Message on Eid ul Adha from Islamic Academy
The Milli Gazette
Published Online: Oct 20, 2012
The fasting person rejoices and celebrates every sunset in Ramaḍān, for the sunset signifies the achievement of his victory over himself during the laborious entire day. In our journey in this month we had developed strict control of our desires and needs, our thoughts and deeds and became the captain of the master control room of the self.We should conduct an audit of ourselves now that Ramaḍ̣an is over, in order to examine what we have achieved in terms of the desired benefits. The month of fasting was not sacrifice. It was compulsory, and only a training period commanded by Allah for us to learn to sacrifice. In case we had passed the Ramaḍān examination, we were entitled to celebrate the Achievement Day called ‘Id ul Fiṭr, also known as ‘Id uṣ Ṣaghīr or the Minor ‘Id. After this, Allah gives us two months and ten days to prepare ourselves for the‘Id of Sacrifice (‘Id ul Aḍḥa), also called the Major ‘Id or ‘Id ul Kabīr. This is part two of the examination of post-graduate studies for higher spiritual achievement, and begins on the first day of the month of Shawwāl, i.e. on ‘Id ul Fiṭr day itself. Our striving in Ramaḍ̣ān, however difficult it was, is nothing compared to the sacrifice we should be striving for in part two of the exam, which is the post-graduate Examination of Higher Spiritual Achievement. Only then we would be actually qualified to celebrate the ‘Id of Sacrifice or ‘Id ul Aḍḥa . Just a few words about part two of the Examination or the post-graduate studies: Allah gives us two months and ten days to prepare for it. This exercise is not compulsory, but is voluntary. Allah wants to test us and see whether we will continue to hold on to the good qualities we have achieved because of the rigorous fasting exercise during Ramaḍ̣ān, or if we had thrown them to the wind now that Ramaḍ̣an was over.
Sacrifice is usually thought of as slaughter of an animal for an offering to Allah, soon after the 'Id prayers (Quran 108:2) and distributing the meat. But looking at it from another angle, sacrifice in its true sense means: giving away something of immense value and importance for the sake of Allah alone. This something could be measurable like wealth and time which are not an inherent part of us or could be immeasurable like feelings, opinions, likes and dislikes, pleasures and comforts, family ties or merely our ego. For an act to be called a sacrifice it must hurt us and we should feel the pain. Slaughtering an animal hurts the animal, not us. Sacrifice is the giving away of something or someone we love most dearly and hence, the parting is bound to cause us severe anxiety and distress. It is very easy to sacrifice a sheep or a cow, of which the flesh and blood do not reach Allah anyway (Quran 22:37). It is also not so difficult to sacrifice time and money, all for the sake of Allah and it only involves a twist of the wrist. It is more difficult to sacrifice pleasures and comforts, pride and ego, professional status, and family ties. Such sacrificial acts are the real qurbani or sacrifice, (qurbāniis derived from the root word qurbmeaning nearness) which brings the person nearer to Allah. The results of the Second Examination will be declared on ‘Īd ul Aḍḥa, and some of us may pass the exam with honours, as was the case with Prophet Ibrāhīm, Sayyidah Sarah, Sayyidah Hājar, and Prophet Ismā‘īl. After having had an audit on ourselves , we should now ask ourselves if we have emerged as a Prophet Ibrāhīm, Sayyidah Sarah, Sayyidah Hājar, or Prophet Ismā‘īl within us, and qualify to celebrate this ‘Īd ul Aḍḥa?