EidulAdha: Sacrifice for Nearness and Pleasure of Allah
Take a moment to look back and imagine reaching the age when man took the first step in the world. Yes, this is the age of Adam (AS) and Mother Eve. Man was still new in this world and had not yet seen another human being die because no human being had died yet. Imagine for a second how would have been the life going at that time. But suddenly a dispute arose between Adam’s two sons, Haabeel and Qabeel. It was decided that a sacrifice should be made for the sake of Allah and the decision will go in his favour whose sacrifice will be accepted. The two brothers thus offered sacrifices on their own and God accepted Haabeel’s sacrifice only.
So, the decision was in Habeel’sfavour. Qabeel was burned with jealousy and this fire caused the loss of first human life. Man endured the tragedy of human death for the first time and that too in the form of murder. If we consider this tragedy, we will know that behind it was the interference of desires. Qabeel was wrong and he knew it well that had he sacrificed his desires, the matter would have ended here, but it did not happen. It conveyed the message that sacrifices are accepted only when it is offered sincerely and only for the sake of Allah. Whatever is presented to Allah for the fulfilment of unjust desires will be rejected because it is devoid of sincerity.
Now that you have gone back in time, let’s take a look at another scene. Here a father is telling his eldest son that I have been commanded by Allah to sacrifice my dearest thing to him. Now the sweetest and dearest thing in my possessions is the children that were given to me in my old age by Almighty Allah. The obedient son replied, if it is Allahs command, then there should be no second thought, Insha Allah you will find me patient and thus offered himself for sacrifice. This is the same son whom his father Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) had left alone with his mother in the desert by the command of Allah and to quench his thirst in the desert there was no water to wet the lips.
When this innocent Ismaiel rubbed his feet due to thirst, a spring of water gushed from the ground. Now that he was young and able to support his mother, his father came with another God’s command. However, while Hazrat Ibrahim was offering the sacrifice of his beloved son Hazrat Ismail, Allah replaced him with ram (mandha) and in this way sacrifice was accepted. In fact, the sacrifice was a dialogue between father and son. Allah liked this act of His close servants so much that He prescribed sacrifice for all the believers who came after them. It has been decided that every person should sacrifice a cattle in the presence of Allah according to his ability so that he can become close to Allah.
Now move out back of the past, and have a look at present. Take a look around you and explore the happenings and life around. Animal Fairs will be seen everywhere with great hustle bustle and decorations at various places. People will be seen touching these cattle and asking their prices as Eid-ul-Adha is approaching and all these animals are decorated for sacrificing. Buyers are roaming but are shocked to hear the prices of these cattle which are sky rocketing. A large number of people feel delighted to see the sacrificial animals and looks at them with lustful eyes but usually return back home with disappointed faces because of the high prices. After watching these scenes, it seems that the purpose of sacrifice in the case of cattle traders is not to gain nearness to Allah but to take advantage of the compulsion of the people on this occasion to earn many times more profit.
Now look at the other side of the picture. Most of the people who come to buy cattle examine the animal in the same way as the butchers do. The flesh found in the animal is calculated, although the Almighty has already made it clear that neither blood nor flesh reaches to Him. He decides whether to accept or reject the sacrifice only on the basis of sincerity and devotion of sacrificer. The appetite for food is so high that it is planned in advance which dishes to prepare. A lot of money is spent on buying other items for them. The prices and demand of refrigerators and freezers are also high during these days. There are indications of how concerned people are about storing and preserving the meat and how much they care for it, even though the sacrificial meat is commanded to be distributed. I feel like Eid-ul-Adha is a festival of eating meat instead of sacrificing it. It is as if on the occasion of sacrifice, the intention is not to sacrifice in the presence of Allah, but to take advantage of this opportunity to express one’s name, fame and wealth.
Expensive cattle are bought for sacrifice in order to prove the superiority of wealth over the people. Remember that when the intention itself is not pure, the sacrifice will have the same fate as the sacrifice of Qabeel. In my opinion an obligatory sacrifice may be made and the rest of the money may be spent on other charitable causes. When it comes to appearances or show off, some gentlemen seem to be sacrificing simply because one of their children has ordered a special animal and it thus becomes important to provide them with the same animal because the child has to exhibit in the whole neighbourhood. In the same way, some white-clad people take a loan from someone just for the sake of their nose, even though they can’t afford it. In such a situation, the intention is not merely to make a sacrifice, but to show off and that casts doubt on its acceptance.
The sacrificial meat has been made halal for the Muslim Ummah, everyone can eat it. Dividing the sacrificial meat is recommended to be divided into three parts, one for oneself, one part for others and one part for relatives. It is permissible for a person to distribute all the meat, and if the family of the sacrificer is large, he can use all the meat himself but storing this meat and not distributing it is a negative attitude that has been seen for the last few decades. People store meat under a regular plan and refrigerators and deep freezers are purchased for this purpose. This meat is enjoyed throughout the year as such the poor who do not have the opportunity to eat meat all year round are deprived. Such an act destroys the true spirit of sacrifice. This feeling of deprivation once again leads man on the path of Qabeel.
Sacrificers should keep in mind that Allah Almighty does not need meat or blood. At the time of sacrifice, neither the blood of the sacrifice nor the flesh of the sacrifice reaches Allah. What Allah wants is the sincerity of the sacrificer. For this, it is necessary for the sacrificer to present the best part of his wealth to Allah Almighty. Some people although do not store meat, but when distributing it, they sort out the good meat for self and keep the bones, fat etc. for distribution. This attitude is also negative because the perfection of goodness can be reached only by sacrificing one’s dearest possessions as Abraham did. If we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha as a Sunnah of Abraham, then it should be remembered that this Sunnah will be performed only if we give a valuable part of our wealth in the way of God. The sacrificial meat should be evenly distributed. The Prophet (PBUH) said: You cannot be a believer unless you choose for your Muslim brother what you like for yourself.
Last but not the least Islam is the religion of nature and never gives any command that affects the beauty of nature. Islam requires purity and cleanliness and this is the purity and cleanliness he wants in every aspect of life and in every field. Sacrifice does not mean bringing cattle and scattering their waste all over the neighborhood. We also have a negative attitude that cleanliness is not taken care of at all and after the sacrifice, there is a commotion everywhere. Sacrificing oneself by hurting others is a question mark in itself. Thus at the time of sacrifice, one should take care of cleanliness and purity because it is also a part of faith.
To conclude with sacrifice has been considered a source of nearness to God since time immemorial. The religion of Islam has made sacrifice obligatory on the needy, while in general it has the status of Sunnah. This passion of offering the best part of one’s wealth to Allah in order to attain nearness to Allah is not limited to the day of Eid-ul-Adha but it is a lesson that we should go to the extreme in following the commands of Allah at each and every time and where if you have to give wealth for the sake of Allah, sprinkle wealth there and do not hesitate to sacrifice your life wherever there is a need. The sacrifice of cattle on the day of Eid-ul-Adha actually prepares us for such sacrifices.
Eid-ul-Adha is inviting us to sell our lives and our wealth to Allah, in exchange for Paradise and to live our lives according to His commands. So on this occasion of Eid-Ul-Adha sacrifice your stubbornness, ego, jealousy, hatred, and mistrust. If we learn this lesson, we are successful, otherwise, merely cutting the throats of animals will not bring us closer to God and our sacrifice will be rejected like the sacrifice of Qabeel.
The writer is Associate Professor at Govt. Degree College Chatroo and can be reached at [email protected]