It’s the holy month of ZilHajj. Muslims from all around the globe gather in the city of Makkah to offer Hajj (Pilgrimage). Those who stay back at home pray to ALLAH Al-Mighty to make ways for them to perform Hajj like their other Muslim brothers and sisters.
Hajj reminds us of the great sacrifice of our Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) which he obediently gave to please ALLAH (SWT). In this endeavor, he was accompanied by his son, Prophet Ismail (A.S.) In remembrance of this great sacrifice, Muslims till date and till this world comes to an end perform this Sunnat-e-Ibrahimi by offering sacrifice in the month of ZilHajj.
However, as time passed, the essence of this sacrifice seems to have lost somewhere. It has become more of a fashion than a sacrifice. The intention doesn’t seem to be to please ALLAH (SWT) anymore. It has become something else.
Today, Eid-ul-Azha has become an occasion where difference can be established as to who is rich and who is poor. The race to buy the most expensive animal for sacrifice is on these days. People proudly show-off their animals in the neighborhood becoming a price tag themselves attached to the creature.
‘Yeh janwar kitnay ka liya?’ (How much did this animal cost you?)
‘1 lakh ka!!’ (For 1 lac rupees)
You can feel that the chest of the owner will explode any minute with the overwhelming pride that he takes in mentioning the price of his animal.
I was amazed to see so many people stuffed inside a van that was headed towards the bakra mandi to buy an animal. I put myself in the animal’s shoes (not that the animal actually wears any) to imagine what would its feeling be after the deal is made for it and it heads towards the van.
It must think, ‘OMG! I hope they’re not expecting me to pull this van back to their place because otherwise there seems to be no place for me to fit in to this van. It’s so crowded already!’
But somehow they do manage to stuff the poor thing in the van and start their journey back home.
Meanwhile, back at home, the stage is set to welcome what seems to be a newly-wed bride coming home for the first time. All the uncles, aunts and their children gather and wait anxiously for the guest of honor. They are those people who in spite all of their valiant efforts could not manage to fit into the van and go the Bakra mandi themselves.
Then the moment arrives. No! The chief guest hasn’t actually reached home. The van only enters the neighborhood and ‘the crowd’ goes berserk to be the first to catch a single glance of the animal (as if it’s going to go back after giving an acceptance speech for a Miss Universe Title to never be seen live again.)
Comments start flowing in from all directions regarding the health, price and size of the animal immediately after its arrival.
‘Bara mehenga jaanwar le aey Zakir bhai!’ (Zakir bhai has overpaid for this animal!)
‘Meray khayal mein ziada gosht nahi niklayga iss mein se.’ (There wouldn’t be a lot of meat coming out of this animal I think.)
The owner and his accomplices then roam around the whole neighborhood holding the rope attached to the animal like they’ve conquered the world. This of course continues until a bigger and more expensive animal arrives in the neighborhood.
ALLAH’O AKBAR! We’ve totally forgotten what the true purpose and meaning of sacrifice is. It’s become of bargain almost. How many of us actually intent to please ALLAH (SWT) with our sacrifice? It’s a question worth asking ourselves and to listen closely to what our heart replies to it.
ALLAH (SWT) doesn’t want the meat of the animal or its skin from us. ALLAH (SWT) wants us to understand the philosophy of sacrifice by having a pure intent (Niyat) to please ALLAH (SWT) and obey what ALLAH (SWT) has ordered.
The sacrifice, if done with the correct and purest of intents will InshaALLAH bring us close to ALLAH Al-Mighty. It’s a chance not to be wasted by showing off how much you’ve spent but to show ALLAH (SWT) how keen you are to gain His pleasure.
May ALLAH (SWT) guide us and show us the right path. Aameen!
Allah-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar, La-Ilaha ill-Allah wa-Allah-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar, wa-lillah-il-hamd
Hammad Abdul Mateen