Yesterday was Qurban--the Festival of Sacrifice--in the Muslim world. It is a day to remember the sacrifice that Abraham made on Mount Moriah. Islam teaches that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, that was placed on the altar that day.
The idea of a substitutionary sacrifice--whether the death of a ram in Isaac's place or the death of Jesus Christ in our place--has no acceptance in Muslim theology. It is all about works.
We were out yesterday to take Hannah Grace to the doctor, and passed herd after herd of sheep being prepared for slaughter. Those who can afford it are expected to purchase a sheep and have it butchered. They must then share a portion of the meat with those who are too poor to buy their own.
One prominent cleric was lamenting the fact that most people in this country have lost "the essence of Qurban". For them, it's a day of feasting. For butchers, it's a day of price gouging. Few people take time to remember the "real meaning" of this holiday. Sound familiar?
As believers, of course, we would love to help them understand the true essence of Sacrifice. In many parts of the Muslim world yesterday, the streets ran red with the blood of sacrificial sheep. Needlessly.