Sunday, October 20, 2013

True Sacrifice?

So Eid ul Adha just came and went . This Eid was different from the other one and no doubt both of them are important in their own right but both have different emotions underlying their celebration. Eid ul Fitr came after the blessed month of Ramadan : a month of spiritual revival and rejuvenation. A much needed break from Shaitan and his constant whispers. Eid came to celebrate our month  long struggle and one felt this sense of achievement .
Then 2 months later , Allah blessed us with Eid ul Adha and I felt that many of us didnt seem to understand the spirit of it or reflect upon why we relive this Sunnah of sacrificing an animal for the sake of Allah swt. Its no secret as to "why" we do it but I feel that just as we have in life learnt many things "in theory" just to help us get by in life we treat the spirit and motivational factor behind this eid in the same manner, just get it over with and move on. Kind of like how you wrote learn facts for an exam you do it so that youre safe from  losing marks on those objective questions.
We go buy the animal wince and whine through the whole process of slaughtering and distribution of meat, as if may Allah forbid it was the biggest hassle of our lives and we forgot why we are required to distribute the meat in the first place. Did we forget that:

"And strive hard in Allâh's Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islâmic Monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, of Islâm), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship,"

[Surah Al- Hajj 22 :78]

Allah didn't place this Sunnah upon us to be means of hardship. Then why is that we found the whole process so nerve wrecking, upsetting and time consuming? Why didn't we stop and remind ourselves that the whole process was a test from Allah swt one that we could have easily passed by the Will of Allah  had we remembered that :

"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allâh, but it is piety from you that reaches Him." 

[Surah Al - Hajj 37:78]

So, no one asked you to splurge on that Australian bull you had hauled over to your place. No where was it ordained for you to take it for a "well-timed" walk at midnight so the neighbors may know that the bull has arrived and may appreciate it as you felt you rightly deserved even if you didnt admit it

Then everyone had their own theories of the "right" way to go about this Sunnah. Some felt shampooing the sacrificial goats and feeding them mineral water and sitting in a manner that blocked people's way to look after the goat was the way towards attaining an accepted sacrifice. Some felt until you didn't bond with the animal on a deeply personal level , how you would with a pet cat your sacrifice is deemed incomplete. Did I mention that those who grew attached to the animal found themselves disturbed and shaken on the day of Eid and actively found themselves "missing the old goat"? Yes, that happened too. Some of us were scared we did one tiny thing wrong so now Allah just hates us. There was still much room for the debate about whether it is fardh for women to attend Eid prayer and people were close brandishing their copies of Sahih Bukhari to prove a point.

Does anyone see where the problem lies? One word sums it up : Distraction. I mean, I am by no means a scholar or even close to it but Allah blessed me with some insight that I feel I need to remind myself of again and again because truly this reminder is one that should be with us from the moment we get up in the morning to the time we lay our heads to rest at night.  And that the month of Dhul Hajj and Eid came to remind us to revive the legacy of our beloved Prophet Ibrahim (as). Allah called his Khalil (friend) , He is mentioned in the Quran as Haneef. And though I am not qualified to go into the grammatical intricacies of this word what I have learnt is that Haneef is someone who is focused.

 You don't find such person running in circles looking for the meaning in his life. You don't find such a person second guessing himself or the commands of Allah once something has been ordained upon him and thinking what could Allah possibly want by asking Him to sacrifice his beloved son in His Name. 
Reflecting on the life that Ibrahim (as) led for the sake of Allah it makes you  truly see why our lives are so devoid of a true spiritual bond. Why we take years, if ever, to make a decision only because Allah swt wants that from us and has nothing to do with the people around us. 
We know that Allah created us to worship Him Alone yet we find ourselves leading distracted and empty lives. We can't wait till salah is over so we can take out our mobile phone to answer that "all-important" text message. We have the attention spans of a goldfish when it comes to our ibadaah . We are so lost in this world and its glitter that everything we hold dear, our concept of good and evil and whats really important is based upon this dunya. 
And then we have the audacity to say that we are living upon the legacy of  Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ! Why aren't we trying to befriend Allah? Why does it matter so much whether our distant aunty loves us but it really doesnt whether Allah loves us or not? Why does it matter so much if the battery of my phone dies out but I cant take out time to recharge my eeman? These, and a myrid of other equally disturbing questions plagued my head when I came to realize that this eid came and we were so distracted. 
So, Eid too became another distraction when it wasnt meant to be. It was supposed to be a sacrifice from our time, our money and our worldly distractions to do something just for Allah swt and celebrate at the same time. But instead it became a day to where we got so distracted by the pounds upon pounds of uncooked meat around us that we forgot that it meant to an act of worship not a day to plan the next barbecue or store our freezers.

These examples of our beloved Prophets are not mere stories set in mythical settings as so many times people mistake them to be. They are an integral part of our faith and a means of timeless inspiration for Muslims. We should constantly keep looking at these people as our role models when we are striving to be good Muslims as we so often claim to be. So that we stay focused on whats truly important in life and not get sidetracked by empty goals and life consuming fantasies that will not even be worth the weight of an atom on the Day you and I meet our Rabb yet they will be heavy enough to drag us to the pits of never ending doom. 

Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists)" (Surah Al Anaam 6 :162)

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