SHAH KHALID

The Message of Eid-ul-Adha

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1439 Al-Hijri of the Islamic calendar is coming to an end and the Muslims all over the world are preparing to celebrate Eid ul-Adha “Feast of the Sacrifice”. There are traditions incorporated into the celebrations, but for many it is a time for holiness and spirituality-for focusing on mind, body and soul. It’s an opportunity to reflect on achievements and “pay it forward”, by demonstrating gratitude and extending a helping hand to others who need it. Eid ul-Adha is about striving to become a better person.

This blissful day is lit up with the radiance of refreshed spirituality that lights up every parched soul on the day of Eid. The sea of worshippers at the Eidgah, the sounds of Takbeer, Tahmeed and Tahleel (words of praises to God) are reverberating.The mutuality between complete strangers when they greet one another like brothers enliven one’s soul and add to the spirituality of the day.  What with getting ready for the prayers, dressing up in new clothes, visiting the Eid-Gah and offering prayers in congregation with family and friends, purchasing a cattle head from the cattle market, slaughtering the animal, distributing a part of the meat to the poor and the needy and carrying the rest to home where it would be further fractionated and distributed amongst close friends and relatives.

The Holy Quran repeatedly emphasizes the obedience shown by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) to God’s commandments as Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) emerges successfully through every test that God places for him before honouring him with the title of “leader of mankind”. A Muslim is reminded of his “father” who chooses to be exiled from his home and hometown but refuses the unholy calls to worship other than the one true God. The pure monotheistic words of his “father” resound in his ears “Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah (SWT),“The Lord of the world” whilst running his knife across the neck of the animal. Muslims remind themselves of their submission to God. They do not seek to slaughter animals solely for the sake of satisfying the whims of their tummy, but also care for the less privileged members of the society for whom meat is a luxury.

Eid ul Adha mentions the honour of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), and his willingness to sacrifice his son to show submission to Allah’s command. Just when Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) was about to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ishmael (PBUH), Allah (SWT) sent his angel Gabriel who replaced Hazrat Ishmael (PBUH) with a ram. From this day forward marks Eid-ul-Adha. During Eid-ul-Adha, the community also loves to showcase some fantastic, often colourful, clothing. “It’s a chance for everyone to put on our best outfits and wear something new. The significance of this day is purely spiritual which brings rejoicing and happiness. However the rejoicing is not at the departure of the day of Eid; it is the happiness which man feels after successfully completing an important task of Scarifies.

According to recent statistics, India suffers from two types of malnutrition: under nutrition and over nutrition. According to world hunger report, India ranks 20th globally in terms of mal-nutrition. About 50% of its children below 5 years suffer from stunted growth while a much higher fraction “suffer” from obesity. According to a UNICEF statistic report, half of the deaths in India below 5 years of age are due to under nutrition. The other stark side is too obnoxious to hear. India ranks 3rd globally in terms of the number of obese individuals (preceded only by US and china). In the words of Scott Fitzgerald, “the rich become richer and the poor beget children” rendering them to remain poor causing the gap to widen further. One practical approach to bridge this gap between the two factions is the day of Eid. If the 41 million obese of India were to open their doors and welcome the poor at their tables sharing 1/3 of their sacrificial meat on the day of Eid, the results if not completely would definitely be somewhat fruitful and at least create a healthy social atmosphere

We are all familiar with this fact, that the Kashmir valley had witnessed the dangerous othering, as scores of protests and clashes erupted in various towns and villages across valley, leads to loss of many lives and various families have lost their single bread owner. The prevailing gloomy situation of the state had far missed the real sprit of Eid, because of atrocities and cruel behaviour against common people. The present conflict, daunting, chaos, uncertainty, and strife torn situation among the people of Jammu and Kashmiris a major concern. But this gracious occasion of Eid-ul-Adha provides a platinum opportunity to overcome this miserable situation, if the wishes and aspiration of people of Jammu and Kashmir should be welcomed as a goodwill gesture on Eid-ul-Adha.

The message of Eid ul Adha is having a forgiveness of sins from Almighty ALLAH (SWT). So it is the time for the people to pledge to sacrifice something more like morsel of food to feed a widow, and orphan. Let it be a small toy for a crying orphan, so the celebrations of this auspicious occasion become meaningful. We all should go and destitute to offer Eid greeting to needy persons and those who have loosed their loved ones during this conflict. There are two main messages enshrined in the philosophy of Eid ul Adha.Worship of ALLAH, and the realisation of the pains and sorrows of other human beings.

There are many in this world, who have to suffer the pangs of thirst and hunger on a regular basis. This realisation is supposed to make a believer empathise and sympathise with the less fortunate, and should make a believer spend more of his money on charity, in order to benefit those who are lacking. Eid is a continuation of this message as well, and a reminder that the philosophy of the month of this day needs to be adopted throughout the rest of the year as well.

Eid ul Adha has high spiritual renewal, sense of fulfilment, and moral features. We know Eid is an occasion of celebration and happiness. Eid is not a formal custom, instead an auspicious day and a divine gift from Almighty ALLAH (SWT) for the people. Eid-ul-Adha is a time of joy, reflection, sacrifice and contemplation. Let us forget about the differences, forge unity and jointly celebrate this Eid with religious fervour with those who have suffered most. “The joy is too scared with others and when joy is shared with others it doubles”.May ALLAH the Almighty enable us to understand the true philosophy and spirit of Eid-ul- Adha!

(Shah Khalid is a freelance Journalist)

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