Salam,

The concept of offering a sacrifice is treated as one if not as the highest form of adoration in which a patronage is done in the name of religion doing the act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person. The offer of a victim is in acknowledgment of God’s supreme dominion and of total human dependence on God. In sacrifice the gift offered is something precious completely surrendered by the one making the sacrifice as a token of humble recognition of God’s sovereignty.

Animal sacrifice in most religions has been an accepted part of traditions. All ancient cultures had some sort of ritual sacrifice that was a part of their customs. The basic idea behind sacrificing an animal and presenting it to the Gods is a way to please them or thank them for their kindness.

Muslims offering of sacrifice originate from the command of Allah to do the duty to perform the annual pilgrimage as stated in Surah 22:27-28 “And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways; “That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of Allah, through the Days appointed, over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice): then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed ones in want.

Apart from the people of the scriptures offering sacrifice on animals, in the pre-Columbian era, there were human sacrifice in Mayan culture and this was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods. Then, blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Mayan deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering.

However, in all the rituals of sacrifice it is only human that make or offer sacrifice to a deity but not the other way around as any God is considered the Mighty and is the source of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual values. Thus, Gods obviously had never or will never make or sacrifice on His creators. Such is in Islam, Allah never did and will never do any sacrifice because He is God and as God Almighty, He is free of wants as stated in Surah 35:15 O ye men! It is ye that have need of Allah: but Allah is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise. In another verse of the Quran it is stated in Surah 31:26 To Allah belong all things in heaven and earth: verily Allah is He free of all wants, worthy of all praise. Thus, not only it is a falsehood to ascribe Allah to do sacrifice, He never even commanded His servants anytime or anywhere to offer human sacrifice in return for his salvation or any form of religious reparations.

On the contrary there is evidence that Yahweh, the God of the Israelites in the Bible commanded His servant to make a human offering in order to test how deep the servant’s love for his son compared of his love for God.

This is stated in Genesis 22:2 And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

If one were to compare this story of Abraham and his son in the Bible to that of the Quran, it is entirely a different perspective and situation as Allah has no part in demanding such devotion from Abraham to the extension of commanding him to sacrifice his son. In the Quran Abraham had a dream as stated in Surah 37:102 Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in my dream 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, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!”

The dream clearly stated that he was to sacrifice his son by putting the son’s head on the ground and that was the sight of the dream which he demonstrated as shown in Surah 37:103 “So when they had both submitted their wills, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice)”. This was the dream Abraham had and as can be seen from evidence in the Quran there is no such command from Allah to Abraham in his dream to sacrifice his son but the reason Abraham still proceed to sacrifice his own son is because his own soul that urged him to do so. The soul played an evil part is not a rare case as it happened in the example of Samiri who was the person responsible for the creation of the golden calf and his excuse when he was being asked he answered in Surah 20:95-96 Moses said: “What then is thy case, O Samiri?” He replied: “I saw what they saw not: so, I took a handful of dust from the footprint of the Messenger, and threw it into the calf: thus, did my soul suggest to me.” And in another example in the case of one of the sons of Adam in Surah 5:27-30 Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold! they each presented a sacrifice (to Allah) It was accepted from one, but not from the other. Said the latter: “Be sure I will slay thee.” “Surely,” said the former, “(Allah) doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous. “If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear Allah, the cherisher of the worlds. “For me, I intend to let thee draw on thyself my sin as well as thine, for thou wilt be among the companions of the fire, and that is the reward of those who do wrong.” The (selfish) soul of the other led him to the murder of his brother: he murdered him, and became (himself) one of the lost ones.

Nevertheless, the stories of Samiri and the sons of Adam in relation to that of Abraham give different outcome in that Allah did not stop Samiri or the son of Adam from what their soul urged them to do but He saved Abraham because Abraham was a good man. He was a good man in Surah 4:125 Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend. And in Surah 16:120 Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) true in Faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. Allah prevented Abraham of committing the sacrifice because he was a good man but penalised him to sacrifice an animal instead and in the Day of Judgment he will be rewarded as stated in Surah 37:104-111 We called out to him “O Abraham! “Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” – thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice: And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: “Peace and salutation to Abraham!” Thus, indeed do We reward those who do right. For he was one of our believing Servants. That was the dream Abraham had putting his son head on the ground to be sacrificed and Allah confirmed he had fulfilled his dream doing just that.

On the contrary the story was never a dream but the command from Yahweh was real, in Genesis 22:9-12 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, here am I. And he said, lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

As can be seen the God of the Bible gave real command to Abraham but later retract it while in the Quran it was only a dream of Abraham which his soul urge him to manifest but Allah prevented it considering he was a good man.

And in another incident in the Bible the Father, the God of the Christians instead of demanding a sacrifice from His servants as happened in Genesis 22:2 make a sacrifice Himself of His son Jesus to be crucified on the Cross to absorb the sins of sinners in this world as stated in John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. And Jesus was sacrificed was also mentioned in 1Corithians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

The Bible and the Quran therefore shows contrasting action of human and God in the origin of sacrifice for salvation which is the cleaning of the soul from sin and its consequences of sin and its effects to lead a pious life. The role of blood from the subjects of sacrifice is therefore treated differently by the various beliefs that leads to various rituals.

In the Bible blood plays a major role in the Old Testament. On the first Passover in Exodus 12:1-13, the blood of a lamb was posted on the top and sides of each door frame as a sign that death had already taken place, so the Angel of Death would pass over. And once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to offer a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people. The blood of a bull and of a goat was sprinkled on the altar. The life of the animal was poured out, given on behalf of the life of the people. When God cut a covenant treaty with his people at Sinai, Moses took the blood of oxen and sprinkled half of it on the altar and half on the people of Israel. (Exodus 24:6-8)

The Christian have a different notion is that blood signifies the supreme offering to God. God’s holiness and justice demand that sin be punished. The only penalty or payment for sin is eternal death. The offering of an animal and even our own death are not sufficient sacrifices to pay for sin. Atonement requires a perfect, spotless sacrifice, offered in just the right way. Jesus Christ, the one perfect God-man, came to offer the pure, complete and everlasting sacrifice to make payment for human sin. In the New Testament, the blood of Jesus Christ, therefore, becomes the foundation for God’s new covenant of grace. At the Last Supper, Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

However, in the Quran blood from sacrifices does not play an important role in any ritual as long the animals were slaughtered with the name of Allah being mentioned. Ultimately it is the meat that is distributed to feed the poor is the basis of the souls being purified as described in Surah 22:36-37 And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols of Allah; for you therein is good. So, mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus, have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful. Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus, have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that to which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good.

Asar