By MUSHTAQ HURRA
Every year, Muslims across the globe carry out the obligation of sacrifice on the 10th, 11th and 12th of Zil-Hajja to commemorate prophet Ibrahim’s ( Aliahi-salam) famous sacrifice when he tried to slaughter his beloved son Ismael ( Aliahi-salam) for the pleasure of Allah. Ibrahim’s (Aliahi-salam) absolute obedience and submission pleased Allah to the extent that HE sent a ram from heaven to be slaughtered in place of Ismael (Aliahi-salam), and thus rewarded His beloved slave and prophet with infinite and uncountable wages, rewards and mercies.
Allah is all free from humanly attributes . So our blood, flesh, money, food and other forms of charity won’t please Him until our intentions are pure and sincere. Purity of intentions is the basic pre-requisite for divinely acceptance. Religious rituals are mere rituals if our intentions are not pure and sincere. Religious rituals are meant to better our here and hereafter. Sacrifice of Eidul-Azha is one such religious ritual, and it has many aspects. i.e, Pleasure of Allah, obedience of parents, importance of uterine relationships, rights of neighbors, apportion of love and the spirit of sacrifice.
Progeny is the biggest and the dearest asset of parents that too when a man has to wait for 86 to get this blessing of Allah. Allah blessed Ibrahim (Aliahi-salam) with the first child at the age of 86 years. Now, how dearer and beloved was this child to his parents, can’t be exhibited in words. A son is considered to be the heir of a family , and the arms of parents in their oldage when our body organs begin to refuse work. Ismael Aliahi-salam was brought up with utmost care and love. He was dearer to his father than his own life. Since, Ibrahim Aliahi-salam was Allah’s prophet and beloved slave so Allah decided to test his slave’s love for his Lord. HE asked Ibrahim Aliahi-salam to slaughter his beloved son for His pleasure. Ibrahim Aliahi-salam lived up to the expectations of his Lord and decided to kill his son willingly for the sake of Allah’s commandment and pleasure. He Aliahi-salam forgot his affection for his son before Allah’s order. He took the sharper knife and tried to slaughter his son but Allah didn’t want him to kill his son. HE only wished to check his love and loyalty for his Lord. Allah swt sent a sacrificial animal from the heavens and asked Ibrahim Aliahi-salam to make a symbolic sacrifice. Here, the fact is proven that those who make absolute submission to the will of almighty Allah, are never left alone by Allah. Misfortunes are just divine trials which strengthen our faith in Allah.
Contemporary world is devoid of many human values. Disobedience of parents is prominent among them all. Parents are considered liabilities, and treated very badly. They are left at the mercy of Allah in their oldage. Children hardly bother to live with their old parents rather they send them to oldage homes. Eidul-Azha teaches us the real spirit of parental obedience. When Ibrahim Aliahi-salam told Ismael Aliahi-salam about Allah’s commandment, Ismael Aliahi-salam pleasingly replied that his father will find him among the most obedient people in the world. He asked his father to cover his eyes with a strap so that paternal love and affection won’t weaken his hands.The unprecedented and unparalleled subordination is still an epitome of obedience and submission to the will of a father. I don’t think world can produce such a glorifying example of obedience. The great obedience made Allama Iqbal to say , “ ( Yeh Faizan-i-Nazar Thaa Ya Ki Maktab Kee Karaamat Thee, Sikhayay Kis Nay Ibraheem Ko Aadabi Farzandi ) Was it a favour of blessed eyes or a miracle of books, that taught Isma-eel the manners of a son. Ismaeel’s (Aliahi-salam) patience and endurance is the greatest lesson for all sons and human progeny of the world, irrespective of their religious affiliations. We need fathers like Ibrahim Aliahi-salam to produce Ismaels on the planet. Ironically, when the upbringing of a son is made in accordance with Pharaonic principles, how can we expect Ismaels to be produced in our homes and societies. Virtues are inculcated through proper education and training, subject to legitimate earnings. If the earnings are illegal, unfair and illegitimate, then don’t anticipate Ismaels to be born in our homes.
Another vital aspect of Eidul-Azha is the importance of uterine relationships and the rights of neighbors. The Quran and prophet Mohammad Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam has urged Muslims to take care of their neighbors and relatives. Greed and avarice has already washed off the values and morals from our hearts . The advent of technology has done the rest. Our high fences erected around our houses have blindfolded our eyes to see the plight and miseries of our neighbors.
Sacrificial flesh of Eidul-Azha, in the light of divine laws and Islamic jurisprudence, is not wholly and solely eaten by the owner , rather is equally distributed among relatives and neighbors. The distribution of flesh removes our grudges against one another and purifies our hearts. It instills virtues like brotherhood and sympathy in our hearts. These flesh cuts are not the mere pieces of meat and beef rather the magical antidotes which free our hearts from the vices like jealousy and hatred. It fills our hearts with love, goodwill and sympathy.
The flesh brings joys on melancholic faces of poor and destitute. Those who are not in a position to prepare flavorous feasts and cuisines for their children, get a chance to feed their families well. The most beautiful hands are those which bring smiles on sad faces. Allah will surely ask about our wealth, property, money and all other endowments. Even non-Muslim neighbors are not deprived from the flesh of Eidul-Azha. Once, beloved prophet Mohammad Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam performed sacrifice of a goat, and his Companion Abu-Zar Gaffari Radi-Allahu Anhum distributed the flesh. When Abu-Zar Gaffari Radi-Allahu Anhum returned back, prophet Mohammad Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam said to him, “ Abu-Zar , did you give the flesh to those two households “. Allah’s beloved prophet Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam repeated the same enquiry three times , and every time, Abu-Zar Gaffari’s ( Radi-Allahu Anhum) answer was yes.This special enquiry added to the curiosity of Abu-Zar Gaffari and he said, “ O ! Allah’s beloved prophet ( Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam), why did you ask me about those two particular families only that too multiple times”. Allah’s beloved prophet Salallahu-alaihi-wasalam replied, “ Abu-Zar, those two families are not Muslims, they are Jews, rest of the neighbors are Muslims”.
This is the real spirit and message of Eidul-Azha. It is not all about wearing new and precious clothes, sprinkling perfumes and scents, preparing veg and non-veg cuisine, eating pastries, biscuits and sweet bakery products, having hugs with friends at Eid-gah rather the real meaning and message of Eidul-Azha is the apportionment of love and affection. If our sacrifices are based on pomp and pride, then it is the mere wastage of time and money. Our every action and deed must be to please our Lord. Allah knows our intentions, and if there is no sincerity and honesty in our intentions then we can’t win His pleasure. Blood and flesh is not sufficient to win his consensus. Many non-Muslim celebrities like Roger Federer, Christiano Ronaldo, Steve Waugh and many others carry out philanthropic and charitable works of great magnitude but their gestures can’t be equivalent to such gestures of pure sincerity though their works are commendable and appreciable at their own place but sincerity adds beauty to such acts. No name or fame is required for a true Muslim to perform any charitable gesture.
Eidul-Azha instills the spirit of sacrifice among Muslims. According to Islamic jurisprudence, the sacrificial animal of Eidul-Azha must not possess any defect or deformity. It must not be very weak rather plump and fleshy . Weak or defective ones are not preferred for the great cause. The corpulent animal is dearer to its owner so it’s sacrifice is prioritized. Thus, this important religious obligation teaches us to offer our dearest things in the way of Allah . We will be surely rewarded for it. May Allah purify our hearts and intentions, and may this Eid bring unending joys, happiness and peace to the world in general and to Muslims in particular who are languishing in multiple misfortunes across the globe.
The writer is a Teacher and Columnist.He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org