From the Archives: Eid al-Adha Sermon 2020 – Establishing the True Spirit of Sacrifice

The Review of Religions is honored to present the English translation from the original Urdu, of the Eid al-Adha sermon delivered by the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) of 31st July 2020. Translated by The Review of Religions Translation Team.

After reciting the TashahhudTa‘awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) stated: 

Today is Eid al-Adha, which is also referred to as the Eid of Sacrifice. It is being joyously celebrated across the Muslim world today and in some places will be celebrated tomorrow, depending on the time difference. 

[This Eid] is in commemoration of that sacrifice or that incident which occurred more than 4,000 years ago. Since the advent of Islam, Muslims have been celebrating this Eid of Sacrifice. Despite the passing of such a long period of time, the importance of this sacrifice and its memory has not at all faded from the hearts of the believers, and nor can it ever fade. 

Nevertheless, there would certainly be countless people, who only commemorate this Eid as a joyous occasion. They await its arrival and celebrate it and even offer sacrifices of animals but this is merely done in a pretentious manner and in order to express their joy. However, a true believer is mindful of this sacrifice and its true significance and spirit and remembers it in a manner that it truly ought to be remembered. 

The account of this sacrifice, which was demonstrated by a father and his son thousands of years ago, is extremely moving for a true believer. Usually, after being alleviated of one’s hardships and sorrows, one gradually forgets about them with the passage of time. One does not remember as to what kind of sorrow and hardship they went through and become occupied again in their worldly endeavours. However, by preserving this incident in the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has established a standard of sacrifices for all times to come.  Moreover, by instructing the believers to always remember this standard of sacrifice, Allah the Almighty has established its memory amongst the Muslims forever. 

What a lofty standard it truly is, in that even today, when we listen to this account and ponder over it, our hearts become filled with emotions. It is not an ordinary matter that — a person who had been granted a child at an old age; when he reached 90 years or so of age — he then receives a command from Allah the Almighty in a dream that he should sacrifice his son and upon that command, accepting it as it was, he gets ready to sacrifice his only son. Thus, what an excellent standard it is of showing utmost obedience in order to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty and to fulfil His command. What a lofty rank possessed by Hazrat Abraham (as) that upon hearing this command, he laid his son down and hand his knife ready to sacrifice him. Furthermore, not only was the father prepared to make this sacrifice owing to his special spiritual station and his level of nearness to Allah the Almighty, rather his son too, despite being a child, accepted it saying, ‘I agree. If this is the command of Allah the Almighty that I be slaughtered, then I am ready.’ The reply of this child has also been preserved by Allah the Almighty in the Holy Qur’an: 

یٰۤاَبَتِ افۡعَلۡ مَا تُؤۡمَرُ ۫ سَتَجِدُنِیۡۤ اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ

O my father, do as thou art commanded. Thou wilt find me, if Allah please, of those who are patient.’ [1]

This response serves as an excellent example for those who offer sacrifices with the contentment of their heart and who have perfect belief in Allah the Almighty. Through this incident, the youth have also been informed that such are the standards and response of one who has complete faith in God Almighty and who are ever ready to offer sacrifices for His sake. Thus, after pondering over this account, who would not be moved by such a response? 

A 90-year old elderly man established an example in sacrifice for elders, and a young child established an example for the youth. Indeed, we are overcome with emotions after reading and listening about these accounts, and there are many who are led to tears. However, this is alone is not enough. In fact, it is also essential for us to re-assess the pledge we make to be ready to offer every sacrifice. Hazrat Abraham (as) was ready to sacrifice his son – in fact not just ready – but he actually placed his son down and was ready to sacrifice him by placing a knife on his neck. Moreover, when looking at this from the perspective of Hazrat Abraham’s (as) gentle and kind disposition, this sacrifice takes on an even greater significance. Hazrat Abraham (as) was filled with compassion and tenderness towards even his opponents and he could not bear for any harm or suffering to befall his enemies. The level of Hazrat Abraham’s (as) tender-heartedness was such that Allah the Almighty has recorded this in the Holy Qur’an as one of his special attributes and it is mentioned that he was clement and tender-hearted. Considering his disposition, would Hazrat Abraham (as) not have felt deep love and affection for his son? Most certainly he would have, however at the time he pushed aside all sentiments of personal agony and affection and instead gave precedence to the pleasure of Allah the Almighty over everything else. Subsequently, this act made him distinct from others. And it was this distinction, this devotion, this love and loyalty to Allah the Almighty and this standard of sacrifice that until the Day of Judgement every Muslim, when sending Durood [invoking salutations] upon the Holy Prophet (sa), will also mention Hazrat Abraham (as).

Hazrat Abraham (as) did not make this sacrifice alone. As the Holy Qur’an informs us, Hazrat Ishmael (as) was also wholeheartedly prepared to offer this sacrifice, as has just been mentioned. Thus, his level of sacrifice has made him distinct from others. Why was he prepared to make this sacrifice? It was because he had developed a special understanding and perception of the love for God Almighty. This understanding brought about passion in him that his sacrifice would be a means of his progress. Both father and son had this same perception and understandingThus, the reason why we are filled with emotions upon hearing the account of Hazrat Abraham (as) and Hazrat Ishmael (as) is because upon recounting this incident we are overcome with emotion. However, perhaps most of us cannot understand the sentiments and feelings of Hazrat Abraham (as) at that time. Hazrat Abraham (as) felt that God had chosen him and required from him a sacrifice and the reward for his sacrifice was that he would attain the love of God Almighty and His nearness. [Through this sacrifice] he felt he was becoming the beloved of God Almighty, however, this was not only his belief, rather as every Muslim who reads the Holy Qur’an and sends Durood is aware,Allah the Almighty preserved the memory of this sacrifice until the Day of Judgement. Allah the Almighty deemed the sacrifice of Hazrat Abraham (as) as a distinct sign, because Hazrat Abraham (as) pushed back his feelings of personal grief and agony and instead gave greater importance to his sentiments of considering this a favour of Allah the Almighty for choosing him to carry out this sacrifice. He did not consider it a favour on his part for presenting this sacrifice and nor did he deem it a favour of his son for being ready to be given up in sacrifice for the sake of God the Almighty. Rather he considered it a favour of Allah the Almighty for choosing him and his son to make this sacrifice; this was a favour of Allah the Almighty upon them. 

After offering this sacrifice, he reminded himself that this sacrifice of his was of no value [in itself], rather it was purely the favour of Allah the Almighty upon him in that He chose him and deemed him worthy of offering this sacrifice.

Therefore, when we make a pledge to offer every kind of sacrifice we need to instil these same sentiments and thinking, that our sacrifice has no value, rather this is purely the favour of God Almighty for giving us the opportunity to make a sacrifice, which results in drawing us near to God the Almighty. The reality is that our sacrifices are completely insignificant compared to the sacrifices made by Hazrat Abraham (as) and Hazrat Ishmael (as), or the sacrifice they were ready to make. Whenever we give even the slightest precedence to our faith over worldly matters, we are immeasurably rewarded by Allah the Almighty. Countless Ahmadis have experienced this and write to me regarding how their humble sacrifices were rewarded so abundantly by God the Almighty. They offer their wealth in sacrifice and in just a few hours they witness its reward. There are so many examples of this. 

Thus, this should not be just a temporary passion, rather it should be an enduring sentiment. Do not consider receiving a one one-off experience of the favours Allah the Almighty to be enough, rather one ought to make their efforts to attain the nearness to Allah the Almighty a permanent feature of their lives. It is only then that we can truly say that we are making an effort to fulfil our pledge. These efforts will then inspire the next generation and generally instils piety in them as well. The thought of attaining the nearness of Allah the Almighty remains firmly established and one’s wife and children then also develop the perception that the purpose of their lives is to attain pleasure and nearness to Allah the Almighty. Thus, to create this atmosphere in your homes requires prayers and actions. It is indeed an exemplary passion for Hazrat Abraham (as) to be ready to sacrifice his son by placing a knife on his throat and for Hazrat Ishmael (as) to be ready to be sacrificed in this manner. Allah the Almighty honoured and rewarded this sentiment. And whilst accepting this sacrifice of theirs, He ordained that the son should not be physically sacrificed in such a manner and stopped them saying:

قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ الرُّءۡیَا ۚ اِنَّا کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ

That is, ‘Thou hast indeed fulfilled the dream (there is no longer a need to perform the sacrifice in this manner). Thus indeed do We reward those who do good.’ [2]

But how are those rewarded who do good? The reward was that he and his son were granted a very lofty station of nearness to God Almighty. However, after attaining this status they did not desist from offering further sacrifices. It was not the case that they offered a sacrifice and after attaining its reward they ceased to make further sacrifices. In fact, this marked the beginning of a phase of new sacrifices, so that they may witness further manifestations of the nearness to Allah the Almighty as a result of those sacrifices. In fact, it was not only both of them, but rather Hazrat Abraham’s (as) wife, the mother of Hazrat Ishmael (as) was also included in this. And this was to demonstrate an example to men that when they perform righteous deeds and establish a close connection with God the Almighty, it ought to have an impact on their wives as well. A person’s righteousness should not remain confined to their own person, rather it should also have an impact on one’s wife as well. 

By including a woman in this sacrifice it establishes an example for all other women as well. A pious woman has full trust in Allah the Almighty and completely submits to His will and attains His nearness. As a result, Allah the Almighty will never leave her. Thus, we see that in order to present an even greater sacrifice than that of sacrificing their son, Allah the Almighty called upon the entire family, i.e. husband, wife, and son, and states that this sacrifice with a knife and of their emotions was just for that particular moment, however, the sacrifice now that was being asked of all three of them was a sustained period of sacrifices whereby they had to endure separation, complete isolation and living in fear. These were the three sacrifices that were required of them which all three accepted. Thus, Hazrat Abraham (as) took Hazrat Hagar (as) and Hazrat Ishmael (as) to a place which was not only uninhabited for miles upon miles, but it was a completely dry and barren land where there was no water or provisions or food of any kind.

Hazrat Abraham (as) left his wife and son in this place with only a waterskin and a bag of dates. Hazrat Abraham (as) was aware of the fact that once this waterskin and the bag of dates finished, they will neither have anything to drink nor to eat. He had no idea as to how his wife and son would survive. However, it was a command of Allah the Almighty to offer this sacrifice and as such, he was doing so in order to acquire the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. And so, when Hazrat Abraham (as) was about to leave his wife and son in this place with a limited amount of water and food and without telling his wife that she would now have to live there by herself, Hazrat Hagar (as) understood that this was not going to be a temporary separation, but rather a permanent one. She followed Hazrat Abraham (as) and asked that where was he going after leaving them there? Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has described this state of Hazrat Abraham (as) in a very beautiful manner. He says that at that moment, this natural state had overcome his heart, i.e. the heart of Hazrat Abraham (as), and as a result of being اَوَّاہٌ مُّنِیۡبٌ[tender-hearted and oft-turning to God] he was overcome with emotions and was unable to reply. Hazrat Hagar (as) once again asked where he was going having left them there? Despite Hazrat Hahar (as) asking numerous times, Hazrat Abraham (as) was unable to reply to her due to his emotions. Furthermore, how could it be possible for someone who possessed such a tender disposition like Hazrat Abraham (as) to reply to her? He could see the uncertainty of what would happen to them after he would leave them in that barren land. Hence, on the one hand, his human nature, his love for his son and wife, and his natural and extremely tender disposition were preventing him, lest he expressed the deep emotions that were concealed within, and which would cause a greater concern for Hazrat Hagar (as). On the other hand, the thought of the standard and merit of this sacrifice decreasing if he expressed his emotions, i.e. the sacrifice which he, his wife, and son were offering and as a result of which the nearness of God the Almighty would be attained, he thus remained silent. At last, Hazrat Hagar (as) asked that did God command him to do so? Even at that moment, he merely his raised his hand towards the sky and did not utter a single word as he was overcome with emotions. When Hazrat Hagar (as) saw him make this sign, she said with complete trust in God that if this was the case, then God Almighty shall never allow them to perish. She then said that he was free to go wherever he wished. [3] 

Now, in view of the circumstances, it seems impossible to accept that one would be able to find water in that barren land once the waterskin was empty, or for dates to be found once the bag of dates was empty, or any other means of nourishment for that matter. It was impossible to find a helper in this deserted area, who would alleviate their suffering, or at least be sympathetic towards them, or even to see the face of another human being. After all, from where would someone appear in such a deserted area? However, an extraordinary transformation had taken place within Hazrat Hagar (as) due to being in the company of Hazrat Abraham (as); the standard of her trust in God and her desire to acquire the nearness of Allah the Almighty was at its peak. Without any kind of fear, she said that if this was the commandment of God then she was not at all worried. Most certainly, when the Lord of the Throne heard these words of Hazrat Hagar (as) that if this was the commandment of God then He would never allow them to go in ruin, God the Almighty must have said that certainly, He would not let her and her son go to ruin. In fact, the events that followed after prove that Allah the Almighty did exactly what they hoped He would do. As a matter of fact, not only did He save them from ruin, but in fact created such a magnificent nation through them, through whom an extremely lofty prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (sa), the Chosen One was raised, whose advent was for the entire mankind.

He is the spiritual king of the entire world. It is only through the Holy Prophet (sa) now that one can reach God the Almighty. Hazrat Hagar (as) and Hazrat Ishmael (as) disregarded this world for the sake of God Almighty, and Allah the Almighty brought the entire world to the feet of the progeny of Hazrat Ishmael (as). Owing to the Holy Prophet (sa), today, millions of people perform the Hajj and Umrah and remember this sacrifice of Hazrat Hagar (as). Thus, the sacrifice of Hazrat Hagar (as) has been granted great esteem and honour till the end of time. Placing complete trust in God and seeking His pleasure, she cut ties with this world, and today, the world has no choice but to have a connection with her in order to attain a bond with Allah the Almighty. Thus, her sacrifice was not a small one; her conviction that God Almighty does not let anything done for His sake go to waste was no ordinary conviction. As I have said, God Almighty established such means so that we honour this sacrifice and remember it for all times to come. 

Thus, this day is to remind us of this family’s complete trust in Allah the Almighty and their level of sacrifice for His sake. Along with this, we must see; is it enough to simply remember and recount this incident and this family’s complete trust in Allah and sacrifice for His sake? No. Rather, along with recounting this incident, we should make this devotion and sacrifice of Hazrat Abraham (as) a model for us to emulate. We must set the sacrifice of Hazrat Hagar (as) as the standard. Every woman should analyse what she must do in order to attain that standard. When Lajna repeat [the portion of] their pledge which states that they are ready to sacrifice their children; it has come to my knowledge that some women say that they remain quiet at that time as they are not ready [to make such a sacrifice]. If one has complete trust in Allah the Almighty, and one’s object is to attain His pleasure and the desire of attaining His nearness is greater than all other desires, then such a thought can never come about. What is meant by the oath of giving precedence to faith over all worldly matters? It is an oath which directs one towards placing complete trust in Allah the Almighty. When this oath has been made, then every Ahmadi man, woman, youth, and child must fulfil it. When one strives to attain the nearness of Allah, Allah the Almighty does not let them go to ruin, rather He rewards them. When our men establish the standard of Abraham (as), they will then transfer the same spiritual standard into the women and children. Thus, the men must first elevate their level of perception and their standard of sacrifice. If we wish to elevate the standard of complete trust in Allah and sacrifice in women and children, the men must exhibit their own example. It should not be thought that these examples are merely to bring about small changes within us, or that Allah the Almighty has preserved this example just as a story. No, in fact, these examples are a model for us. When every man strives to tread upon the example of Hazrat Abraham (as), and while doing so strives to increase his level of devotion; when every woman is ready to adopt the example of Hazrat Hagar (as), and every young person is ready to adopt the example of Hazrat Ishmael (as), then Allah the Almighty’s blessing will rain down as well. Then will true sacrifice and the resulting realization of Allah the Almighty’s nearness come about. The true servant of the Holy Prophet (sa) of this age whom we have accepted in order to be part of the revival of Islam has been conferred the title of Abraham by Allah the Almighty. In various revelations, Allah the Almighty has referred to the Promised Messiah (as) as Abraham. [4]

Thus, if we have accepted the Abraham of this age for spiritual progress; for causing Islam to triumph over the world; for raising the flag of the Holy Prophet (sa) atop the world and in order to attain the nearness of Allah the Almighty, then each one of us must strive to be like Ishmael (as) and every woman must strive to be Hagar (as). If we are prepared to offer sacrifices for the sake of faith, then Allah the Almighty will open up new paths for us and we will also become a part of the promise which Allah the Almighty has vouchsafed to the ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (sa) of opening paths for the progress of Islam. If each and every one of us fulfils the oath of giving precedence to our faith, then we can bring about a revolution in this world. If we begin to lead our lives in accordance to the teachings of Islam, then we can bring about a spiritual revolution in the world. If we spread the beautiful teachings of Islam in the world and bring the world under the banner of Islam, then this would be the best recompense for the sacrifice of those martyrs who were killed solely because they had accepted the Abraham of this age. When Allah the Almighty established this movement through the Promised Messiah (as), it was to bestow all those blessings to the world which are associated with the true believers of the Holy Prophet (sa). For this purpose, those before us have presented sacrifices and most of all have sacrificed their inner self. We also make the pledge of sacrificing our wealth, lives, and time; keeping this pledge in mind we must always be prepared to present sacrifices. We will have to present sacrifices, as many already have been doing. There will never be a revolutionary change without sacrifices, nor has there ever been a revolutionary change without sacrifices. 

Thus, in this regard, I wish to draw the attention of those mothers who say that they stay quiet when it comes to pledging sacrifice. There are also those mothers who have devoted their children as Waqfe Naubut when these children grow up, some parents present the excuse that their circumstances are not good. They say that if their child was only to serve the Jama`at [Community], their child will not be able to survive on such a meagre allowance; thus they request for their child to be allowed to do some worldly work. On the one hand, they pledge to offer sacrifices which they present themselves, and yet on the other hand they direct them towards worldliness. Similarly, there are some Waqf-e-Nau [those devoted to the service of Islam before birth] who become doctors or engineers and then say that it is difficult to serve the Jama`at; it will be difficult for them as they cannot survive on such a small amount of allowance, and so they be allowed to do some worldly work. When they have pledged to give precedence to the faith over the world and have pledged to offer sacrifices; and Allah the Almighty enabled their parents to offer [their children as Waqf-e-Nau] – then such excuses hold no meaning. Thus, one ought to fulfil their oath. Even if the allowance is little, Allah the Almighty bestows His blessings in it. Thus, young Waqfin-e-Nau should present themselves to become missionaries, or present their services to the Jama`at after becoming doctors, engineers or teachers and offer sacrifices. They should increase the standard of their sacrifices rather than being happy with just hearing the stories and accounts of earlier times; they should not just be content simply upon hearing of these earlier accounts; they should not be content with becoming emotional when hearing these accounts, rather these accounts are there so we also demonstrate them with our own examples. We have no need for worldly royalty, nor worldly governance, nor the systems and wealth of governments, nor great powers, nor should we have such a desire. If there is any desire, it should be how we can help the truth of Islam to prevail in the world; how we can gather the world under the flag of the Holy Prophet (sa); how we can establish the sovereignty of the One God in this world; how we can make a world that has gone astray prostrate before God Almighty and how we can make people fulfil the rights of one another. Thus, this is the purpose for the establishment of this movement; this is the objective of an Ahmadi, and this should especially be the objective of the Waqfin-e-Nau. For this purpose, they should devote themselves to go to Jamia [Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology] and there should be more missionaries so that the message of Islam may spread in the world quickly. 

Thus, these points which I have mentioned are the very purpose for the establishment of this Community, and for which we should present sacrifices. The Promised Messiah (as) has mentioned this on many occasions. And all these things require sacrifice. As I have said, a revolution cannot come about simply by reading about these incidents. Thus every Ahmadi woman must become Hajra (as), and every Ahmadi youth will have to become Ishmael (as), and Ahmadis will have to show this example in every country, nation, and generation. It is only then that we can establish unity in the world. When these collective sacrifices are made for attaining this purpose, only then will we be able to fulfil the purpose for building that house [i.e. the Ka`bah], i.e. establishment of Unity, for which Hazrat Abraham (as), Hazrat Hagar (as) and Hazrat Ishmael (as) presented sacrifices. And this first house of God Almighty was established as a symbol of His unity. Thus only then will we be able to fulfil the purpose of the advent of the Abraham of this age and the true servant of the Holy Prophet (sa); which is to unite everyone under a single faith.    

May Allah the Almighty instil the true essence of sacrifice in all of us and may we be among those who always give precedence to our faith over the world. May every Eid of sacrifice be a means of displaying further stages of the advancement of Islam, and may we become those who offer such sacrifices which are accepted and the blessings of which we continue to reap in this life and the next.

Now we will pray. In our prayers we should remember those imprisoned who are bearing the hardships of prison merely due to the fact that they are Ahmadis. Purely because of their faith, they are left in jail in the extreme weather conditions, especially in Pakistan, yet they still bear these difficulties happily. There is an Ahmadi lady who has been put in jail and is facing the difficulties therein. False allegations have been levelled against her and very dangerous charges have been made against her. And this is only because she has accepted the Imam of the age. 

Remember the families of the martyrs in your prayers. Pray for the Waqifeen-e-Zindagi [Life devotees], missionaries, and Mu’allimeen[local preachers] that they may fulfil their oaths with the true spirit of sacrifice. The Mu’allimeen are rendering a great service around the world, particularly in Africa. May Allah enable them to continue doing so. Despite the limited training they receive and the knowledge they acquired in the Mu’allim classes, they are doing very good work. May Allah shower His blessings in their work, their sincerity, devotion, and spirituality, and may He keep them under His protection. Furthermore, as I mentioned before, may they fulfil their devotion sincerely for the sake of Allah. 

Pray for those facing difficulties, pray that Allah Almighty alleviates them of their troubles and worries. Pray also for the protection against the evil ploys of those clerics who are only concerned for their own personal interests. They have spread a lot of evil and mischief, especially in Pakistan and also in some African countries. Likewise, pray for the innocent to be saved from the evil of every mischief of those in power. 

On this Eid occasion there is a lot of opposition particularly in Pakistan; as there always is, but this time it has increased significantly in that if an Ahmadi offers a sacrifice of an animal, they shall have a lawsuit filed against them and they shall be punished. Thus, pray that every Ahmadi is protected from this form of the evil of the mischievous people. 

Pray that may we be those who fulfil the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah (as). For this, we must offer prayers continuously and fervently pray. What was the purpose of the Promised Messiah’s (as) advent? It is to raise the banner of Islam and the Holy Prophet (sa) all across the world and to establish the unity of God. The opposition is not just limited to Pakistan, in fact, these people even go to some parts of Africa and incite the local people and create opposition amongst them. Nevertheless, by the grace of Allah, these people remain resolute in their faith and pay no concern to any opposition. In fact, they have also received death threats, but in spite of that, they have remained firm in their faith. Likewise, in some places efforts are being made to take control of our mosques, even in Africa. May Allah the Almighty bring about such circumstances there, whereby they can regain control of the mosques of the Community, which the opponents have tried to seize in a wrongful manner. And, we should pray in general that we always remain the recipients of the blessings and mercy of God Almighty. 

Insha’Allah [God-willing], the Friday Sermon shall be delivered at the usual time today. We shall now perform the [silent] prayer, but before doing so, I wish to say Eid Mubarak to everyone and to all the Ahmadis around the world. 

The prayer shall be after the Eid sermon. 

Original Urdu published in Al-Fazl International 29th November 2020. 


  1. The Holy Qur’an 37:103
  2. Thw Holy Qur’an 37:103
  3. Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 2, pp. 219-220, Khutba Eid al-Adha 1938
  4. Tadhkirah, p. 82, Fourth Edition