On Imam al-Ridha s Views on the Prophet s Statement, “I Am The Son Of The Two Offerings”
Source: Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha Volume 1
18-1 Ahmad ibn Al-Hassan al-Qattan narrated that Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’eed al-Kufi quoted on the authority of Ali ibn Al-Hassan ibn al-Fadhdhal, on the authority of his father, “I asked Abul Hassan Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) about the meaning of the statement made by the Prophet (S), ‘I am the son of the two offerings.’ Imam Al-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘That means that the Prophet (S) was the descendant of both Ishmael, the son of Abraham - the friend of God (a.s.) and Abdullah - the son of Abdul Muttalib. Ishmael was the patient son that God gave the glad tidings of his birth to Abraham (a.s.).
Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (a.s.erious) work with him, he said, ‘O my son! I see in a vision that I offer thee in sacrifice. Now see what is thy view!’ (The son) said, ‘O my father! Do as thou art commanded. Thou will find me, God willing , one practicing Patience and Constancy!’1 When he decided to offer him as sacrifice, God replaced him with a chubby black and white sheep. This sheep had been raised in a fresh green area, and had grazed in the Gardens of Heaven for forty years. It had no mother. Rather the Honorable the Exalted God said to it be and it was created so as to be substituted for Ishmael, ‘We but say the word, ‘Be’, and it is.’2
Whatever is sacrificed in Mina3 until the Resurrection Day will be sacrificed on behalf of Ishmael. This is one of the offerings. Now let us consider the second one. Abdul Muttalib grabbed the doorknob of the Kaaba and prayed to God to be granted ten sons. He bet with the Almighty God that he would offer one of them for sacrifice if his prayer was accepted. When the number of his sons became ten, he took them all inside the Kaaba and drew lots for their names. The lot fell to Abdillah's name - the father of the Prophet Muhammad (S) - whom he loved the most. He drew lots again, and it fell to Abdillah's name. He drew lots for the third time. Again the lots fell to Abdillah's name. Then he took him, imprisoned him and decided to offer him for sacrifice. All of the people of the Quraysh tribe got together and the other tribes also got together crying. Abdul Muttalib's daughter - Ateka - asid, ‘Ask the Almighty God to excuse you from offering your son , for sacrifice.’ Abdul Muttalib said, ‘My daughter! How can I ask for an excuse? You are mature and intelligent.’ Ateka said, ‘Draw lots concerning your son, and your camels that are around the Shrine (the Kaaba). Increase the number of camels so much that your Lord gets pleased and the lot falls to the name of the camels.’ Then Abdul Muttalib sent someone after his camels. They brought them all there. He chose ten of the camels and drew lots. The lot fell to the name of Abdillah. He chose an additional ten and drew lots again. The lot fell to the name of Abdillah again. He added to the number of camels and repeated drawing lots until the number of camels reached one hundred. Then the lot fell to the name of the camels. The people of the Quraysh tribe became very happy and said ‘God is the Greatest’ so loud that the Tehamat mountains started to shake. Abdul Muttalib said, ‘No. I must draw lots three more times.’ He drew lots three more times. The lot fell to the name of the camels all three times. On the third time, Zubayr and Abu Talib dragged their brother Abdillah away from under Abdul Muttalib's feet. The part of his face that was on the ground got hurt. They picked him up and kissed him. Abdul Muttalib ordered all the one hundred camels be taken to Hazvareh and slaughtered there. He stressed that no one should be deprived of the meat. There were five traditions practiced by Abdul Muttalib which the Almighty God continued their practice of in Islam as follows:
1- He forbade the (marriage of) the father's wives with the sons.
2- He established one hundred camels as blood compensation for killing.
3- He circumambulated the Kaaba seven times.
4- He found a treasure and paid one fifth of it as levy.
5- When he dug up the 'Zam Zam' spring, he established it as the supply of water for the pilgrims.
If Abdul Muttalib was not a proof (of the Divine God) and his decision to offer his son as sacrifice was not similar to that of Abraham (a.s.) about his son Ishmael, the Noble Prophet (S) would not have been proud of being related to them (Abraham and Abdul Muttalib) and would not have said, ‘I am the son of the two offerings.’ The reason God prevented Ishmael from being sacrificed was the same one that He prevented Abdullah from being sacrificed. The reason was that the Noble Prophet (S) and the Immaculate Imams (a.s.) were in their loins. Thus God prevented their being sacrificed due to the Blessed Prophet (S) and the Imams (a.s.). Thus the tradition of offering one's son as a sacrifice did not become popular among the people. Otherwise, it would have become obligatory for people to offer their sons for sacrifice on the day of celebrating the ‘Eid ul-Adha4 each year until the Resurrection Day so as to seek nearness to God. Everything sacrificed on the ‘Eid ul-Adha until the Resurrection Day will be a substitute for Ishmael.
The author of this book (a.s.heikh Sadooq) said, “There are many traditions on the offering. In some traditions we read that Isaac was the one offered for sacrifice. In others we read that Ishmael was the one offered for sacrifice. We can not reject a tradition that has an authentic documentation. Ishmael was offered for sacrifice. However, when Isaac was born later, he wished that it was he himself who was offered for sacrificed by his father. He would have been patient and would have submitted to the decree of the Almighty God just as his brother did. Then he would have earned the same rank and reward that his brother had earned. God was aware of his intentions. For this reason he called him ‘the offering’ among his angels. I have quoted the related tradition in the book An-Nubowwa.”
1. Qur’an, 37:102
2. Qur’an, 16:40
3. A place in the hills east of Mecca on the road from it to ál-Rafa
4. ‘Eid ul-Adha is a festival that is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hajja and marks the close of the Hajj ceremony or Pilgrimage to the Kaaba. The ‘Eid is celebrated with great solemnity and reverence everywhere. Like ‘Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims make preparations several days before the festival. The animals to be sacrificed are bought well before the ‘Eid day by those who can afford to do so.