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Ali's Sacrifice

"There! I found the moon," exclaimed six year old Ali to his father.

"Where?" asked Aliís ten year old brother, Abdullah.

"See that big tree? Its right next to it," replied Ali.

The boys were trying to sight the new moon for the beginning of the Islamic month of Zulhijjah. Eid would be ten days from the day they saw the new moon.

"Oh, I see it now," said Abdullah.

"Daddy, can we go tomorrow to buy a goat?" asked Ali.

"Sure, weíll go tomorrow after the Zuhr prayer," replied their father.

The next day, all of the boys got in to the car with their father. They were going to the neighboring hills to buy a goat to slaughter on the day of Eid in commemoration of what Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), alayhi salam, did.

"Weíre going to bring the goat home this time," said their father, "so you will have to take care of it and feed it. You can also play with it."

"Yahoo! Iíll take care of it," said Ali, "Iíll even teach it tricks!"

The boys and their father finally found a goat and took it home. The next day, Ali woke up early long before the time he used to wake up. He washed and dressed, then went outside to play with the goat. His brothers Usman and Abdullah were already outside playing with the goat.

"Assalamu alaikum," they said together.

"Wa-alaikum as salam," replied Ali.

"We have decided that we will take turns to feed the goat. Everyone will take care of the goat for one day. You can be the first one to feed him," said Abdullah.

"Okay," said Ali, "where is the food?"

"Right here," replied Abdullah, pointing to the food hidden in a corner.

"Make sure, you give him enough water and hay," said Usman.

Ali then called the goat. The goat came to him obediently and ate the food. Then he drank a little water.

The boys kept on taking turns until the Eid day. Many times they took it for walks around their neighborhood. One time, as Abdullah was getting out of his house to go for the Maghrib prayer, the goat followed him. Abdullah then had to force the goat back into the backyard, which the goat resisted very much. The boys started liking the goat very much.

After the Eid prayer, on the Eid day, the family returned home. It was time to slaughter the goat.

"D-d-daddy, why are you going to k-k-kill the goat?" asked Ali, who was nearly crying, as his father sharpened his knife.

"We have to kill him, because Allah has ordered us to," came the reply, "Every Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims all over the world, who can afford, slaughter a goat, sheep, lamb, cow, or camel. Prophet Ibrahim, alayhi salam, was ordered by Allah to slaughter his son as a test. He was about to do that because it was Allahís order, but then Allah provided him with a ram to slaughter, and Ibrahim, alayhi salam, slaughtered that. As a commemoration of that great sacrifice, Muslims are asked to slaughter an animal. You will also be slaughtering an animal when you grow up."

Ali did not reply but rather watched his father as he slaughtered the goat. Then he ran into the house, because he could not stand watching the goat die.

Abdullah went after him and explained everything to him again that his father had said before. Ali finally understood, but he still seemed sad.

The boys then helped their father in doing the rest of the work. As he kept thinking about it, Ali realized he had just learned the word "sacrifice" now: you give up something you love for a higher purpose. He had become happy now because he knew they had killed the goat because Allah had commanded them to do so. Then he skipped into his house and started helping his mother clear up the meat.

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