The Festival of Sacrifice
By Masood Ali Khan
Owing to the nature of my profession, close observation of my surrounding has become a part of my daily and routine activity. I tend to take notice of everything – from casual to infrequent. On the morning of Eid after Eid prayers as I was heading back home, I saw the first sacrificial rituals of the day being started in the area. My first observation, rather my first experience of the day was trying to wade through the blood-spattered streets with heaps of animal waste all over the place. I also saw people dressed up neatly for the day and passing felicitations to each other for performing the religious ritual. Having seen the two different sights my mind was echoing with the word: contradiction.
Eid-al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice is also referred to as the Greater Eid due to the dual importance attached to it: the day marks the end of Hajj and most importantly a prophet’s willingness to sacrifice his most prized belonging to God. The concept of Qurbani or sacrifice is well-interpreted in Islamic texts and teachings. Unfortunately, the way it is now performed is not reflective of the true essence of the religion. It has become more of a show than a commemoration of a prophetic procedure; an event which is narrated in the Quran and other Holy Scriptures too. It is on these occasions that the serious contradictions, in our public and private behavior; in our social and personal standing; and in our personal and national conditions; become exposed. Around the animal markets where some people can afford to spend thousands of rupees, poverty is clearly visible in the form of people who have no place to live and whose children can be seen rummaging through garbage to earn some money. This is just one and perhaps the most visible of many more examples of the situation and the state of development prevailing in our society.
In trying to think about ways of closing the gaps between these contradictions, the problem arises of not being able to change ourselves, to keep to ourselves only the personal aspects i.e., our beliefs and come forward with a change factor that serving humanity should be the top priority. Understanding the needs of others and caring for the deprived can initiate change for good. However idealistic this may sound but it is not something that humans are not capable to do. It only takes shunning self-indulgence and willing to sacrifice our personal desires for the sake of sincerely following God’s command of Huqoq-ul-Ibaad. Understanding the concept of sacrifice can lead us to play our roles in the development of our country.
Concluding this thought for the day I believe that “Qurbani” should not be seen in the simplistic meaning of the word but a concept, a philosophy which instills such values as sharing ones good fortune with the less fortunate ones.
The author is a student of M.Phil “International Development Studies” and working in the development sector. He can be reached at email@example.com