Welcoming the Season of Sacrifice

To sacrifice your own child could easily be argued as one of the ultimate sacrifices one can make.

By Shefa Ahsan, Filmmaker, Photographer, and Storyteller, Penny Appeal USA

Welcoming The Season of Sacrifice 

To sacrifice your own child could easily be argued as one of the ultimate sacrifices one can make. 

That was the case for Prophet Ibrahim (AS), when he had a jarring dream where he was commanded to sacrifice his own son Ismael (AS). Despite the pain of doing something like this to their own child – a thought no parent could bear – Ibrahim (AS) was devoted to Allah (SWT) and went through with the act, after the solace and encouragement of Ismael (AS) himself. After putting a blindfold on and going through the act, he took it off afterwards only to realize that his son Ismael (AS) was safe, and instead of his place lay a ram!

That is why during this blessed month, the theme of sacrifice is on the mind of many Muslims. Here are three ways we can all reflect on the theme of sacrifice:


Sacrifice and Faith: 

The highest form of sacrifice is one that we do for Allah. Islam itself means submission. So when it comes to our faith, there are many things that we can be doing or giving up to become better people. We can ask ourselves what are things that we probably know we should give up, knowing that it’s better for us and that Allah will give us much more than what we gave up. Sometimes it doesn’t always have to be bad habits or wrong deeds, it can also be things we are tested with, such as our time and our money that we sacrifice for Allah whether that be through donations or time spent in prayers and devotion.


Sacrifice and People: 

Sacrifice is also a form of love. We all know that when we care about people in our lives, we often make sacrifices for them. For example, for some of us, our parents gave up things for our betterment. Now, we can ask ourselves what we’re willing to give up for their sake. Additionally, it can be anyone in our life – siblings, friends, even in the workplace and ask ourselves what we’re willing to give up for them. To take it a step further, to give to people you don’t even know is a higher sense of compassion and sacrifice. Giving your money to those who need it or are less fortunate is the embodiment of selflessness.


Sacrifice and Yourself: 

While the above two forms of sacrifice involve other people, one of the biggest forms of sacrifice is for our own betterment. What can we sacrifice, what can we do to strip ourselves of our ego, and transform into the best versions of ourselves for the sake of Allah? That can look like many different things for different people. For some, it means letting go of our money and donating it to people who could benefit a lot more than us. For others, it means being patient and calm in situations where we would normally get angry and let out our anger. This is the month that forces us to look within ourselves and find the areas that we can improve on. 

Even in my own life, I can’t begin to list all the times sacrifices have found their way inside it. And every single one of them has been worthwhile. Whether it was giving the gift of a hundred bill that I was saving for something and legitimately getting it back the next day through something else, or giving up my time and then finding out later on that I got way more than I gave up, whatever you give up for Allah’s sake, will come back to you equally or even more. 

He says Himself, “He will replace whatever you spend for his cause and He is the best Sustainer.” (Qur’an 34:39)

While this is not an exhaustive list of the different forms of sacrifice, it’s a starting place to get the wheels in our head turning, so when the month of Dhul-Hijjah arrives we’ll be able to act with full steam and embody the essence of sacrifice is selflessness, compassion, and sincerely. May we all reach deep down inside of us and become the best version of ourselves. 

Let us know your thoughts and ask yourself—what are you willing to sacrifice? 

Make a BIG Difference

Through Penny Appeal USA’s Thirst Relief programs, we’re providing safe water to enable communities to drink, wash, clean and irrigate their crops as well as hydrate their animals. Our Thirst Relief programs lead to healthier lives, better-educated communities, and a route out of poverty. 

While donors are most familiar with our hand pump and deep wells, we are encouraging donors to learn about and contribute to our more sustainable Thirst Relief programming, such as our Solar Panel Water and Power Centers. 

This amazing technology is a complete facility shared by a village and uses solar energy for its power source. Within a village, we build a water tanker with faucets connected to solar panels. These panels work under low light conditions at reduced power without stalling or overheating. 

With Solar Panel Water and Power Centers, the process is all automated through an internal motor that is powered via the sun’s solar energy. Since the wells are in the sun-drenched desert, there is never a shortage of sunlight and these make great investments because:

  • There is no need for fuel or electricity, making the wells ideal for rural communities
  • There is low maintenance cost and easy to operate
  • The panels, converters, and batteries that store the energy can survive up to 25 years, therefore, ensuring the sustainability of water access

The purpose of the solar wells is to provide safe drinking water through solar energy which will provide a water supply to public places through pipes and gravity. By allowing accessible water supply to local public places, women and children no longer have to walk miles to access water from neighboring villages. 

While these do require a higher investment ($30,000 per Center), building this structure ensures long-term safety and clean drinking water for the whole community! Traditional Wells require women and children to spend hours pulling levies to fetch water. Fetching water in the > 100°F weather is extremely exhausting for women and children, who are often burdened with the task. 

Solar Wells automate the process, supplying electricity to an internal motor that pulls water up from beneath the ground with the simple turn of a faucet, supplying more people with clean water in less time. Both women and children now have time to focus on other priorities! Children can spend more time learning, while women can tend to their vegetation and other forms of economic independence. 

Moreover, traditional Wells are often “open” tops, causing dirt to infect the water which could lead to water-borne diseases. Our solar-powered wells are “closed” meaning nothing (and nobody) can fall into the water system accidentally.

Finally, runoff from the Solar Powered Well System collects in a pool directly outside the gates of the facility, allowing animals to drink from it and for it to be used to feed villagers’ crops. 

These incredible feats of engineering not only provide running water to the homes of up to 1,500 people and 1,000 livestock but also supply electricity and power to schools and places of worship as well. Placed in desert areas, the Solar Water Panel and Power Center can fill a reservoir that holds three days’ worth of water to ensure they don’t go without it on those cloud-covered days.

It’s a humanitarian’s dream come true! You can learn more about our Solar Panel Water and Power Centers on our website