“In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful”
Eid-ul-Azha—-Moral of the Story
By Umme Muhammed
“‘O Rabb! Grant me a righteous son’.
So We gave him the good news of a gentle son.
When he reached the age to work with him, Ibraheem said to him,
‘O my son! I have seen a vision that I should offer you as a sacrifice, now tell me what is your view.’
He replied, ‘O my father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, Insha Allah, amongst the patient.’
So when they both submitted to Allah and Ibraheem laid down his son, prostrate upon his forehead for sacrifice…
We called out to him, ‘O Ibraheem, stop!
You have fulfilled your vision.’
And so do We reward the righteous.
It was indeed a manifest test.
We ransomed his son for a great sacrifice and We left his good name among the later generations.
Salutations to Ibraheem.
This way We reward the righteous.
Surely he was one of Our believing devotees.”
[The Holy Quran, Surah As’Saffat, Verses 100-111]
Prophet Ibraheem AS was very special to Allah Almighty. He became so special to Allah Almighty because he proved himself every time Allah Almighty tested him for faith, loyalty and commitment to Allah Almighty. So much so, that Allah Almighty Himself titled him Khalil’ullah, meaning Friend of Allah.
The greatest test he stood through was when Allah Almighty inspired him to sacrifice his son for the sake of Allah Almighty. It was truly the biggest test, ever, from the beginning to the end of times. Prophet Ibraheem AS went ahead to do it, because of the trust he had in Allah Almighty.
Prophet Ibraheem AS had been childless till the age of eighty-five. Allah Almighty heard the distress of his wife and inspired her, “Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ismael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.” Prophet Ibraheem AS thus named his son, Ismael, meaning ‘God shall hear’, for indeed God did hear.
Then, Prophet Ibraheem AS was tested by this very blessing. He was inspired by Allah Almighty to place his beloved wife and son in the barren valley of Becca, now called Makkah. At that time, the land was devoid of water, plantation and humans. Even the Holy Ka’bah had been demolished since the Flood of Noah AS and the family of Prophet Ibraheen AS knew not the great place to which they had been returned and entrusted to.
Hajrah AS asked Prophet Ibraheem AS in a voice torn with emotions, ‘Who are you entrusting us to in this barren valley?’ Prophet Ibraheem AS said nothing except pointing towards the Heavens. Obedient as Hajrah was to Allah Almighty, said no more.
It were the thirsty cries of this baby, Prophet Ismael AS, that welled up the Holy Water, Zam Zam, in this barren valley. The baby cried and cried, his heels kicking against the silent soil of the reverent valley of Becca. And the struggle of a great mother, Hajrah AS, who ran between two high points of the desert, not one, not two, not three, but seven times in her relentless faith that Allah Almighty shall show her a way.
Allah Almighty loves people who have faith in Him, who struggle in His way and do not give up in their struggle for Him. Allah Almighty hence made the struggle of this lady a compulsory ritual amongst the rituals of Hajj, the Saye of Safah and Marwah, in remembrance of her trust and patience for the Pleasure of Allah Almighty and a guidance for behaviors for the rest of the mankind.
This great family was tested yet again, the test we Muslims conceptualize every year upon Eid-ul-Azha. It is the concept of sacrificing your beloved for the sake of Allah Almighty when called for, whence Allah Almighty never actually harms you, but only purifies you of base desires, fortifies you for good and whatever happens ultimately, is for the best.
Prophet Ismael AS had reached the loveable age of running around and speaking when Prophet Ibraheem AS was inspired to sacrifice him for the sake of Allah Almighty. Prophet Ibraheem AS conferred with his son as to what he thought of the idea. Prophet Ibraheem AS found his son, son of a great father and son of a great mother, to be great himself. He listened carefully, remained steadfast and encouraged his father upon Allah Almighty’s Will.
Only, having sympathy for his father’s fatherly feelings, he suggested him to tie a blindfold upon his eyes so that he may not waver from his sacrifice while sacrificing him. Thus Prophet Ismael AS lied down, the blindfold was tied on Prophet Ibraheem’s eyes and the knife was brandished. In an eerie silence, the Earth awaited and the Skies looked on and the knife was slaked…
And behold! Prophet Ismael AS stood by Prophet Ibraheem’s side, smiling and well, and in his place lay a sheep, slaughtered, sent from the Heavens.
Moral of the Story; we should seek newer recipes each year to cook the meat that comes from the ‘sacrifice’ we make for the ‘pleasure’ of Allah Almighty upon Eid-ul-Azha.
Does that sound correct? But is this not what we exhibit each year of our understanding of Eid-ul-Azha? I swear, every channel showing public comments depicts this. Its all about food, clothes, fun and frolic. The great sentimental story of Prophet Ibraheem AS has simply boiled down to our base desires. As a nation, we have become so shallow in our conceptual understanding that this is all that we can do.
We no longer understand that rituals are basically a physical exhibit of a much greater concept, an ideology, an abstraction. Rituals are not meant to be carried out like the gibberish of fake spiritual mentors. Rituals are a physical expression of faith, but they must carry a practical concept with itself. Else, our rituals are just like a dead body, whence its spirit has deserted it.
The purpose of celebrating Eid-ul-Azha every year was to inculcate in ourselves the trust of Prophet Ibraheem AS, the obedience of Prophet Ismael AS and the struggle of Hajrah AS, because:
“Do they not see that they are tested every year once or twice? Yet they neither repent nor learn a lesson from this.” [The Holy Quran, Surah At-Tauba, Verse 126]
Sacrifice is ultimately rewarded, and gives nations reasons to celebrate.
But if we do not understand this equation, we are no better than cattle who just see fodder and rejoice to eat it. It does not matter how many we trample on the way.