Today, all over my city, my Muslim friends are slaughtering sheep – one for each family. They are participating in Qurbani – a sacrifice that is offered once a year to show gratitude towards Allah and to provide for the poor and needy. It also commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, who was replaced by an animal at the time of sacrifice.
I spent this afternoon with A and her family. When I arrived, they had already slaughtered their sheep, but the one pictured above was still waiting to be sacrificed by her neighbors. The meat from the sacrifice is expected to be shared with family, friends, and the poor. Many Muslims will pay to have a sheep slaughtered in another country and given to the poor in that country. All the sharing is done to gain a reward & forgiveness.
As the day has approached, I”ve often discussed the story of Abraham & his son with my Muslim friends. We go over the details of the story and then I ask them what the story means to them. They usually reply that it’s a story about faith and obedience. This is true even for Christains. Nevertheless, the conversations have been great opportunities to discuss with them the substitutionary aspect of the sheep (ram) that replaced Isaac on the altar and how that substitute is a foreshadowing of Jesus and His substitutionary death for each of us. Please pray that my friends will think of Jesus as they slaughter, prepare, eat, and share the animals they sacrifice today.