Let's celebrate Eid

But we must not forget the lesson such occasions teach us



On the occasion of Eidul Azha today, obviously it’s time to wish Eid Mubarak to all. On this auspicious day a billion plus Muslims all over the globe will be in festive mood. However one wishes the observance of this holy moment to be in true spirit of Islam. Of course festivals are happy occasions those need to be commemorated joyfully. Yet all the Islamic festivals provide a real opportunity to worship and glorify the Omnipotent and Omnipresent the most merciful Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala (SWT). The Eidul Azha particularly reminds us of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim Alaihis Salam (AS). As we all know that Ibrahim AS, blessed with a son Ismail at a ripe old age, through a dream was commanded by his creator to sacrifice his beloved son. Without questioning---what we often describe as intellectualising in order to escape an unpleasant situation without any harm---- the will of the God the old Prophet led his son towards the altar.
A command to sacrifice a precious human life---every (innocent) human life is sacred by all means--- certainly defies the law of nature.  Moreover a divine commandment to an old father to slaughter his only adolescent son naturally is an unusual direction. Even so Ibrahim AS without rationalising the seemingly irrational command readily submitted himself before the will of Allah SWT. As Quran clearly states that DO MEN THINK that on their [mere] saying, “We have attained to faith”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test? Ibrahim AS was put to test rather to a severe what can be easily described to a near impossible test; the blessed Prophet succeeded his hour of trail. More than three million faithful draped in all white assembling at the holiest of the holy place for Hajj and chanting in one voice; Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik, La Shareek Laka, Labbaik. Innal Hamdah, Wan Nematah, Laka wal Mulk, La Shareek Laka--- Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners---- is [duly] reminiscent of that great sacrifice. This is the greatest reward that the men of faith even after thousands of year’s having been passed, still most reverentially remember the act of that supreme sacrifice. This is the answer to the prayer of Ibrahim AS: Grant me honourable mention on the tongue of the truth, Among the latest (generations).     
Besides the Hajj, millions and millions of faithful (not part of the grand assembly at Makkah), also offering animal sacrifices, is an attempt not only to remember that act of great sacrifice but also to submit before the will of the Allah in their own little humble way. However in the post modern era this noble act seems to have become a simple observance of a ritual that apparently sans all piety. Quran is very clear about the fact that “It is not their meat Nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety That reaches Him”.  Piety, what does that connote? We the materialistic people have come to realize that just shedding of animal blood and relishing the flesh of sacrificial animal is all that’s required in the name of offering a sacrifice. What piousness has to do with an animal sacrifice? If that means selecting a fat and appealing animal, we seem to do that rather dutifully?  In case that still is not enough, disgustingly we may wonder, what suffices the needful. 
 Piety in real essence signifies complete submission before will of the God; to follow obediently that is ordained and to shun devotedly what is asked for. Purity of thought and action both only makes a good deed. Harmony of (good) thought and action in all the spheres of life, public or private and overcoming deep contradictions between inner and outer self, is the beginning of a pious life.  Since modern thought processes emphasise separation of religion from the public life; consequently we have fully compartmentalised our life into public and private; secular and religious. Therefore piety seems to have become a redundant thought. As a result, what we learn and what we earn is now fully separated from that we are ordained for. Therefore now desires lords our lives and we resemble with the person whom Quran describes as “Hast thou ever considered [the kind of man] who makes his own desires his deity?” And for people like these Quran categorically states “Nay, they are but like cattle - nay, they are even less conscious of the right way!” Piety is for the conscious minds and not for the cattle desires. In the absence of piety of what significance our animal sacrifices are? A morsel of food consumed, which is earned through doubtful means makes even the good deeds suspect for forty days. Since we have entirely lost a distinction between fair and unfair means of earning the livelihood, we need to ponder over the fact; of what use our rituals are?

(Feedback at firdoussyed@yahoo.com)

Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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