EID-Ul- Adha is a Muslim festival celebrated in Guyana and it was celebrated this past week. It is a remembrance of Prophet Ibraheem’s obedience to Allah.
The festival is celebrated with grandeur by the Muslim community. The day begins with praying from the crack of dawn and then leads into the sacrifice of animals. The meat from the animals is divided into three parts: one portion for family and friends; another for the less fortunate and finally, the last portion is for the family itself.
This partition of meat is the representation of the sacrifice needed to acquire gains in return. The sacrifice of the animal to share meat with others is an illustration that one is willing to sacrifice some of one’s possessions- one of their means of survival (food) – to the less fortunate and to loved ones.
And the genesis of Eid- Ul- Adha: (Imam) dates back to aeons ago during Ibraheem’s time on Earth. It is a story of sacrifice.
In a dream, Allah- the almighty God, asked his disciple Ibraheem to make the ultimate sacrifice: his son, whom he waited many years for.
Faithful Ibraheem was obedient and set out to sacrifice his (only) son but Allah, so pleased by his obedience took away Ibraheem’s power to kill his son and Allah sent an angel to replace Ibraheem’s son with a ram which was sacrificed instead.
The origin story has transcended the years and today, Muslims seek to emulate the faithfulness shown by Ibraheem and his willingness to sacrifice, because according to the Deputy Imaam of the Queenstown Masjid, Omar Haniff, nothing is achieved without some sacrifice.
“In anything- in education, in wealth, anything you want to grow in- you show me a great achievement and I will show you a long list of sacrifices,” Haniff shared. “We are shown the great example of Abraham- Ibraheem as we say in Arabic… and we are told to emulate that,” he said.
More than that, Haniff affirmed that the sacrifice is not only physical but also deals with intrinsic changes. “We are asked to part with some money and to make a sacrifice of an animal, not for the meat but to show that willingness to part with something; to show that willingness to part with something, to share with the poor, to develop that fraternity and that community and to kill the greed that is [in] each of us,” he said.
Like the Imaam explained, sacrifices are necessary and while I suppose our own volition is fundamental in achieving success or whatever desires we hold, I personally do not know of instances where sacrifices were not required to achieve something. And it isn’t me alone.
As long as I can recall following the top performers for the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) or the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations, there has not been a single student that has not spoken about the need to sacrifice some sleep, or some fun time to focus on studying for their exams.
And whether you’re a believer in Islam or even in any religion, I believe the message being advanced is universal enough. Nothing is achieved without some sacrifice and or willingness to sacrifice paves the way for gains to come.