EID UL ADHA
Monday 12 August 2019 (10 Dhul Hijja 1440)
by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
Brothers and sisters, on this auspicious occasion of Eid ul Adha, I would like to extend our congratulations to the whole Ummah of Islam, and those present here today who joined in this grand ceremony of praying and Takbeeraat and acknowledging the greatness of Almighty Allah (SWT) and surrendering to His Will by coming together on this day of Eid, which is of course, the source of dignity, respect and power for the Ummah and our leader Rasulullah (SAWA).
As we read in the qunoot of Eid salaah (5 times in the first raka’at and 4 times in the second raka’at):
أَسْأَلُكَ بِحَقّ هذَا الْيَوْمِ الّذِي جَعَلْتَهُ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ عِيداً
“I beseech You in the name of this day, which You have decided to be feast for the Muslims.”
وَلِمُحَمّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِه ذُخْراً وَمَزِيداً
“And to be safety and increasing honour for Muhammad—peace of Allah be upon him and his Household”
EID – THE CELEBRATION OF HONOUR AND DIGNITY OF ISLAM
Indeed brothers and sisters, this gathering on the day of Eid is the day of honour and dignity for our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). Or course, when Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) migrated to Madina, he found that the inhabitants, who were non-believers, celebrated 2 Eids.
He persuaded them to leave these celebrations from the era of ignorance, since Almighty Allah (SWT) has replaced these 2 days of their celebration, with 2 great days of Eid, and that is Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. Naturally, every nation and community has days of celebration. These could be religious, national or sometimes it could be linked to a natural phenomenon. An example is Nowruz, which is celebrated by Persians as their New Year and also their first day of the Spring season.
Islam also has the concept of Eid and celebration entrenched, but Islam emerged with celebration beyond any natural occasion, and also beyond any purely historical foundation or basis. Instead, Islam presented this concept of Eid to the Ummah with its own experience. Therefore, these 2 Eids (Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha) which are very much connected to history, although not confined to history, are Eids which we celebrate as an achievement we have completed.
I would like to discuss the following 5 points associated with Eid:
- Eid is the culmination after achieving something special
- Eid is connected with the remembrance of Almighty Allah (SWT)
- The spirit of Eid is about sharing
- Eid allows us to connect with family and friends
- Eid is a festival day of happiness
EID IS THE CULMINATION AFTER ACHIEVING SOMETHING SPECIAL
We celebrate Eid ul Fitr because we have fasted for 30 days and completed our Ibadah (acts of worship), and self-development. Now, we are afforded this day to celebrate this great achievement and hard work on our souls over the past 30 days. It is a celebration of achievement which is present in our personal life.
Similarly, Eid ul Adha, which is indeed connected to Nabi Ibrahim (a.s) and Nabi Ismail (a.s). Again, this Eid is not simply about history, as it is an Eid where we celebrate the achievement of those who could manage to perform one of the pillars of Islam and great responsibilities on every Muslim. This is the great responsibility of Hajj.
The main function of Hajj is Arafah. Now, once you have completed the stay in Arafah, and Muzdalifah, and Mashar al Haram as the Holy Quran explains, you are almost done with the Hajj. You have achieved that main part of Hajj, and are celebrating the day after this achievement. All over the world we celebrate this special day with them, expressing our happiness and pleasure that they were successful in completing these important milestones of Hajj.
Furthermore, we share with them in Qurbani.
So, to emphasize the point, in Islam, Eid is after achieving something special.
EID IS CONNECTED WITH THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALMIGHTY ALLAH (SWT)
The second important point about Eid is that it is always connected with the remembrance (zikr) of Almighty Allah (SWT). In other cultures, Eid is to forget Almighty Allah (SWT). It is to “let loose” and have a good party! In Islam, Eid is initiated with Takbeeraat – Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar walillahil hamd. This is the practice for both Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha, coupled with the special salaah of Eid.
So, before we start our celebration and festivities of Eid, we connect ourselves to Almighty Allah (SWT) through the special salaah of Eid.
THE SPIRIT OF EID IS ABOUT SHARING
The third very important point is that Eid is incomplete without sharing. This is a very important aspect of Eid, which has the spirit of sharing as central. Eid ul Fitra has the spirit of giving Fitra, while Eid ul Adha is about sharing our Qurbani with those in great need. The spirit is one of purely sharing. It is not simply about giving out. It is not really a charity. Similarly, fitra on Eid ul Fitr is in the spirit of sharing.
Therefore, it is amazing that when Imam Ali (a.s) was asked what should be done with the meat of Qurbani, he did not say that we should give it all away. Instead, he advised that it should be divided into 3 portions, of which one third should be kept for your family and yourself. Another one third should be given to your neighbours, and the final third should be given to the needy.
Shaikh al-Saduq, the great scholar of the Islamic Golden Age, narrates from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) who said that Almighty Allah (SWT) has made this the Eid of sacrifice so that you can feed those who are in need.
Similarly, the great Shaikh al-Kulayni narrated that our 6th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) advised that it is very highly recommended to do Qurbani, on behalf of your family and not only oneself.
EID ALLOWS US TO CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
The fourth important point on all these celebrations of Eid is that it provides this opportunity to connect with your family and friends through getting together. This is one of the points which Islam, Rasulullah (SAWA) and the Ahlul Bait (a.s) emphasized repeatedly, for us to be connected with our family and community.
EID IS A FESTIVAL DAY OF HAPPINESS
The fifth point to highlight is one of happiness and celebration. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoyment. Our piety is not only confined to crying! Yes, crying has its importance in our spiritual development, but it does not mean that this is all that is promoted in Islam!
There are indeed important happy occasions to celebrate. Imam Ali (a.s) says that happiness and enjoyment opens a person’s soul and brings freshness and strength to somebody. There is really nothing wrong. In fact, it is an Ibadah (act of worship) to make a Mu’min (believer) smile and be happy.
Our 5th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s) promoted this quite strongly, and said that Almighty Allah (SWT) has not been worshipped better than those who make a Mu’min happy. This is indeed a very good action, if it is done within the limits of Shariah and good manners and etiquette (Akhlaq).
To conclude this first khutbah, let me draw reference to a Hadith narrated from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) who said that in Jannah (Heaven), there is a place called Dar al-Faragh ie. House of Happiness, and nobody will be allowed to enter this place, except those who make children happy. This reminds us of the importance of making children happy and making them enjoy.
EID TEACHES US THAT NOTHING IS ACHIEVED WITHOUT SACRIFICE
Besides the common elements noted between the 2 Eids of Fitr and Adha, this Eid naturally has special significance, and the special message of this Eid is the message of Nabi Ibrahim (a.s). This message is that any achievement is not possible without sacrifice. Sacrifice is the prime condition to achieve any goal. This is the message of Nabi Ibrahim (a.s) on this auspicious day.
If the goal is supreme, then the price you will have to pay is also very high. You cannot achieve anything great with a small price.
Therefore, it is most crucial for all of us to understand, that in our spiritual life, and in our socio-political life as the Ummah, we will not be able to achieve anything without sacrifice.
We read Surah A’ala (chapter 87 of the Holy Quran) in the Salaat of Eid, which speaks about the people of Tazkiyatun Nafs, meaning those who purify themselves. What is their quality? Verses 16 and 17 explain that they are the ones who sacrifice the life of this world (dunya) for the hereafter (akhirah):
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
16. “But ye prefer the life of the world”
وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
17. “Although the Hereafter is better and more enduring.”
These verses further confirm that this world is very temporary, while the hereafter is much more sustainable and long-lasting. Verse 18 explains the message, that it is a principle established from very early on. This means that the principle of sacrifice is an ultimate principle from day 1 until the Day of Judgement (Qiyamah).
إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَفِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَىٰ
18. “And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation).”
This Eid reminds us that we have to sacrifice this dunya. We have to sacrifice something which we love and in the case of Nabi Ibrahim (a.s), even the most beloved son needs to be sacrificed. Sometimes we need to sacrifice our egos, and sometimes we need to sacrifice our dear ones. This is the spirit of sacrifice!
We need to sacrifice. There is no other way.
This Eid comes just before Muharram. This Eid of sacrifice, which is in the last month of the Islamic calendar (Dhul Hijja), comes with a message of sacrifice and the first month of the new year comes with the ultimate sacrifice of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) of Rasulullah (SAWA). This is the ultimate sacrifice of Sayed as-Shuhada Aba Abdillah al Hussain (a.s).
The message is clear, as said by the great revolutionary poet of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, Allama Iqbal. Iqbal explains that the story of this Haram of Allah (SWT) is very simple. The narrative of this story of the Haram of Mecca starts with Nabi Ismail (a.s) and reaches to its climax with Imam Hussain (a.s). Sacrifice! This is very, very important for us to learn and accept.
POLITICAL IMPOTENCE OF HAJJ IS THE SILENT DESECRATION OF ITS SANCTITY
Hajj is the manifestation of unity of this Ummah. Hajj is the universal assembly, where we get to know each other and understand each other at a central location. Honestly talking, nobody can dispute or disagree with the socio-political content of Hajj. Those who propagate that there is no politics in Hajj are actually the ones who have the biggest politics in Hajj! They are the ones who play politics in Hajj more than anyone else.
If it is politics to serve the enemies of Islam, where you keep people’s minds closed and you don’t allow them to open their eyes to know about their brethren suffering in other parts of the world, while they are together on one field of Arafah! Is this not politics? This is pure politics, serving purely the political agenda of the enemies of Islam. Their approach is to keep us silent and occupied in rituals, shutting off our minds to even think of or know about each other.
This is politics! But what type of politics? Is it politics to stand for justice or is it politics to cover oppression and injustice, and hide and justify their brutality?!
ANNUAL HAJJ MESSAGE BY AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI
I would like to draw your attention to this message of Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei on the occasion of Hajj. There are a few very striking points from his message, besides the issue of unity and the central theme of Palestine.
There are a couple of points I want to elaborate on. Firstly, he says that today, raising our voice against hegemony and imperialism is not only for Arabs or for Muslims. Rather, it is for humanity. This is a very striking point which Ayatollah Khamenei mentions. This deal of the century which they are working on is not only against all Palestinians, nor is it only against Muslims. What it really is intended to do is silence all the oppressed!
All of a sudden this initiated a response from the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to this point made by Ayatollah Khamenei. Important to note that they never react to Ayatollah Khamenei’s annual Hajj message…
Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the racism at play ie. in the form of white supremacy. This racist agenda, being perpetuated by the present American government is equally dangerous in our own country. Perhaps it is not in the legal, institutionalised form in which we suffered over decades, but the challenge of white supremacy has not gone anywhere!
Their mentality and approach, actions and attitude towards the majority of the people of our country has not changed. In fact, it has just taken a very beautiful shape or disguise, which fools people.
- Are they ready to share? NO!
- Are they ready to accept others as equal to themselves? NO!
- Are they ready to acknowledge the extraordinary privileges they enjoyed? NO!
- Do they wake up with this guilt every morning, that they are enjoying the resources which does not belong to them? NO!
Therefore, brothers and sisters, Hajj is a universal gathering and an opportunity to rethink and review our position and the challenges facing this Ummah.