All praise is due to Allah, Who has blessed man with intellect and may His choicest salutations continue to descend upon our Leader and Master Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) who teachings empower man to subdue his enslaving desires.
“And who could be of better faith than he who surrenders his whole being unto Allah and is a doer of good and follows the creed of Ibrahim who turned away from all that is false and Allah chose Ibrahim, to be His beloved friend; and indeed Allah encompasses all things.” (4:126)
Each year Muslims throughout the world relive the willingness of Ibrahim AS to place the knife on his beloved son and the readiness of his son Ismail AS to offer his very life in compliance with the command of Allah. We commemorate their willingness to surrender themselves to Allah by sacrificing an animal. The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was once asked by his Companions: “0 Prophet of Allah What is this Qurbani?” He replied, “It is the Sunnah of your father Ibrahim AS.” (Ibn Majah)
The Sunnah of Ibrahim AS is not an emotionally detached act of slaughtering an animal. “It is neither their flesh nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)
The animal that we slaughter symbolizes the Nafs (ego), the lower impulse within each one of us which enslaves us and which draws us away from submission to our Creator. Submission to the will of Allah is thus the spirit and purpose behind the sacrifice of an animal. Ibrahim AS dedicated his entire life to unveiling the worthlessness and futility of idol worship. Today the idols people worship are no longer idols of wood and stone. The modern manifestations of idol worship are found in wealth, fame, entertainment, sports and Worship of the self. Most of the problems facing humanity, such as crushing national debts, grinding poverty, growing disparities between the rich and the poor, the continued and accelerating destruction of the environment, and our enhanced ability to kill each other with increasingly sophisticated and deadly weaponry, all arise directly or indirectly from ‘Worship of the self’.
‘Worship of the self’ includes:
· Self-centeredness – A focus only on your own state of affairs and a disregard for the needs and viewpoints of other people.
· Self-admiration – Admiring yourself and clamoring for attention.
· Self-aggrandizement – Exaggerating your own importance.
· Self-justification – Describing events in a way that preserves your pride.
‘Worship of the self’ makes it difficult for us to respond to challenges with faith and conviction expected of Believers.
Submission to the command and will of Allah is the antithesis of ‘worship of the self’. Ibrahim AS therefore continually begged of Allah: “Our Lord Make us both Muslims (submissive to You) and of our progeny a nation submissive to You. . .” (2:128)
Our submission to Allah is recognized from our willingness to surrender to His command in the face of trials and difficulties. “It does not behave a believing man and a believing woman that when Allah and His Messenger have given their decision in a matter, they should exercise an option in that matter of theirs; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Prophet A, has indeed strayed into manifest error.’ (33:36)
No Muslim individual or nation, is entitled to use its own freedom of opinion in a matter in which Allah and His Prophet have already given a decision. To be a Muslim means to surrender one’s freedom of opinion and action before Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). It would be a contradiction in terms if a person or a nation claimed to be Muslim and then reserved for itself freedom of choice and action. Submission to the command and will of Allah entails:
1. Al-Ilm (KNOWLEDGE of what you are expected to do in particular circumstances).
2. Al-Yaqeen (CONVICTION that the Law of Allah is the most perfect prescription even if you are not able to comprehend its wisdom).
3. Al-Ikhlaas (SINCERITY of purpose – You embark on a course of action for the sole pleasure of Allah).
4. Al-Mahabbah (LOVE – You submit out of a desire to gain the pleasure of your beloved Creator).
5. Al-Inqiyaad (SUBMISSION with a conviction that the law of Allah is the best course of action).
G. Al-Qubool (ACCEPTANCE with both heart and mind that the Law of Allah is full of mercy and not an unfair or oppressive imposition).
On this blessed Day of Eid, we need to reassess what it means to be Muslim. We need to revisit our understanding of submission to Allah. If we take up challenges with the courage, determination, vision, and patience of Ibrahim AS Allah will choose us as His friends
May Allah grant us the boon of unreserved submission to His command.