet Musa pbuh then took these sections and put them together in one book. This is the book of Genesis, the first book of Taurat. Long answer to now summarize… Genesis 22 and the events there are recorded by prophet Ibrahim pbuh

          1. i am sorry if i create a confusion to you i should have said at least one of the chapter in genesis.

            actually you may read what ever book in your bible, which ever chapters.,but simply ask yourself those question ,who wrote the book ?. it is narated like a story book or a history book, whom you never know the writer who witness the even. if you want to know at least you have to ask those kind of questions, if you simply follow it with your faith, than ask your self why did god gave you intellectuals in the first place. if you are not allowed to use it. no matter how you believe why you got it in the first place, but use it anyway.
            this part of old testament mostly come from talmud not torah mentioned in quran.

  3. hi,I am interested on this topic.Furthermore,as a muslim we believe in sacrifice of our prophet Ibrahim(pbuh). Allah accepted his sacrifice and send one sheep instead of his son.Which is a great milestone of sacrifice to Allah.As we are a followers of our prophet ,So every year we sacrifice animals(i.e which animal is hallall and which has four legs)as a symbol of sacrifice towards Allah.

  4. Bro. Abu-bakr Amponsah

    I believe Christians are confused, in the book of Genesis God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, not one of your sons, the one you love, but not your only son you love. My brother, Christians now believe Ishmael is a legitimate son of Abraham and Ishmael is 14years older than Isaac then who is the only son? Christians are confused because of the inserted name Isaac, which in the tawrat he referred to doesn’t contains that. It was a complete insertion. No name was mentioned but Jews internationally inserted the name Isaac. Remember Allah new Abraham had only a son then why should He mention a named? And if Abraham had two children by then, Allah should have said sacrifice Isaac your son without mentioning only. My brother this is to clear your confusion and doubt. Convert to Islam and be save for Allah says, in the Qur’an that it is a book without confusion and doubt but a guidance for righteousness. He again said who ever finds a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted and in the hereafter he will be among the losers. I don’t want you to be among the losers so accept Islam for your salvation. May Allah accept you in Islam and give you jannat. Ameen

  5. Here is my reservations concerning this long decade disagreement between Christians and Muslims ‘whether it was Ishmael or Isaac that was to be sacrificed by our father Abraham’?, .The point of argument as pointed out by my Muslim brothers is hanged upon the fact that if Ishmael was 14 year older than Isaac and at a time God said his only son should be sacrificed,this practically denotes that God was only talking about Abraham eldest son who is the only son at the time.but before this scene of contention we all should know that a quarrel ensued between Sarah and Hagar and Abraham decided to take Hagar and Ismael into a land and he blessed them there and afterwards there was never any account whatsoever that he went back over to Hagar place for a visit, that in a way speak volumes of how Abraham prefer and love Sarah more than Hagar and consequently,he continued to stay and live with Sarah after he put Hagar and Ismael away,we all know of a truth that the love of a man for his wife always in most cases transferred to the child of that wife,as Abraham continued to live with Sarah and God mentioned his only child to be sacrificed, Abraham was a faithful man he knows that God was referring to his most loved child (Isaac)whose mum he was living with at the time.I love you all with the love of christ let the love flows brothers and sisters.

  6. Thanks for this article it was most informative and insightful, i enjoyed reading it very much. And thanks to @Godwin for clarifying and removing the confusion as to which son was sacrificed. It makes complete sense. Please continue to write…God bless you.

  7. The statement mentioned above, (Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (v.2)) is WRONG.

    It was Prophet Ibrahim’s(PBUH) First Son Isma’il, born to his second wife Hajara or Hager, whom he took to sacrifice. Not Isaac. Isaac was his second son born to his first wife Sarah.

  8. Hi,
    I’m glad all these comments came up. I perceive from here that we should not debate on either Christianity or Islam.
    Abraham(Ibrahim) is the father of all nations. Out of him came the Islam and the Jews.
    Take a Critical look at 2000 years later when the Lamb of God(Isa or Jesus) gave himself a ransom for the sins of all men. Be it Islam or Jew. So that He(Isa) was to be the last and great sacrifice for man.
    Before His sacrifice, he has His followers or Disciples and established his Gospel. His death and teachings brought in the New way of worship to Allah(God). This is where the Christians came in. They adopted the new practice as thought by Jesus Christ(Isa) and they became Christians signifying that they will not share any blood for a ransom of sin but the Lamb of God had already done it if only you shall believe in Him and Keep his commandments.

    This is what we need to understand.
    Muslim took theirs from Ismael who was a son to Hagar.
    Jews took theirs from Isaac son of Saria
    Christians took theirs from the Lamb himself who brings salvation to all mankind regardless of your religion. Only believe and do as He has thought.
    Remember, religion was formed by man and in Allah’s sight( God’s) it is not suppose to be so.
    Isa(Jesus) was provided for all and not to a specific group of people.

  9. Read Genesis 22:2
    God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, he mention the name Isaac.
    In genesis chapter 21:9 Ismael and Hagar was saked.
    We are leaning am a Christian but I read Quran sometimes that’s why I arrive on this page. God blessings to all

  10. Salisu dahiru Alhassan

    Malam auwal actually you made it clear to me , jazakumullah khair I am almost confused with this writing, but as you take your time and write something am okay Alhamdulillah, I am not scholar or imam but at least read some bit of write up and listened to sheikhs. What came to my mind is that, who is the writer and what has he trying to say. But you guys had tried and clarified everything now.

  11. Eid al-adha has nothing to do with with sin offerings, from where did you even get that?

    The whole point of the story is to be grateful God doesn’t demand human sacrifice,unlike pagan idols

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *