Discover more from Adventures of Bad Hijabi
Abraham’s Sacrifice - 3 narratives 1 truth
The Binding of Isaac or the Sacrifice of Abraham and Hagar as a guest in her story
I originally titled this piece Abraham was a D1ckbag because, when I started it a few days ago, I was having one of my days of rage at male humans, where I so clearly see the truth that’s been presented to me as distorted hypermasculine d1ckbaggery where men sit around being The Man and making decisions about The World of Humans Female People Knitted With Our Bodies and Hearts. I considered today for the first time—what is the test of that story and what if traditional exegeses got that wrong? I decided to focus on the fact that one story has 3 versions and each story serves a purpose and the story itself does too. Because we already know men can be d1ckbags who think their little swimmers have built empires when really their precious empires are build inside women’s bellies and hearts.
As I began writing I grew curious about the story and it’s variations. Being raised in a devoutly Catholic setting, I learned that [Catholic] version, quite violent and dramatic as Catholic lore tends to be. My dad, taught by Canadian Presbyterian Missionaries in Guyana, had more familiarity with the Old Testament than other Catholics around us and my upbringing reflected this. In Catholic high school we studied The Stone Angel, and in studying that book, learned about a bit of Hagar as a biblical figure. Still, my exposure to the fullness of the story of Abraham’s Sacrifice had definite contracted Catholic flavours. Yesterday and the day before I started researching the exegeses on the story of Abraham’s Sacrifice from the three Abrahamic religious traditions and took time to allow myself sink into contemplation about this body of literature.
This morning as I resumed my research I experience a mindset shift, one I felt throughout my body, in all three minds - head, heart, gut. Well, Abraham was a d1ckbag, wasn’t he? There’s no other way to read this story, no matter what POV you take — Judaic, Catholic, Qur’anic. Whatever happened at the sacrifice, whatever version you decide to go with, whomever you choose to believe is the progeny in question, Abraham fcukd up by letting Sarah order him to send Hagar away so she could protect Isaac’s inheritance. Reading Rabbi Danya Gutenberg I feel like my heart’s thinking on this story makes sense.
Abraham wasn't sure at first if this expulsion was a good move, but God tells him to heed Sarah's word -- which is pretty theologically troubling if you're troubled by the way this whole scene goes down. Leonard Fein, from what I understand, reads God, here, as being sarcastic -- like, this is so obviously a terrible idea, what kind of idiot would heed her word and go along with it?
Anyway, here’s the piece.
They horsesh1tted me about some stuff when I was a kid. Not deliberately. I don’t take it personally, that’s a form of self worship I try to avoid as much as possible. History has advanced sufficiently to reveal truth not known when my elders told me the stuff about Edward abdicating and Louis Mountbatten being heroic and Pope John Paul being a great bloke. We know the truth about these men and we know why the elders believed what they told us. So, growing up involves taking responsibility for sh1t now occupying my neural network. You know, like I take responsibility for what’s in my physical home. I just sorted my balcony a few days ago — put down the carpet, set the furniture right and prepared the sitting area for summer. That’s part of creating comfort and managing my stuff so it serves me and I do not serve it. What if my neural network is the same way — what if I am meant to take responsibility to weed that out too, to spring clean, to revise and update as needed?
I have decided I feel grown up enough to claim my right to call bullsh1t on, or at the very least challenge constructively, stuff I was told about the great heroes of the mythos of my Abrahamic religious culture. For a while now the story of The Binding of Isaac has weighed on my heart. Like The Passion of Christ did many years before when I struggled with the religious paradigm of my birth. Mothers — what of their deliberate suffering to move the narrative forward and sow seeds for a world in which arrogant men do sh1tty things to women in order to advance self interest and glory. What if this is all a load of hypermasculine horsesh1t created to let men have an empire of d1ckbaggery and use female people as their currency and d1ck bait?
Remember according to the theory of money, anything designated as currency necessarily has no or low intrinsic value, otherwise that would conflict with it’s use as a tool for exchange. So female people being the currency for society means society sees us as valueless. Our reproductive role as the purveyors of humanity sits directly at odds with our societal role as currency.
To live in a female body is truly an act of resistance and I am so fucking here for it.
Many years ago I asked a Bible study teacher in Abbotsford if Mary knew why she was giving birth to Jesus, ie did the Bible teacher think Mary new that Jesus was (according to Christian mythos) born to be slain in the most violent and cruel way, and that she would watch him be killed? It seemed like a cruel fuck you to someone who said YES to god in order to supposedly pay Eve’s debt. I never received a satisfactory answer from the Bible study teacher or anyone else I ever asked and I don’t know one exists in that Passion of Christ narrative timeline. That always disturbed me and I think it’s why Catholics developed a strange devotion to her. Projected guilt as a human phenomenon fascinates me.
Suffering mothers have a love-hate relationship with Easter Season because of the violence of the occasion. The Passion of Christ always felt like a violent assault on women via the motherhood of Mary. No amount of adoration of Mary by the Catholic faithful could make up for the cruel and violent narrative of the early propagandists - The Passion of Christ as taught to me in childhood has all the brutality and cruelty and carnage of the Mel Gibson film that shocked many. The rituals erected around Mary in general have a connection to the violent story of the execution of Jesus. We never acknowledge the cruelty, we over-emphasise the handmaid of the Lord narrative in the Catholic world. That’s the vision of female people the Catholic elite wished to create.
Now in my present tradition, Sufism/Islam, I am told that Jesus was spared and taken to God and that another body was crucified in His place in secret. It seems more palatable a myth to cling to—Mary did not toil to bring Jesus into the world for Him to teach The Golden Rule and Love Your Enemy as Yourself simply so He would end up fulfilling a silly violent plot point of stupid men who hate Jews and women, lust for a blood sacrifice, and want imperial domination. Can you not? That’s boring and dumb.
So, this post is about Abraham being a d1ckbag though. Yes I did say that didn’t I? Well, he is, that seems obvious. In one version of the story, he seems totes cool to just tie up Sarah’s boy and slaughter him or set him on fire or however they sacrificed animals back then because his god told him to do that. Then he sends Hagar into the desert with her young son to presumably die of thirst and heat. Sarah got jealous that her idea to give Abraham a son worked, when she finally had her own, Isaac, and so she asked Abraham to send Hagar and the kid away. Also—oh, god told him he could do that too cuz blah blah blah it will be ok. Oh, wow, that’s quite a tale many people are swallowing. Like, AYFKM? So, cry harder, Abraham did some d1ckbag stuff, he’s a d1ckbag.
Should we do a Bechdel test on the Abraham Story? Or on the Bible? Ahahahahahaha.
Ok I realise I am choosing to look at this story from a particular vantage point and that’s my intent—to be the mouse and not the eagle and not the star. I see this story through the cynical lens, having witnessed personally 7 years of the gender affirmation cult of terror rip through lives, families, communities, fundamental societal institutions, and nations.
The imperial machinery of society has decided It Knows Best and forces parents to submit their children to the Altar of Gender Affirmation Indoctrination. Well, Abraham started a trend by submitted to his god with his willingness to bind his son and kill him as an offering—to show his undying loyalty and obedience to god. So, parents buck up, Abe did it—or was prepared to— so can you. Sorry parents there’s no magical ram to save your kid in this real world scenario though. #ICallBullsh1tOnThisMorbidFantasy
I also see the story through the lens of my mother’s story, having watched her suffer her 2 daughters being taken from her and being told to let it go by the priest when she may have considered challenging the situation. The men in my family got together and concocted a plan that would suit their respective self-interests and expected my mother to forgo her interests as a mother and serve as a mother in theirs plan, she did because she loved my dad, and I don’t think she wanted to however the men, my dad included and especially, wanted particular things and they could only get that if she gave up what she wanted most. I didn’t see this until today, writing this.
My dad was instructed by his father to bring over his youngest sister, aged 13 at the time, from Guyana just a couple years after my grandmother died. He did so, in order for her to stay in Canada they had to adopt the girl. My mother’s ex forced her to sign over her own daughters and she was advised by all to do so in order that the international adoption go smoothly. That is what happened when I was around 6 and the girls came back from the states, where they were taken, and their step mother (who was very jealous of mum) showed up in our home and we would see her around town—was she stalking my mum, idk — and they would call my parents at night and threaten.
So, the men decided my mother should relinquish her claim to her daughters whom she wanted more than anything and she did that for the men to have their ridiculous plans unfold smoothly. And everyone around her complained she did not do enough. My mother’s life is an example of how men do not fcuking give any sh1ts about the sacrifices they ask women to endure for them, and fcuk men for that, including my dad. Yes, loving people means taking them down from the pedestal and seeing the sh1tty things they did and trying to wrap your head around it and move forward. Grieving for my dad, who died in 2017, has involved unpacking this sh1t because where there is an unbelievable hero story there is also things you didn’t see when you decided the hero story seemed good.
I find myself feeling pretty fcuking angry about this adoption thing and how it affected my mother’s children, myself included. It is so fcuking demented that this ever happened and we all thought it was okay. I never write about it or talk about it because it’s too fcukd. K died in a car crash in St. Alberta in 1993 and mum did not take it well. I don’t imagine anyone would, had they endured what she did to get that girl into this country and then had to sit at her funeral 20 years later as the enemy of all because she was so wounded by the grief she felt. No one thanked my mum for what she did for them and this causes me to see the Sukhan family and the entire Guyanese family in a new light. Our lives got turned upside down. That was an insignificant detail no one bothered with.
Anyway, that’s where my head lives right now, in that story of my mother’s life. And I am seeing the story of K, my dad’s sister, with fresh eyes right this minute as I write this essay on Saturday 18 March 2023 at 15.12 and it feels quite profound to me I could not see this perspective until my mother died and showed it to me herself in a way she could not when alive. So much it mattered to her to preserve my distorted naive thinking about how my dad was above reproach. A true mother who knew her children from their hearts, outward.
So now Abraham’s Sacrifice feels like an expression of how much humanity does not know the toil of motherhood or ever consider it, and how we forget that a child belongs to the mother first before the father, before the world. And yet here we have a story telling us God asked woman to help Him purvey humanity and He asks Abraham to sacrifice the kid to test obedience. This is such a SRY gene human way of thinking, menly men with men thinking about stuff. And women being the supply cabinet and incubator and penis rest stop and children being a special kind of currency for the special interests of men the seeding of their ideas.
That’s how I now see this story as told to me in childhood. I cannot unsee it. So I wonder how much of these stories exist to create a culture that imposes these expectations on human society about children and women. In Judaism and Catholicism it is The Binding of Isaac.
Abraham is asked by God in a dream to sacrifice his son, he binds the boy and begins to offer him as a sacrifice, we are told it is Isaac—God spares him at the last minute. According to one interpretation The Binding of Isaac happened after Sarah forced Abraham to send Hagar and Ismail out into the desert to die so Ismail would not have to share Isaac’s inheritance. After the sacrifice, in this version of the narrative Sarah meets an untimely death, apparently struck hard by what had happened to her son.
Rabbi Danya writes: What if the horror of being asked to tie your beloved son to the altar and slaughter him is really a punishment for Abraham's complicity and Sarah's heartlessness? What if it's a test to see if Abraham is, in a second situation, able to prioritize his son's well-being over everything else?
This would be the eye for eye perception of God, a perception I have rejected time and again in my life. Does God program the universe of humans this way? I cannot believe He does if I believe in what I say when I recite the Basmala, can I? I cannot see consequence as punishment, that contradicts Free Will. So, I cannot agree with the reasoning that Abraham was punished for sending Ismail away by being asked to sacrifice Isaac. How is this a God worthy of worship—Sarah sends away Hagar and her kid, out of jealousy and because she has that status and privilege to do so, and so God decides he’s going to put her kid on the sacrificial altar block? This would mean we are in charge and not God, if He is programming the universe based on our stupidity. See how this takes us into an unhelpful thought loop?
Interestingly, the Qur’an presents a different version of Abraham’s Sacrifice, somewhat more palatable, it’s still an asshole narrative tho because it ignores the mother. However in Islam, the story of Hagar and Zamzam stands as a kind of balance to the sacrifice story.
According to the Qur’an Surah 37 line 99 to 105, Abraham longed for a son and did not get one until a late age. That child is Ismail, son of Hagar, an Egyptian princess gifted to Abraham’s wife Sarah as a lady in waiting by the King of Egypt. CAN YOU ALL STOP CALLING HAGAR A SLAVE SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE IS EGYPTIAN KTHXBAI. When the Ismail reached the age of work, Abraham had a dream that he should sacrifice Ismail, he told Ismail and Ismail agreed to obey God’s will, at which time God stopped Abraham and rewarded him for his loyalty and announced to him Isaac’s birth. Sarah apparently got jealous after the birth of Ismail and made Abraham cast Hagar and Ismail into desert, where Hagar prayed and ran between the Safa and Marwa Hills 7 times looking for water, when the miraculous Zamzam well appeared after Gabriel showed up and struck his heel on a rock. Abraham continued to visit Hagar and Ismail and the sacrifice is said to have happened when Ismail was an adolescent.
So, according to the Qur’an, the boy on the altar block is Ismail and not Isaac, who did not exist yet. What if Rabbi Danya is right, and what if that was a test to see of Abraham would prioritise his child over all else, even a command that seemed to come from God Himself? What if saying, Hey God, AYFKM, me following your command is super fcukd how about nah bruh, because you gave me this child to guard with my life and I will do so is what God wants us to do? What if saying to God, oh you want me to tie him up, slaughter him and set him on fire god, sure thing I’ll get right on it is not REALLY obeying God?
But God told me to kill my kid … I was obeying. [Where else have I heard horsesh1t about following orders … hmmmm oh wait I remember now] Can you see how this sounds like it comes from someone who needs to be sectioned in an asylum for the criminally insane? It reminds me of the woman who believed her four year old son was Hitler when she drove a broom through his head many years ago.
Adventures of Bad Hijabi is a reader-supported publication. To support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.
God does not contradict Himself. Any contradictions are human interpretation of God, not God Himself. Contradictions emerge out of tribalism and other egoistic societal behaviour patterns. The human psyche is like boiling water when it comes to trying to know God— try to capture any reflection in boiling water and see how successful you are at that task.
So, why does the story have God asking Abraham in a dream?
Why doesn’t He ask Hagar? She is a guest in her own story.
Why are we doing this thing where God made the woman his helper in creation via childbirth and then completely ignores her and gets with the dude to do a thing with the kid which she made cell by cell and then pushed out at extreme pain to advance a moral lesson or prove His might like some insecure Mafia Don?
If eye rolls made a noise I could record them and you could listen hahahaha. Why is God always an insecure Mafia Don who treats women and children like currency for his Cosmic Sim City-Civilisation Game we are all living?
Like okay men, your empires are built in the hearts and bellies of female people but you can keep pretending you made this sh1t happen by yourselves.
Fuck that you insufferable wankers. This is why some women cannot stand you, y’know?
A mother would challenge God, wouldn’t she? I sure as fcuk would! No, I would not obey God if He asked me in a dream to slaughter one of my children to demonstrate my obedience to Him. I would have some choice words for God and maybe would invent some new profanity. Yes, I would defend my kid from God Himself. Because that’s my damn job! Fcuk dis, I would die in protest. If You See the Buddha in the Middle of the Road Kill Him comes to mind right now. Because God gave me the capacity to reason and choose and He expects me to use it! Blindly obeying anyone who orders me to kill my child because they say they speak for God seems like the opposite of obedience to God. Motherhood and safeguarding are the highest form of worship of God in my heart. Fight me on that, I am prepared to die on this hill.
Anyway, I yell at God, I am entirely honest with Him. LOL He already knows me! Pretending to be some Pollyanna muppet, ie LYING, is such a fcuking contemptible thing I will never do to anyone I deeply deeply love. Because to obey God means to obey the value of Love He taught us and that can only be lived and shown through other humans and our connection to them and not through blindly obeying ridiculous commands to destroy another to prove some Mafia Level Loyalty.