Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Eid: Celebrating the Devotion of Ibrahim (as)

I quote a few verses to show that the rank and style of worship of Ibrahim (as) are the essence itself of Islam.

When his Lord said to him, ‘Submit,’ he said, ‘I submit to the Lord of the Universe’. (Al-Baqara 2: 132).

God told Abraham (as) that he should believe in Islam, that is to say, to submit himself exclusively to Him. Then Hazrat Ibrahim (as) replied: “I believe and therefore I submit.” And when Allah ordered him to submit, then Ibrahim (as) was prepared on the spot and declared that there was no dissension between the command/ order of Allah and his own submission. He proclaimed: “Yes, I submit myself to the Creator, the Lord of the Universe.” This was the first example of Islam mentioned in the Holy Quran and no other book mentions such acceptance of Islam.

In another verse of the Holy Quran, Allah says: 

“Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was continually submissive to Allah and was a Muslim. And he was not among the polytheists.” (Al-Imran, 3: 68).

“Wa maa kaana minal mushrikiin”

And he was not among the polytheists (he did not set up equals to Allah). (Al-Baqara 2: 136 & Al-Imran 3: 68, 96)

This definition of Islam refers to the aspect of idolatry, meaning that man should submit only to Allah and to none other than Him. Man (humankind) must remain “Hanif”, that is to say, exclusively turned to Allah without conferring the same importance or the same worship to other (false divinities) except to Him (the true and unique God). Hazrat Ibrahim (as) personified this exclusive worship to Allah.

Religion (or Faith/ Community) of your father Abraham. (Al-Hajj 22: 79)

This is a body of disciples who form the “Ummah” (Community) of your father, Ibrahim (as).

Huwa sammakumul-muslimiin... 
It is He (Allah) who has named you ‘Muslims’ ... (Al-Hajj 22: 79)

... min qablu wa fii haaza 
... Before (this book) and in this (Book, i.e., the Holy Quran). (Al-Hajj 22: 79)

Here, “huwa” refers to Allah who has named you Muslims, “min qablu” at the time of Abraham (as), “wa fii haaza” and in the Holy Quran. This message is a testimony “alan naasii”, i.e., not just for you but for all humanity.

Thus, the bond of ‘aalamiin with the House of Allah, the Ka’aba, has been consistently claimed in the Quran, bond which was veiled at the beginning of its creation. Hazrat Ibrahim (as) had obviously built this House to unite Islam to humanity. He was the first to be called Muslim, as if Islam began with him, because of this House built (more precisely, rebuilt) by him to become the place of reunification of all souls who are submissive to Allah, and also to enable Islam to become an international religion/ faith. But the subject is not exhausted even then. Although it is Abraham (as) who was considered the first Muslim in the period that saw the birth of Islam, and although he was the first prophet to be mentioned in the sacred books, the title ‘Awwa-lul-Muslimiin the first to submit cannot be entrusted to him, because this title is dedicated exclusively to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Thus in the Holy Qur’an, Allah has commanded the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to say:

“I have been commanded to pray Allah exclusively and dedicate to Him my religion/ my worship. And I have received the command to become the first Muslim.”

There is certainly the indisputable statement that Ibrahim (as) was a Muslim and his foremost quality was that he accepted Islam when Allah commanded him to do so. As for the mention of Ummah, it is also certain that the Muslim community was distinguished by Abraham (as) as if he had himself established the foundation of Islam. But apart from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), no one, including Abraham (as) can be called Awwa-lul-Muslimiin - the first Muslim Further, we read in the Holy Qur'an:

Surely my Lord has guided me to a Straight path, an upright way of life, the original religion of Ibrahim, the true scrupulous believer. And he was not among those who set up partners to Allah. 

Say, truly, my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of All the Worlds, 

in Whose Divinity none has a share. 
This I am commanded and I am the first to surrender (to Him – Allah).

(Al-Anam, 6: 162-164)

Qul ‘innanii hadaanii Rabbii ‘ilaa Siraatim-Mustaqiim - The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: My Lord (Almighty God) guided me in the right path. It is a faith that has developed by itself (being the natural way of life of man) and offers no obstacle - a perfect religion.

Millata ‘Ibraahiima haniifaa - This is a community that has followed Abraham (as) and its foremost quality is that it was not idolatrous and offered no association with Allah. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) then said he was free of all types of idolatry, of associations with Allah, and that his worship/ cult, prayer, sacrifice, life and death are dedicated to Allah only.

lil-laahi Rabbil-’aalamiin - dedicated to Allah Who is the Creator and Sustainer of the world. Laa shariika lah - no one is equal to Him. And the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was ordered to state that he had actually received the divine order to be the first one to submit, to become Muslim. And thus, among the blessed progeny of Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as) the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came as the Bearer/Holder of the seal of prophethood.

The prayer of both these Muslim and obedient prophets produced an extraordinary echo in the presence of Allah. Allah said: 
“And when Abraham and Ismail raised the foundations of the House (they made these prayers): ‘Our Lord! Accept (this) from us; surely You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing: 

‘Our Lord! And make us both submissive to You and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to You, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely You are the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. 

Our Lord! And send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Your revelations (verses/ signs) to them and instruct them the Scripture and Wisdom, and sanctify them: For You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 128-130).

Allah heard this prayer and fulfilled it. He sent the best of Muslims and prophets of Allah from the progeny of these two great servants of Allah, Abraham (as) and Ismail (as); such a prophet who would become the symbol of Islam, i.e., submission to Allah, such a prophet who show Islam through his own actions and his own word. He would speak Islam and live purely the Islamic way. He would sacrifice everything so that the worship of the One God (Allah) is restored in the hearts and practices of mankind.

Verily, the entrance to Mecca (Makkah), formerly called “Bakkah” and access to the Ka’aba for the rites of Hajj are to remain open, accessible to all mankind. While security is required to protect the most sacred place in the world, yet, as this House is a universal House for all mankind, it is a sin on the Saudi government to prevent those who want to make the pilgrimage with love and in respect to Islamic requirements. The Ka’aba is not their property. They are only the custodians. If Ahmadi Muslims or Iranians (most of them being Shiite Muslims) want to perform Hajj in peace, without any provocation or restriction from anybody, then they have the right to perform the fifth pillar of their faith, that is to say, the Hajj. If there is something fishy, ​​if plans are made to prevent the pilgrims to participate in this blessed ritual, then the philosophy of Hajj itself is violated. This House belongs to Allah and He has invited everyone to come for the pilgrimage and to taste the bliss of faith by remembering the pure worship of Abraham and his sacrifices and those of his second wife and first son.

So Eid-ul-Adha, the Eid of Sacrifice is an exclusive moment of union as souls come together (as one) to recite in one voice their devotion to Allah, proclaiming His unity and sacrificing animals allowed for sacrifice so that the sacrifice of Abraham, Ismail and Hajra remains forever the symbol of obedience and submission to Allah for all mankind until the end of time.

Thus, I wish you all an Eid-ul-Adha Mubarak.Devote your whole life exclusively to Allah, as had done Hazrat Ibrahim (as), Hazrat Ismail (as), Hazrat Hajra (ra) and the greatest of the prophets, the biological and spiritual progeny of Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail (as), that is to say, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). May Allah accept our sacrifices and always count us among His favourites, His beloved ones. Ameen. And let us remember that to become true beloved people of Allah, we have to go through many trials to enable the progress of our spiritual status in the eyes of Allah, to arrive in the true sense, at the “Maqaam- i-Ibrahim”. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

--- Second and final part of the Two-part Eid-ul-Adha Sermon of 12 September 2016---(10 Dhul-Hijjah 1437 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius. To access the first part. click here.