EID-EL-ADHA, as it is being celebrated today by Muslims the world over, honours the monumental sacrifice that was to be made by Prophet Ibrahim. Allah ordered him to sacrifice his dearly-beloved son, Ismail, as a test of obedience. Ibraham willingly submitted to Allah’s command, wherein Allah, by His Mercy, replaced Ismail at the moment of sacrifice with a ram.
Muslims commemorate this unparalleled example of fulfilling the commandment of Allah and show gratitude to God for substituting Ismail with a ram. The Quran states: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good.” Quran 22: verse 37
The occasion of the sacrifice also marks the end of Hajj or Pilgrimage rites, the fifth pillar of Islam, in the Holy land of Saudi Arabia which also links Ibrahim and Ismail to some of the activities in the Holy Kaaba.
Yesterday, Monday, pilgrims observed the core of the Hajj rites by gathering at the plains of Mount of Arafat, outside Makkah where they spent the whole day in total worship and supplication. This event culminated into today’s occasion, as Muslims world-over offer rams in sacrifice as ordained by God.
As the Muslims celebrate this occasion, it must be noted that individual relationship with God expressed by religion can only be successful with our worldly affairs only if social and political rules are predicated on moral principles as set by God. No nation survives when these moral principles are sullied by political expediency.
Therefore, politicians and leaders across religions and party lines must reflect and emulate Ibrahim, in giving up their personal interest for the general good of all Nigerians. In this clime, leaders scream and shout patriotism to high heavens only when their personal interests are threatened. Ibrahim showed that his love for Almighty Allah superseded all others and that he was ready to lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.
As we celebrate with fun in a disciplined manner, Muslims must remember that what reaches Allah as expressed by the above Quran injunction is not the meat but piety. We must show mercy to others, give in charity, be more tolerant and forgiving in all our interpersonal activities. We must eschew greed; we must think more about our nation. Let us adhere to the teachings of our scriptures, and like Ibrahim exemplified, we can sacrifice our greed and avarice, for the good of all. Eid Mubarak!