Muzdalifa, which is the next stop after the mount of Arafat, is a place filled with the manifestations of mercy. It is among the places of, as it is called in a verse, Mash’ar al-Haram or symbols of the sacred place. It is a place of learning how to forget everything, even the life in the Hereafter, and to turn the hearts toward Allah the Almighty with love and obedience.
After completion of certain rituals, offering a material sacrifice, which represents the spiritual sacrifice of Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him), is a breeze of mercy and wisdom reminding pilgrims the feelings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Those who breathe this wind remember and repeat the following words of Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him):
“Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists.”(al-An’am 6; 79)
“Say: surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Lord of the worlds; no associate has He; and this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit.”(al-An’am 6; 162-63)
And when Abraham was on his way from Babel to Damascus, he was saying:
“I will go to my Lord, He will surely guide me. My Lord! Grant me of the righteous.”(al-Saffat 37; 99-100)
Here is an indication to the spiritual journey from the inner world to the Most Supreme Friend. The following verses are about Ishmael and the incident of his sacrifice:
“So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.”(al-Saffat 37; 101)
“And when he reached the age to work with him, he said: O my son! Surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.” (al-Saffat 37; 102)
“So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead, We called out to him, O Abraham You have indeed shown the truth of the vision; surely thus do We reward the doers of good: Lo! That verily was a clear test.”(al-Saffat 37; 103-106)
“And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations. Peace and salutation to Abraham Thus indeed do We reward those who do right Surely he was one of Our believing servants.”(al-Saffat 37; 107-111)
According to a report Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) had said:After Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) left our mother Hagar and Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) in Mecca, he went back to our mother Sarah. From time to time he was visiting Hagar and Ishmael. He, once, saw a dream when he was in Mecca. In his dream, ha saw that he was sacrificing Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) as it was commanded in the above mentioned verses. Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) had doubts whether his dream was from the Devil or from the Lord Almighty. His dream continued for three days. These days were the days of Tawriya, the day before the sacrificial holiday, and the first day of the ‘Eid.
“If Allah had given me a son, I would sacrifice him to the Lord.” It was because of these words he was getting tested.
Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) asked his wife Hagar to clean up their son Ishmael and put some perfume on him. Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) told his wife that he was going to take their son to a friend. He also told his son to take some rope and a knife with him and continued:
“My dear son! I will sacrifice you for the sake of Allah.” They set off on a journey towards Arafat. Just then the Devil in human form came to Hagar and said:
“Do you know where Abraham is taking your son?” She replied:
“Yes, he is taking him to his friend.” The Devil said again:
“No, he is taking him to slaughter.” Hagar replied:
“He loves his son.” When the Devil continued:
“Abraham is going to slaughter your son because Allah ordered him to do so” Hagar told the Devil:
“If Allah ordered this, then it is a good thing. We obey His orders.” When the Devil realized that he will not be able to deceive Hagar, he went to Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) and asked:
“Do you know where your father is taking you?” Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) responded:
“To fulfill his Lord’s command” The Devil tried to scare him saying:
“As you know, he is going to slaughter you.” Upon this Ishmael drove Satan away and threw stones at him saying:
“Go away! O cursed one. We willingly fulfill our Lord’s commands.” Satan was not able to deceive Ishmael, either. This time he turned to Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) and said:
“O old man! Where are you taking your son? The Devil has deceived you by your dreams. Those dreams were from the Satan. Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
“You are the Devil. Go away from me.” Abraham took twenty one stones and threw them at the Devil in three different places.
And this is how the stoning of the Devil, or one of the prescribed acts of pilgrimage, has started. Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) and his family’s submission and obedience has become an example for the followers of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
When Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) and Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) were on their way from Arafat to Mina, angels in heaven got excited. They amazed, said to each other:
“Praise be to Allah! A prophet is taking a prophet to slaughter.” Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) explained the situation to his son Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him):
“O my son! I was ordered to slaughter you in my dream.” Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) asked:
“O my father! Has Allah ordered you to do this?” Abraham replied:
“Yes.” Upon this, Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him) told his father:
“O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.” Thus he told his father that he was ready to give his life. Ishmael was either around seven or thirteen years of age at the time.
According to the reports, in three incidents the Angel Gabriel (Peace Be Upon Him) became extremely worried about whether or not he was going to be on time. One of them was when Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) placed his knife to Ishmael’s (Peace Be Upon Him) throat. Just then, Gabriel (Peace Be Upon Him) made the knife blunt and he told them that because of their utter obedience and submission he brought a ram from heaven and not Ishmael but that ram was going to be sacrificed. Thus it was slaughtered, and Ishmael lived.
Therefore the true goal of sacrificing an animal is to remember these events, to benefit from the divine lessons hidden in them and to make our souls vigilant in regards to obedience and submission to Allah the Almighty. This is expressed in the Qur’an as follows:
“It is neither their flesh nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him …”(al-Hajj 22; 37)
Furthermore, cutting the hair after sacrificing an animal also has a historical meaning. Before the emergence of Islam when someone wanted to free a slave, he would shave the slave’s head. This was a sign of his slavery. By cutting their hair pilgrims accept and confess their servitude to Allah the Almighty. In other words, this haircut is in a way a statement of our submission to Allah the Almighty and declaration of our servitude to Him.