Let's tell the truth. For some reason, Eid ul Adha is not Eid ul Fitr. Then, you are staying hungry in the daytime for 30 days, you are being nice, learning to speak the truth, caring for the poor and oppressed and praying at night - a major lifestyle change for a month. Then Eid comes. It's a day when Allah, rather than have you celebrate someone else's achievements or a historical event, has decided He, God Almighty, wants to celebrate YOUR achievements. Your Fasts, Your prayers, Your efforts. That's Eid ul Fitr. No wonder we enjoy that Eid.
This Eid, on the other hand, is more somber. Here, Allah is teaching us the lessons in life. It's about His friend, Ibrahim (Abraham), Ibrahim's wife Hagar, and their son Ismail (Ishmael). Allah calls Ibrahim the Khalilullah, or 'a Friend of Allah'.
Hagar. Never before has a woman been honoured any more by any religious practice other than the Hajj. I am getting goosebumps as I write this, I am struck by the grandiose of it all. A mother, abandoned in the desert by her husband and with a baby son just because Allah has ordered the man to do so. The baby started to cry for water. Hagar thought she saw water at the foot of Mount Safa. She ran there. It was a mirage. Then she turned to Mount Marwah. Was there water there? She ran towards Mount Marwah. It was another mirage. Seven times she ran between the two hills. Who only but a mother could do so for her child? To this day, billions of Muslims since the time of Prophet Muhammad (S) has continued to run seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah, during Hajj, to honour that mother Hagar.
As Hagar came back to her baby, a well of clear water emerged at Ismail's feet. This well of water is today called Zam-zam, and is still flowing, after thousands of years. This is our Holy Water.
Throughout all these trials, none of the three, Ibrahim, Hagar or Ismail rebuked Allah for asking of them the greatest of sacrifices. They never questioned God's orders. Ibrahim was ordered by Allah to sacrifice Ismail, and he was ready to do so. Allah then ordered a ram to be sacrificed instead. All He wanted from Ibrahim was his willingness to obey His commands. To this day, Muslims all over the world sacrifice a goat, cow or some other grazing animal and give the meat to the poor and needy to honour Ibrahim's readiness to accept God's will.
The lessons of this Eid are many. Wealth and luxury cannot alone make a person happy, sacrifices for those we love are necessary. Nothing in this life comes easy, trials and tribulations are from God, as are subsequent good times. It's not just about me, sometimes it's about Not-me. Whatever hardships we encounter through life, we must thank Allah, try to improve our situation and ask for His help. There is always someone with a more worse hardship than us. And never lose hope - remember, Allah helps those who help themselves.
Finally, those who want to enjoy this Eid will. Take a day off. Put some mehendi on. Get some new clothes. Teach your friends and children the story of our father, Ibrahim. Meet friends, visit relatives and give gifts.
Let the man of means spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.
- (Quran, 65:7)
Related Link: The Man Who Was God's Friend
Tags: Eid ul Adha Eid Ibrahim (Abraham) Hagar