BY REHMAT MAQBOOL NADAF
The Almighty swears by the ten days of Zul-Hijjah in Surah Fajr, a chapter of the holy Quran and this points towards the ten days of this month Eid-ul- Zuha. The holy pilgrimage at Mecca ends with a sacrifice to be done within three days. The age-old practice of sacrificing for the sake of Almighty is made sacrosanct and ritualised as a sheer remembrance of a holy act demonstrating selfless love and faith by the beloved Prophet Ibrahim (AS). The story of how the revered Prophet readily accepted to sacrifice his only son for the sake of Allah is known to all. This act definitely attracted divine mercy and an animal was instead sacrificed at the altar. The Creator above made this event or act of sacrifice of a beloved ceremonial and to be performed by the entire community every year in this holy month of pilgrimage till end of times. This heart touching incident of faith and devotion centuries later became symbolic of man's selfless love and unflinching trust in his Creator. Every home has a little lamb or a goat tied up in the backyard where the little creature is fed and nourished. As a small child I remember how the entire family was always around this sacrificial animal, caring, feeding it, playing with it or simply talking to it. But after couple of days the little lamb leaves the family for the purpose. Unknown of the wisdom and reason, I always cried while my little lamb was taken away. Small tears of childhood were symbolic of one thing at that age a feeling of innocent love for a beloved member and losing it forever. Years later I realised the real intent and reward behind this traditional practice. But sadly, this is not the scene in the modern world today.
We are busy complaining about the heat of the season, the rising prices, the weekend plans, the heavy traffic on roads, our discharged devices and list of guests and so on. We are busy with lifestyle issues and fail to realise our Life goals. Our self-obsessed lives have trivialised such a pious festival which was actually meant to realise our role and existence vis-a-vis our Creator. The glare and noise of this world further overshadows the reason for its auspicious celebration. The motive is lost when the animal to be sacrificed reaches home just a day before the day of sacrifice. Let alone any emotion being attached to the creature, making space for it for the night is a big trouble. Most of the members of the household are even unaware of this guest for the night. Kids are busy on entertainment channels and hardly share any experience of the entire practice. The act of sacrifice was revered by the Creator of the world and immortalised for the human world to be celebrated with vigour and a certain emotion. But we the masters of the material world have belittled it by mechanical chopping off of the heads of animals in the name of Allah. The whole exercise of nurturing a living creature, caring and feeding it and then giving it away arouses an entire gamut of emotions and these emotions build up to strengthen our belief in faith in the ultimate decree of the Almighty Allah. When the animal arrives at the last minute or is being sacrificed unseen without the knowledge of the whole family, the entire practice loses its relevancy.
This fails to bring forth the chain of emotions, thoughts, feelings for which this Qurbani or sacrifice was primarily ceremonialised. You will agree, most of the younger lot is unaware of the sanctity and its relevance in life. And that which follows, that is, after sacrificing the animal the meat is distributed among the community. This establishes a sense of identity, belongingness and concern for one and all. This act too is robbed of its real reward as the meat is formally and hurriedly distributed without any interest. Post sacrifice, the hides and the offal disposition is done carelessly as people often dump the remains in nearby water bodies or at roadsides polluting the environment and portraying the sacred act in poor light. This also invites stray dogs and there is a street war for the remains. This could lead to diseases and invite more trouble if we do not adopt a responsible attitude towards disposing off the hides and offal. This could be done by burying the remains deep under earth or utilizing the facilities provided by the administration for proper scientific disposal and collection of hides.
The Master of the magnificent throne, the even heavens and the countless stars above has commanded a certain act to be done for the community on earth. This cannot be without reason. What reaches God Almighty is not the meat and flesh of the sacrifice but our intent. Our obedience, our trust, our sense of dependency on the creator are revived in a way. If performed without realising for which it was formalised is being insensitive and ignorant of its worth. The modern world with its socio-economic disparity issues all over the globe has an ancient world solution. Only if Eid ul Zuha is celebrated as it was meant to be, the charity being thoroughly and meticulously distributed, many unfed, poor, deprived, homeless people would also celebrate this day like others. This act of charity would truly please the best planner of the world in real sense if it brings in inclusiveness and wholistic concern for the society. These divinely designed festivals have practical solutions at the core. An insight and forethought may add more meaning for all our festivities.
Author is Kashmir based Karnataka origin, presently Assistant director tourism J&K
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.