Monday, October 21, 2013

‘Sacrifice’ is a Call of Duty

The spirit of Eid-ul-Adha ought to pervade the faith and practices of the believer in his everyday life. He could, should and would be ready to sacrifice all that he values and cherishes in furtherance of the cause of God and to fulfil His wishes. Being submissive to the command of God and the willingness to sacrifice in the Divine Path is a call of duty for all Muslims, to be discharged throughout their lives. It is through the practical demonstration of obedience to Divine commandments in their own everyday life that the believers will be able to inherit and follow in the footsteps of the noble Messengers and saints of the past, points out the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius, in his Friday Sermon of 18 October 2013.

And when he reached the age of travelling with him, he said: ‘My son, while I was sleeping I saw that I shall slaughter (sacrifice) you, tell me what is your opinion.’ He replied: ‘Father, do as you are ordered (by Allah). Allah willing, you shall find me one of those who are steadfast.’” (37: 103)

As we are in the last day, out of the three days of the Eid-ul-Adha which is the heart itself of man’s sincere devotion to Almighty God and the Sacrifice performed by the Patriarch and Bosom Friend of God, we see how Hazrat Ibrahim (as) is a beautiful example of this unique love and devotion to God. The Prophet Abraham’s (as) trials were like a running river gushing forth impatiently towards the fulfilment of the Ocean of Allah’s (God Almighty) Commands.

As Muslims, we always wonder if we would be able to imbibe in ourselves the same essence of faith as demonstrated by the prophets and pious people of the past. From Prophets Adam to Abraham (as) and from Abraham (as) to Prophet Muhammad (saw), all the Messengers of God have shown exemplary patience and devotion to propagate the word and mission of God.

Weak humans as we are, we maximize our efforts to follow in the footsteps of the Prophets and reformers, to carve our physical, moral and spiritual essence according to theirs so that we may earn the pleasure of God.

In the life of the Muslim, sacrifice is a call of duty. He is expected to sacrifice his money, time, life and honour for the sake of God. He does so by devoting his time to imbibe the true qualities of a submitted one in himself, believing firmly in God and strive to spread the perfume of the divine call around him so that his surrounding may receive the boon of God’s pleasure. Righteousness, then, is what he preaches, so that his family may prosper, his surrounding may reflect the essence of unity and blessed harmony, and also that little by little the world as a whole be immersed in the waters of peace, harmony and exclusive belief in the Creator of the heavens and earth, the God of all prophets of God, of all humankind.

If the prophets of God are exquisite models to follow, then the example of Prophet Abraham (as) and his son Ismael (as) is worthy of mention. The Muslim is required to believe in absolutely all the prophets of God, for if he rejects even one of them, then he is not a true believer. And God has established in the Holy Quran that indeed Abraham (as) was an excellent prophet of His, a submitted one, His beloved friend. It is through Abraham (as) that faith has received its splendour, and it is through his devotion, patience and trust in God that he reached to a high rank in the eyes of God. Whenever God tried him, he submitted and held his trust in God firmly and wanted only God to deliver him from his afflictions. As a reward for his superb faith, God bestowed upon him two sons who both became prophets of God, and through both lineages, Abraham (as) became thus “the father of prophets”. It is through the lineage of his eldest and promised son Ismael (as) that he begot the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Before getting the boon of fatherhood, he was a childless old prophet, yet God proved His miracle and that His promise is true when He bestowed upon Abraham (as) a gentle son, Ismael especially when old age has overcome him, and this son came through his second wife, Hagar (ra). The Quran relates this extraordinary story of patience and the way in which the promise of God was realised.

“… My Lord, grant me (a child) from among the righteous.” So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he reached with him (the age of) exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I (must) sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.”…” (Quran 37: 101-103)

The magnificence of the Great Eid of Sacrifice which Muslims all round the world celebrate every year lies in a beautiful promise which God gave to His elect of the time, Abraham (as). As sacrifice goes, this was one of the most astounding sacrifices ever demonstrated by a Prophet of God and his promised prophetic son who not only did not feared to be sacrificed by the hands of his own father for the sole pleasure of God, but to ever incline to do so himself. Had he not consented to the sacrifice, then his father would never have sacrificed him. This is so because in the eyes of Abraham (as), Ismael was an individual with his own right to choose his destiny. That is why he waited years before presenting the vision before his beloved son so that he may choose if he was with his father to comply with the divine commandment as visualised in the prophetic dream.

Who is that son today who can confidently say that he can sacrifice his very life and honour solely for the pleasure of God? But Ismael (as) did it and he became a blessed reminder of what a true son should be to his father and what an excellent servant he should be to God, His Maker. Ismael (as), without even blinking or hesitating reply in the affirmative and gave his neck for the sacrifice which was to be for God.

But verily God was not in the need of human sacrifice. It was only a very difficult trial which He laid on the shoulders of both father and son so that He may elevate their status all the more and that the world as a whole till the Day of Judgement can take these two exceptional servants and prophets of His as pure models of sacrifice.

Sacrifice is not mere lip-profession. Sacrifice must pervade the blood in the body, and the soul must be touched by the sacrifice to be made solely for the pleasure of God. God stopped the human sacrifice, but He expects that the commemoration of that exceptional demonstration of love for God by both father and son be remembered for always, so that every father and son may copy from such examples of sacrifice and submit, they also, to the will of God.

What is life without the pleasure of God? What is life without acquiring the love of our Maker? The Eid of Sacrifice (Eid-ul-Adha) teaches us that every father should imbibe the qualities of faith of Abraham (as) and every son should be a sacrificial offering for the pleasure of God. Our human nation can only prosper when there is the will to submit to the Lord of all the worlds and to derive pleasure from His pleasure.

Can we not therefore, Oh Muslims, Oh mankind strive to be a little Abraham, a little Ismael, a little Muhammad, a little Ram, a little Krishna, a little Buddha, a little Jesus, a little of all prophets of God (peace be upon them all) so that we may be remembered in the heavens as the devoted servants of God who have not let the temporal world become a vain abode?

May Allah bless all of you and give you the Ilm (knowledge) to seek the means to please Allah, be in the secular or spiritual field. In every nook and cranny of our life, of our existence, we must make it our duty to purify our souls with pure thoughts, pure intentions and good actions which shall be worthy that Allah gives us a definite place in His heart as His beloved. Insha-Allah, Ameen.