Eid-el-Kabir: Imbibing lessons of love, obedience

Ishaq Akintola

The Eid-el-Kabir is here again, and Nigerian Muslim faithful will join their counterparts all over the world to celebrate the yearly event, this Friday. As they prepare to mark this unique festival, what are the lessons derivable from the event? What should adherents do to sustain such lessons? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.

‘Those Who Fear Allah Easily Overcome’
(Amb) Nasir Awhelebe Uhor JP, Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs)
Today, over one billion Muslims worldwide celebrate the festival of Eid-el Adha, more popularly known as Eid-el Kabir. But it all started over three thousand five hundred years ago. Prophet Ibrahim had, all his youthful and adult life, waged a relentless one-man war against rampant idolatry among his people.

He even destroyed most of the idols his people worshipped. So appalled were his people that they dumped him in a raging fire intending to inflict on him extremely painful death.

But Allah rescued him by cooling the fire. Prophet Ibrahim’s reaction to his rescue was true to his nature: “I am going to my Lord. He will guide me.” And his plea to his Lord? “My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous. His Lord responded with a promise of “a forbearing boy.”

When that lone son (Ishmael) was old enough to walk around with his father, Allah in a dream ordered his father to sacrifice the boy to Him. Troubled by the dream, he told his son and asked his opinion. Ishmael’s reply? “O my Father! Do that which you are commanded. Insha’ Allah (if Allah wills) you shall find me of As-Sabirun (the patient).”

The Qur’an further recorded that when both father and son had submitted themselves (to the will of Allah) and the sacrifice was about to take place, Allah called to Prophet Ibrahim (saw) saying: “You have fulfilled the dream!”

He confirmed that it was “indeed a manifest trial.” Because he and his son overcame this epic trial, Allah ransomed the son “with a great sacrifice” (a ram) and, to the father: “…We left for him a goodly remembrance among later generations.”

To cap it all, Allah ordained: “Salam (peace) be upon Ibrahim” (Qur’an 37:98-109).

This Great Sacrifice and Ransom are what Muslims the world over celebrate as Eid-el Adha. First, without knowing much about Allah, Prophet Ibrahim spent all his life fighting to establish His worship among his disbelieving people.

As punishment, his people threw him into raging fire. Allah promptly rewarded him with a rescue.

Secondly, Prophet Ibrahim did not wander away after that. He returned to His Rescuer with a request for a righteous baby boy. Allah so granted it. Thirdly, Allah put him to severe trial over that same sole son.

Fourthly, Prophet Ibrahim through unquestioning submission to His will emerged successful. Then Allah once again rewarded him and his son (Ishmael) bountifully with great ransom, sacrifice; permanent remembrance of him (Ibrahim) by later generations, including ours; and then peace permanent.

For Muslims, the lessons are legion and permanent for those who follow the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim. What we require to overcome our own peculiar Ibrahimic trials and earn similar monumental blessings permanently is total and unquestioning surrender to the will of Allah in the conduct of our daily affairs. Period!

In other words, we must live our lives for Allah alone. The moment we distance ourselves from the fear of Allah, that is when we fall into all manner of evil. Allah directed His messenger as follows: “Say (O Muhammad) verily my prayers, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are all for Allah, Lord of all the worlds.” Qur’an 6: 162.

Holding firmly to this directive, and in the process reaping Prophet Ibrahim’s permanent blessings, is the major challenge facing Muslims today.

‘Id al-Kabir Teaches Us About Hope For Nigeria’
(Professor Is-haq Akintola, Director of MURIC/Lecturer, Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, Lagos)
Nigerians have a lot to learn from Id al-Kabir. First and foremost it teaches forbearance, hope and strong faith in Almighty Allah. Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham may peace be upon him) retained hope and faith in Allah despite his barrenness even at old age.

He did not believe the angels who brought glad tidings that he would beget a son because of his advanced age (Qur’an 15:54). Even his wife doubted that she would have any child (Qur’an11: 71 – 73; 51:24 – 30). Yet this promise of Allah came to pass and Ibrahim begot a male child at the old age of 86.

There is an important lesson here. There is hope for Nigeria even at 57. Allah has His wonderful ways of turning things around. He gives life to the dead and light where there is darkness. Nigeria can rise again at 57 years of age, if Prophet Ibrahim could still get children at the old age of 86. What we need is hard work, change of mindset, transparency and accountability. We must have faith and continue to pray for our country.

Another germane lesson is in Qur’an 37:102-107, where the story of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice is narrated. He had promised Allah that he would sacrifice his son to him, if he ever had one. This was after waiting for a long period and he had despaired. The promise was made in his state of desperation, but he forgot about it after begetting children.

Prof. Dawud Noibi

‘Obedience To God’s Will Is Very Essential As Muslims’
(Prof. Dawud Noibi, Executive Secretary/CEO Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN)
AL-‘LD AL-AD-HAA, otherwise known as al-‘Id al-Kabir (the great festival) is the occasion that marks the culmination of Hajj in Islam.

While only pilgrims performing Hajj in any particular year observe the rites of that fifth pillar of Islam, the rest of the Muslim world join in celebrating the culmination. What that signifies is, among other lessons, that the status of Prophet Ibraahim/Abraham (pbuh) as a worthy role model applies not only to the pilgrims, but also to all the faithful the world over.

The crux of religion, as revealed by Allah (God) to all of His Messengers and Prophets, is unconditional acceptance of, and unreserved submission to directives coming from Him (Qur’an 2:38); that is, the doing of God’s Will on earth, as it is in Heaven by the angels, who do not disobey Him (Qur’an 66:6). That is the only concept of religion that is acceptable to God (Qur’an 3:19, 85).

Meanwhile, though some Messengers and Prophets preceded Ibraahim, Allah chose him as role model for all mankind (Qur’an 2:124) saying that only the foolish of mind would turn his back to the religion of Ibraahim (Qur’an 2:30).

Prophet Ibraahim (pbuh) demonstrated the crux of that religion, when he laid down his only child at the time – namely Ismail/Ishmael (not Is-haq/Isaac) – with a view to offering him to Allah as commanded by Him, most trying as it was.

However, all Allah wanted Ibraahim to demonstrate was the unreserved willingness to comply, not the actual slaughter of his son. Having so demonstrated, he was given a ram to offer in the place of Ismail, which signifies Allah’s Grace of rewarding you richly in this world and more so ultimately in the Hereafter, if you place obedience to Him over fulfilling the desires of the flesh (Qur’an 79:40, 41).

This is the main and overall lesson of Hajj, whose rites are a sharp reminder of Ibraahim’s and his family’s total surrender to Allah throughout their lives. It is also the crux of the message of the slaughter of the ram by the rest of the Muslims back home in different parts of the world.

An assuredly effective and rewarding solution to the challenges that our nation -indeed all mankind – battles with today can be achieved only through resort to true righteousness.

The various threats to security, as well as the numerous forms of corruption bedeviling our society and the resultant implications of these for the economy are nothing but results of lack of consciousness of ultimate accountability to God, especially in the life to come. This is also true of the mistrust that hinders cordiality among our various ethnic and religious groups.

What we need, as a nation, are sincere, concerted and sustained efforts towards propagating the kind of God-consciousness demonstrated by Prophet Ibraahim (pbuh). It will surely guarantee for our nation and for us as individuals a lasting solution to all the challenges confronting us. Our life here will be much more peaceful, trouble-free, and the Hereafter eternally glorious.

It is instructive that Allah not only rewarded Ibraahim in this world, but also guaranteed for him eternal success in the Hereafter (Qur’an 2:30). Conversely, striving to achieve success in the Hereafter guarantees true success, even in the present life (Qur’an 17:19, 20).

Taofeek Olawunmi Agbaje

‘Festival Teaches Us To Love Allah And Our Neighbours’
(Arc. Taofeek Wunmi Agbaje, National President, Jamatul Islamiyya of Nigeria/ Overseas)
Eid-el-Kabir, also called the “Sacrifice Feast,” honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to ALLAH’S command. Before he sacrificed his son, ALLAH intervened by sending his angel Jibra’il (Gabriel), who then put a sheep in his son’s place.

In commemoration of this, an animal was sacrificed and divided into three parts: the family retained one third of the share; another third was given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third was given to the poor and needy.

The lessons of this festival are that we must have absolute belief and total submission to the will of Almighty ALLAH, give charity and love our neighbours.To sustain the lessons, Eid al-Kabir begins with a prayer of two rakats followed by a sermon (khutbah), which the Imam is expected to emphasise on the lessons of the festival.

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