The noble principle of sacrifice


THE holy festival of Eid-ul-Adha will be celebrated today in Guyana; its message of sacrifice has left an indelible mark on humanity for eternity.

The occasion, observed by Muslims the world over, commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his own son, Ishmael. The Almighty, on recognising the faithfulness of his servant, intervened before Ibrahim could have committed the act and asked that a lamb be sacrificed as an offering instead.

The story of Ibrahim has, for centuries, served as a reminder to Muslims of the faithfulness they owed to God, and has inspired many to keep the faith. From the awe-inspiring narration that was passed down from generation to generation, several themes stand out in universal support of the upliftment of humanity.

But two of them resonate with both believers and non-believers: These are sacrifice and loyalty to the Creator. In life, sacrifices are important, and many would agree that a life without God is like a ship in the ocean without a sail. God, the Supreme Being, is the embodiment of love, respect, tolerance, brotherhood, peace, unity and all the good qualities that is spiritually pure that one can think about in life.

Man, in his sojourn on Earth, is duty-bound to keep close to his Creator, and in doing so, he has to be a firm embracer of peace, unity and brotherhood; in short—humanity– to remain God-conscious. So, in loyalty to the Creator, it is important for Man to be an upholder of peace, love and unity among his fellow Mankind. This is an integral part of the universal message of sacrifice and loyalty to the Creator from the festival of Eid-ul-Adha, and it strikes a chord when it comes to Guyana.

For years, Guyana has been divided along ethnic lines, fueled by the unsavoury rhetoric of some politicians who are bent on protecting their narrow self-interests. Guyanese are peaceful and happy people, by nature, but for too long there has been distrust among the two major ethnic groups. This has not been a healthy situation for the youths of today, who want to see all hands on deck, working in the interest of the development of Guyana.

For Guyana to move forward and get to where it envisions itself to be, it will have to be united, and this would require all to make the sacrifice; putting aside all personal prejudices and collectively putting their shoulders to the wheel to build a land that is just and bountiful for all. God wants His people to be united, and to live in peace and happiness. But for this to happen, sacrifices would have to be made, and here is where the message of Eid-ul-Adha is relevant to Guyana.

No one is asked to kill to prove his obedience to the all-pervading God of love, peace and togetherness, but simply to make the sacrifice in putting their fragile egos aside, embracing commonalities, and making a concerted effort to overcome their differences.

So, as Muslims throughout Guyana and other parts of the world today engage in charitable activities and don new clothes to celebrate the sacrifice and loyalty of Abrahim, the servant of God, Guyanese, led by their political leaders, can take a step towards brotherhood by shaking off the animosity they have for each other, and set out on a path of cooperation, where all participate equally and meaningfully.

And the people, irrespective of their ethnicity, should begin to see each other as their brother’s keeper, and as part of the diverse family of the Creator. In this way, all, in some way, will demonstrate sacrifice and loyalty to the Creator, who is a God of peace, love and unity, as the story of Eid-ul-Adha reflects.