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|Eid of Abraham is everyone’s festival|
|Thursday, 25 October 2012 22:04|
I would like to take this opportunity to send Eid greetings to all my family and friends, loved ones and colleagues in the Muslim community as well as the wider population as the Eid of Abraham is everyone’s festival. While Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, the Jews are descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s two sons.
We are indeed grateful for life and its many gifts. What this Eid does for us is to seek deep into our hearts the generosity to share halall meat and meals with others, while remembering Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice that which he loved the most-his first son.
Love is such that it tests you. Abraham was God’s best friend. He wished to have a son. God wanted to reveal to the world that human sacrifice is forbidden, but sacrificing for the one, you claim to love, is a must. Jesus said, "you shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31)
I remember when we had just restarted Golden Grove mosque project with the late Khalid Khan in 1992- a place that had turned into a pig sty and garbage dump, after being bombed in 1964 and abandoned for30 years– there was a feeling that we were so resource-less, to even provide a single cow for the first Eid. But the eight brothers thought that we can all pool out of our meagre resources and at least have a small cow. The villagers were so delighted and recently upon visiting the neighbourhood the folks there were so excited to see me and reminisce on those austere but loving days.
That’s the original spirit of Hajj and Eid ul Adha. Unfortunately, much of that is lost today with the rich making the pilgrimage; the rich having the means to do Qurbani, and the rich having a good time around these festivities. Money cannot buy love and wealth cannot purchase heaven. It’s your heart that matters in the end! The obituary always talks about deeds and not status!
Abraham lived in the desert of Arabia that even water was scarce. God sent water in the form of the miraculous Zamzam well. Today, I’m proud to see many who cannot afford an entire party of charity, still join with others in sharing a ‘share’ and giving it away to the food bank. A few years ago I saw an ad for the Christmas drive from a known food bank in Toronto. It was around Eid al Azha. I made the call and explained the significance of our holiday and how many Muslims make the sacrifice but would send the donation to known poor countries out of Canada. The folks there welcomed the idea of having halall hygienic meat, donated for their food drive, as all can partake of halal. Today that’s an ongoing charity and my friend from Enmore always says ‘charity begins at home.’
I’m so saddened, therefore, to hear about the gruelling murder of a brother visiting from Toronto, having lost his life in Georgetown on his way to make Qurbani from his life savings. His martyrdom during the sacred days of Zil Hijja will not go in vain and justice must prevail as people must be safe wherever they are: to perform their religious duties freely and live happily - a right secured by the Charter of Rights, Geneva Convention and the Medina Treaty 1,400 years ago.
Quran 37:102 ‘when he (Abraham’s son) attained to working with him, he said: O my son! Surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.’
If anything, Abraham’s son, Ishmael, was taught to pelt the devil and scare him away as he tried dissuading the lad from undertaking the sacrifice, willingly. This reminds us that fear must undergo Qurbani. Fear must be pelted with full force. Fear must be replaced with safety. Fear has no place in life but ultimate destruction. When Love enters, just as darkness dissipates when light arrives, fear MUST disappear.
‘Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.’ Rumi, Poet of 2007, UNESCO
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