Zahir Muhammad Mannan July 21, 2021
Four thousand years ago, an aged patriarch Prophet living nomadically after immigrating from the cradle of civilization was called by God to slaughter his only son in the heaviest test of faith.
“’O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I am sacrificing you. So consider what you think of it.’ He replied, ‘O my father, do as you are commanded; you will find me, if Allah pleases, steadfast.’ And when they both submitted, and he had thrown him down on his forehead, We called to him: ‘O Abraham, Thou hast indeed fulfilled the dream…’” Quran 37:103-106.
This is the awakening narrative of Islam’s largest annual holiday Eid ul Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, enshrined on the third day of the unifying Hajj pilgrimage. Hajj is scaled back to 60,000 this year instead of the millions that gather from around the globe displaying humanity’s unadulterated unity as equal parts to one body only to worship the Eternal Lord of all in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him. Sacred Hajj retraces the trying journey father Abraham and his family championed in the barren deserts of Arabia at the most ancient House of God, the Ka’aba, originally built by father Adam, peace be on them all.
I’ll join over a billion Muslims worldwide in commemorating the unquestioned obedience and immaculate immolation of what a family holds most dear. I go with my family to my Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in Meriden to pray a special Eid Salat alongside my Ahmadi Muslim siblings as one body and hear the Imam deliver a powerful, pragmatic sermon before enjoying congratulatory embraces, delicious food prepared from sacrificial meat, sports at Vasa Park, and gift exchanges. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, I would then go to the nearest Halal slaughterhouse to pick out a quadruped and sacrifice it in the name of Allah with my own hands, feeling the pain of the animal and symbolically showing readiness to sacrifice my own life, wealth, time, honor, and personal desires for the pleasure and nearness of the One and only Lord of all.
As I’m taught by the 2nd Caliph of Messiah Ahmad, until a believer does not adopt an egoic death, be ever inclined to endure suffering for God’s sake, be thrown into the fire of tribulations, and completely detach from the world, they are not even accepted. We see this in Abraham and his family who instead of asking for their rights surrendered them to the Creator knowing their lives didn’t belong to them and recognizing that it’s not God who’s at the beckoning call of His servants but the other way around.
Continuing the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s tradition, I ensure the animal’s meat would reach the poor among my neighbors, community members and larger society who don’t otherwise have access to such luxuries. This year I purchased a sacrificial goat through Humanity First’s Qurbani Service to be offered in an impoverished country hoping to fulfill the eye-opening revelation: “Their flesh reaches not Allah, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him” (22:38). When God stopped Abraham from physically enacting his dream, He also showed that human sacrifice, a norm of that epoch, was not necessary, rather it was something much harder; obedience and submission. Like Ishmael, I hope to be foremost in obeying God through His true representative today, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, 5th Caliph and head of my worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Communit
The reformative story is held sacred by our Jewish and Christian siblings alike, yet it’s only in Islam that I find the beauty of Abraham’s uprightness in consulting his beloved son, his forbearing son Ishmael’s inspiring willingness to submit, and his trusting wife Hagar’s undying strength throughout. Abraham had already distressingly left Hagar as a new mother and Ishmael as his only babe alone in scarcity amid the uncultivable valley of Mecca over a decade earlier resigned to God’s decree. His wife too voluntarily shared in the difficult sacrifice believing God would not let them perish armed only with prayers, trust, and faith.
This was their perpetual sacrifice that we as Muslims reproduce in honor of that “Friend of God” who was made a “leader for mankind” through the universal Prophet Muhammad. It would be from Abraham’s loins, the womb of Hagar, and the offspring of Ishmael that the promised Seal of all Divine Prophets, Muhammad, the chosen one, would descend with the final and perfect religion and Divine Law for all mankind to unite under indiscriminately. Eid Mubarak!Zahir Muhammad Mannan serves as the Outreach Director for the statewide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden, CT. He serves as a voluntary Chaplain for CT State Police and Meriden PD. He serves as the National Vice Outreach Director for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, USA.
Categories: The Muslim Times