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Message of Eid-ul-Azha

Shahid Shahnawaz

The writer is poet and journalist.

Eid-ul-Azha is being observed by Muslims around the world with traditional religious zeal and fervor. The auspicious day marks the extreme sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (May Allah Bless Him) centuries ago who was willing to sacrifice this own son Prophet Ismail (May Allah Bless Him) on the orders of Almighty Allah.
Nearly a century ago, Poet of the East Allama Iqbal said ‘Was it book lesson or father’s glance, that taught Ismail the rights of a son.” The people of Nimrod has ordained that Prophet Ibrahim would be thrown in pit fire with his hands and feet chained. He could have asked to be saved but he replied that Allah is sufficient for him. The Almighty ordered the fire to cool down and provide safety to Ibrahim. The fire obeyed and Prophet Ibrahim came out unscathed as if he was coming from a beautiful garden, peaceful and without a trace of smoke.
Allama Iqbal beautifully narrates: “If the faith of Ibrahim is born once again, flowers will bloom where lies the scorching flame.” Today there have been drastic changes in our values and beliefs and we can no longer understand the ideology of our ancestors let alone follow it. Rather than good behaviour and actions, we focus on good looks. This does not make us a better person. Growing a beard of wearing a turban does not make you a pious person either. Nor does it make one wise enough to deliver sermons without knowing the sacrifices behind Eid-ul-Azha.
We are no comparison to the esteemed prophets who were chosen by Allah to spread the divine message and led an extraordinary life. The history of Islam teaches us that Prophet Ibrahim saw a dream that he was sacrificing his son Ismail. When Hazrat Ismail came to know of the divine orders, he offered to be sacrificed and then Allah’s miracle occurred as a father was ready to slaughter his own son. Allah had not destined Hazrat Ismail to be sacrificed but later he would be the ancestor to the most exalted Prophet Muhammad (May Peace Be Upon Him).
The Holy Prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him) said: “Actions are judged by intentions.” The intentions of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (May Allah Bless Them) were so firm that Allah accepted their sacrifice and made it a tradition till the end of the world. The believers should understand the true message of Eid-ul-Azha. We should sacrifice in the way of Allah what is most precious to us.
The sacrifice of a healthy animal on Eid-ul-Azha is part of that tradition. The meat of sacrificial animals, apart from family and friends, should also be donated generously to underprivileged people rather than filling our freezers. Today is the third day of Eid and we need to ask ourselves whether we have helped the needy, vulnerable, orphans, and other deserving members of our society. These people have the first right and we should follow Islamic injunctions and understand the true message of sacrifice.  
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