Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Assalaam-o-Alaikum Wa Rakhmatullahi Wa Barakaato Hoo.
I wish you all a very happy Eid ul Adha.
Eid-ul-Adha is widely known as Eid ul-Qurban or Eid of Sacrifice. The root of the Arabic word Qurban is qaf ra ba which means qurb or nearness, i.e., nearness to Allah. Sacrificing in the way of Allah is thus the way to attain nearness to Him. This day reminds us of the utmost submission shown by Hazrat Ibrahim by his immediate readiness to sacrifice his young son, Hazrat Ismail, in obeisance to the vision in which Allah commanded him to do so. Allah stopped him from actually sacrificing Hazrat Ismail and accepted his willingness to do so as the fulfilment of the command. Thus we are given the lesson that we must submit to Allah’s will and be ready to make any sacrifice that may be needed in doing so without questioning.
In the verse of the Holy Qur’an that I have cited above it is made clear that the act of slaughtering an animal is not the end in itself but a means to attain nearness to Him. He says:
Not their flesh, nor their blood, reaches Allah, but to Him is acceptable observance of duty on your part. Thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah for guiding you aright, and give good news to those who do good (to others).
The word Taqwa used in this verse means the observance of one’s duty to Allah and being in a state which keeps one conscious of His presence and motivates one to perform righteous deeds and avoid forbidden ones.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, has said that when we place a knife on the neck of the animal which is to be sacrificed, we must also place it on the neck of the nafs al-ammaarah, the evil inciting spirit within us. Only when we do so, will we be slaughtering the evil inclinations and deeds that we may be harbouring within us. This should lead us to the absolute cleansing of our hearts from the idols we hold within it — idols of pride, ego, self-praise and reliance on worldly means. The ultimate reliance should be on Allah’s help (Tawakkul). Then only will we succeed in achieving the state where all our prayers and sacrifices, indeed our life and death, will solely be for Allah.
The process of this cleansing will make our heart clear of shirk, the association of gods with Allah. Such a heart has been likened to the house of God; it has been likened to the Ka‘ba, free of shirk when first constructed by Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail and when cleared of idols and purified by the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him. Such a heart is the place where Allah resides and this is the state that every Muslim desires for; a state of nafs al-mutma’innah, the soul at peace with itself and all its surroundings.
I pray that we are able to slaughter the animal within us on this Eid day and start a new journey of nearness to Allah.