ABRAHAM, as it is universally accepted, is the symbol of faith for both Muslims and Christians. He is a common denominator and should be a unifying factor. His significance to both Islam and Christianity can never be down-played.
Each year, Muslims enact an ancient ritual of demonstrating unquestioning faith in the Almighty Allah as exemplified by the slaughtering of livestock â€” camel, cow, sheep and goat â€” and a reminder of the same act that Abraham, Ibrahim to Muslims, performed.
As any good Muslim will tell you, the sacrifice is symbolic as God does not eat the flesh of the sacrifice nor does He need the blood of animals.
The symbolism re-enacts Abrahamâ€™s obedience to God. He satisfied God about the quality of his faith and acting on Godâ€™s instruction found a ram to be slaughtered in place of his son, Ishmael, who Abraham was willing to sacrifice because God had so commanded.
The world over, Eid-el-Kabir is celebrated in commemoration of the day Abrahamâ€™s faith was tested by God. God found Abrahamâ€™s faith commendable. Muslims in all part of the world will join in the observation of this spiritual occasion.
In the course of the festivity, Muslims will eat and make merry with their friends. Eid-el-Kabir has more profundity than the feasting. It is about our personal trust in Godâ€™s ability to keep providing for us.
There are important lessons that should be imbibed and practised. Proceeding from the common ancestry of Abraham is the imperative of our living together as brothers with mutual benefit of peace, harmony and stability.
Islam teaches peace; it teaches love; it teaches tolerance. So does Christianity. Love and unity should not be practised during festivals alone; they should be parts of our lives. In a country like ours, where the tendency is to emphasise our plurality in destructive directions, the commonality of Abraham to the two key faiths should be a moderating influence.
The lesson of sacrifice, we believe, is very clear by now: because Father Abraham sacrificed, he became the recipient of perpetual blessings. We must all make the necessary sacrifice for our individual future and good of our country. The demands of sacrifice increase daily, especially the demand of exemplary and inspiring leadership.
Next year would begin on a high political note. The election in Anambra State might seem a localised affair, but it is assuming frightening national dimensions. There has been thuggery of the most unprecedented order in the party primaries.Â The intolerance in politics is seeping into other aspects of national life, cutting across religion and social matters.
While we celebrate, it is a sobering moment for the state of our country. The signals remain unimpressive. It is therefore our hope and prayers that we allow the spirit of this occasion to impact on our political life as well.
We send our felicitations on this beautiful occasion to all Muslims in particular and our readers in general. Baraka de Sallah.