Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lessons from Eid Al-Adha

The first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah are almost at an end. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has informed us about the significance and value placed on these days. We should take the remaining time to reflect not only on ourselves, but the Muslim Ummah at large. This Eid, we remember our brothers and sisters who are suffering throughout the world. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى allow this year to be the last year in which we live without the shade of the Khilafah.

We are now in the best ten days of the year - the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. It is an occasion for many to perform Hajj and for those not partaking in this act of worship, there are extra rewards for deeds performed during this time. We should take the opportunity during these days to reflect on the rewards that can be earned Insha'Allah and derive lessons to implement in our lives.

The First 10 Days

Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:


وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ

"By the dawn; by the ten nights." [TMQ 89:1-2]

In the above verse Allah سبحانه وتعالى swears an oath by these days and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Ibn Abbas, Ibn Az-Zubayr, Mujahid and others of the earlier and later generations are of the opinion that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days." The people asked, "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing." [Al-Bukhari]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم also said: "There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of tahlil, takbir and tahmid." [Ahmad]

Hajj: The Fifth Pillar of Islam

Muslims from all over the world are gathering together in Makkah to perform Hajj. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى reward those amongst us who have left and may He accept their Hajj. May He also enable those who were unable to undertake this blessed journey to fulfil it in the future. Hajj is an obligation from the pillars of Islam, the reward of which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم has spoken about:

"Whoever performs Hajj for Allah's pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return as if he were born anew." [Bukhari]

Indeed one of the astonishing things about Hajj even for the non-Muslims is that people from all colours, black and white; people from all races - from Europe, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Africa; people from all ages - the young and the old are united in the worship to Allah سبحانه وتعالى and are all equal before Him.

"There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colours, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white." Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

Hajj symbolizes the concept of Ummatun Wahida (One Ummah). The Muslims from all parts of the world who speak different languages and have different looks upon their faces, all perform the various obligatory acts together like the wearing of the Ihram, the tawaf around the Ka'ba, the running between Safa and Marwa, the standing at Arafah and the stoning of the Jamarat.

Indeed the concept of one united Ummah with no distinction, with no racism or nationalistic divisions is a fundamental concept in Islam. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided." [TMQ 3:103]

Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that). [Bukhari]

But unfortunately as soon as Hajj is over, Muslims will return to lands where they are divided by false borders and dominated by man-made laws. The creation of false borders is not something of mere coincidence or an event that naturally occurred over time.

The British Foreign minister addressing the Prime Minister shortly before World War II said, "We must put an end to anything which brings about Islamic Unity between the sons of the Muslims. As we have already succeeded in finishing off the Caliphate, so we must ensure that there will never arise again unity for the Muslims, whether it be intellectual or cultural unity."

Nationalism is a concept alien to Islam because it calls for unity based on belonging to a piece of land crafted by the colonial powers whereas Islam binds people together on the Aqeedah, that is, belief in Allah سبحانه وتعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: "He is not one of us who calls for ‘asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah." [Abu Dawud]

It is forbidden in Islam for the Islamic land to be divided as it is today. When Muslims go for Hajj, why do we need a visa? Did Muslims need a visa in the past under the Khilafah which ruled for over a thousand years? Ruling according to Islam can only be achieved under one state, with one Khaleefah - not the over 50 divided nation-states we have today. This should make us work harder to liberate the Islamic lands from the oppression of Kufr by re-establishing the Khilafah Rashidah in the Muslim lands according to the method of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. Only when the Ummah submits to the authority of one Khaleefah, in one Khilafah, will complete unity be achieved.

Ibrahim عليه السلام and his adherence to the Shariah

We should take a lesson from the well known story of Ibrahim عليه السلام and his son Ismail عليه السلام. We are all reminded of this story as Eid al-Adha represents the culmination of the first ten glorious days of Dhul-Hijjah. Allah سبحانه وتعالى informs us of his story in the Quran:

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ

وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ

قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ

"My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous." So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha'Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of As-Sabirun (the patient)." Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); And We called out to him: "O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream!' Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinun." [TMQ 37:100-105]

If we ponder over the story of Ibrahim عليه السلام carefully we find that Allah سبحانه وتعالى ordered His believing slave to slaughter his beloved son! Both the father and the son fully submitted to the order of Allah سبحانه وتعالى without questioning it. Ibrahim عليه السلام didn't look for a reason for the command that Allah سبحانه وتعالى gave him, nor did Ismail عليه السلام knowing that he was going to be sacrificed. Rather they both willingly accepted the decision of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, because they realised that He was the Creator and that their purpose was to worship Him. The lesson we can learn from this is to submit to the orders of Allah سبحانه وتعالى whether Allah سبحانه وتعالى has given us a reason for them or not. So we know that Allah سبحانه وتعالى issued a judgement on the many actions that are before us such as the prohibition of dealing in Riba (usury), pre-marital relations and supporting political parties not based on Islam. We must submit to these rules completely without attempting to justify engaging in them based on our own rationale.

Indeed, Eid al-Adha is a time of celebration for over one billion people around the globe. Although we will perform the slaughter, pray the Eid Salah and play with our children on this day, our hearts and our minds will not be at ease due to the suffering felt by our brothers and sisters around the world.

The food that we eat on this day should remind us of the many who are dying of hunger in Gaza, Darfur, Chechnya, Kashmir, and all over the world. The slaughtering that we perform on this occasion as a worship to Allah سبحانه وتعالى should provoke us to think about the agent rulers in our lands who allow the continuous slaughter upon the Muslims of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia, Chechnya and the list goes on. On this occasion of Eid when we spend the days with our family and friends, let us make sure that we do not forget the problems of the Muslims worldwide. Let us work for the pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى so that we may be of the Muhsinun (good doers).

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ

وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ

"Verily, along with every hardship is relief, verily, along with hardship is relief. So when you have finished (your occupation), devote yourself for Allah's worship. And to your Lord (Alone) turn (all your) intentions and hopes." [TMQ 94:5-8]

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