The sacrifice of Eid ul Adha is in remembrance of the great sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS) who was ready to sacrifice his son Ismail (AS) in obedience to and for the pleasure of Allah. As we all know, the very purpose of life itself is to lead it in such a way that we inherit our real home which is Al-Jannah. That is the meaning of the Deen of Islam. Deen is not different from the Dunya. Deen is the way to live in this Dunya so that when we stand before Allah we will receive His Mercy and entry into Jannah.
My Brothers and Sisters, You are called Muslims because our father Ibrahim (AS) named us ‘Muslims’ by His statement and his actions. Allah said about this:
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
Hajj 22: 78. And strive hard in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islam), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger (Muhammad) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So establish As-Salat, give Zakat and hold fast to Allah. He is your Maula; what an Excellent Maula (Patron) and what an Excellent Helper!
Rasoolullah (SAS) named us the most beneficial of people: He said: “The example of my Ummah is like that of rain. It is not known whether the initial part (of the rain) is good or the latter part.” (at-Tirmidhi)
Allah called us Khaira Ummah for the same reason – because we are for the benefit of all other people. Allah said:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ
A’al Imraan 3:110. You [Muslims] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.
This is an opportunity and a reminder for us to examine our lives and see how we are benefiting humanity and all those who share this planet with us. Let us ask ourselves before Allah asks us. We were not sent to live like animals, from sensation to sensation, without any purpose. We were sent with a purpose and a duty and will be helped by Allah only when we start to work to fulfill that purpose.
And if we don’t? Allah made that also very clear when He said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَن يَرْتَدَّ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَلاَ يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لآئِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاء وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Ma’aida 5: 54. O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.
The spirit of the Udhiya (Qurbani) is submission to the Will of Allah. Submission when the very action of submission may well be painful to yourself. When submitting to the Will of Allah may mean denying yourself something that you find pleasant. When the submission may seem to be a source of loss or even harmful to the one who looks at it with the blind unseeing eyes of the Dunya. But to the one who sees with the eyes of Taqwa as Ismail (AS) did, he will see the blessing behind it. He will see the beauty of fulfillment of the purpose of our very existence, to obey Allah. To seek His pleasure above all else and to be prepared to sacrifice our dearest possessions, actions, and desires, for the pleasure of Allah.
لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ كَذَلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدَافِعُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ خَوَّانٍ كَفُورٍ
Surah Al-Hajj: 37-38 It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah but it is (taqwa) piety from you that reaches Him. Thus We have made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) to the Muhsinun (People who do good – Al Ihsaan). Truly Allah defends those who believe. Verily Allah does not like any treacherous ingrate (those who disobey Allah and obey Shaytaan)
The purpose of Qurbani is to inculcate the spirit of submission, of sacrificing our personal desires to win the pleasure of Allah and become among those who Allah has called Al-Muhsinun. In today’s world that is full of ever increasing tests and tribulations for Muslims everywhere, we wonder what the way out of all these difficulties is for the Muslims. We seek answers in complex strategies. We seek to protect ourselves, our families and countries from our enemies. But in all this how often do we remember what Allah said about those who He promised to defend?
Allah said:إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدَافِعُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا
Haj 22:38: “Truly Allah defends those who have Imaan.”
And what is this Imaan that is desired by Allah in His slaves? This is what the story of Ibrahim (AS) teaches us. When we have this level of Imaan and Tawakkul then Allah will command the fire of opposition to become cool and a means of safety for us as He did in the case of Ibrahim (AS) when He said:
قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ
I remind myself and you that for those who Allah wishes to protect He turns the very means of their destruction into means of their protection. He did this in the case of Nuh , Musa and in the case of Ibrahim (Peace be on them all).
The condition in all these cases is that the person dedicates himself to the service of Allah and submits his own will to the Will of Allah. Then the doors of Allah’s mercy are opened to him and the creation is made subservient to him. It is strange today that in our homes, the conversation revolves around every topic except winning the pleasure of Allah. How many homes do you know where parents and children take stock of what they did in that week to please Allah? I know many homes where parents check their children’s performance at school or sports. I know many homes where the husband and wife talk about their financial position that month, about a holiday they may be planning, about the need to find a bride or groom for their children, about investments that they may have made or are planning to make for their children’s future.
But I am not sure that I know too many homes where, when they say investment, they mean investment in the Aakhira. When they say plan, they mean plan to increase their worship, obedience, sacrifice in order to please Allah. I don’t know many homes where parents ask their children about the quality of their Salah or where the child, when he wants to see a picture of concentration in Salah, he thinks of how his father or mother pray. I would like to respectfully submit to the sisters, that though it is the responsibility of your men to lead in this respect, it is your responsibility to be the powers behind them and give them that additional push that many of my kind need.
It is your responsibility to create in your home an environment that is a counterpoint to what the children see on television and in society around them. To demonstrate values in the home that the child can use as a benchmark to judge whether what he or she is seeing in society is good or bad. To create an atmosphere of peace, harmony, sukoon, nurturing, caring and discipline that their friends who come to visit your home will be influenced by. That is your safety net for your children. Don’t neglect it.
It is your responsibility to make the home a place of renewal of energy, a sanctuary of safety from the assault of society. To make the home a place where it is not only acceptable but desirable and necessary to speak of Allah and His Messenger (SAS); of what pleases Allah and of what the Sunnah of His Messenger (SAS) is. Today such conversations have become taboo in many homes. The moment you mention the name of AllahY, people’s faces fall and their eyes go dead, as if you mentioned something unpleasant which they did not want to hear. It is the responsibility of the sisters to create an atmosphere where the name of Allah will make people sit up and take notice and renew their interest in the conversation. Only from such an environment will arise the Revivers of Islam that we so desperately need. That is in your hands.
My brothers and sisters in Islam, I would like to wish you all a wonderful Eid ul Adha and request you in the middle of your enjoyment of eating good food and meeting relatives and friends to spare a little time to remember and remind each other of the true spirit of sacrifice (Qurbani). To remember and remind each other of Muslims in other parts of the world who don’t have the means or the safety to celebrate this Eid. I want to remind you that many such live right here amongst us. Let us go and look for them and bring a smile to their faces and ensure that they have a good full meal today and their children wear good clothes. May Allah be pleased with you and accept your worship.
Eid Mubarak to you all.