Eid-el-Adha : Why muslims should emulate exemplary life of Prophet Ibraheem
As Nigerian Muslims join their counterparts all over the world to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Adha on Saturday, what lessons can Nigerians draw from the sacrifice and absolute faith in the Almighty by Prophet Ibraheem, who incidentally, was reverenced by the adherents of the two major religions — Islam and Christianity — as the father of the faithful and most especially when the country is at a crossroad of a decisive decision that can impact the 2023 General Elections? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
‘Great Sacrifice Must Be Made Towards Organising Free And Peaceful Elections In 2023’
(Barrister Alatoye Folorunso Abdul Azeez, Amir, Head Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria)
ON behalf of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, I felicitate with Muslims in Nigeria and across the world on the auspicious Eid-el-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) of this year 1443/2022. It is gratifying that Eid-el-Adha serves as a reminder of that example of sacrifice set over 4,000 years ago. Despite so much time having elapsed, the believers have kept this memory alive and it has not diminished.
Yet, there will be those who celebrate this Eid merely as a festival; who sacrifice animals merely as an occasion of happiness. However, a true believer must remember the importance and the spirit of that sacrifice offered by the Great Patriarch, Prophet Ibraheem (peace be on him). The spirit and essence of this sacrifice have been declared in the chapter 22 verse 38 of the Holy Quran thus: “Their flesh reaches not Allah, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him. Thus, has He subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for His guiding you. And give glad tidings to those who do good.”
In this light, as we go through this festive season, it is imperative that we reflect on the fact that the narrative of the sacrifice and righteousness of Prophet Ibraheem, the patience of Prophet Isma’eel and the fortitude of his mother, Hagar reverberates the core ethos and virtues that Eid-el-Adha annually enlivens in the consciousness of the faithful to emulate and demonstrate in our divine-human relationship and in all ramifications of our actions, reactions, interactions and transactions.
More importantly, for us in Nigeria, there is no doubt that we are currently passing through a critical time as a people and a nation. This is hallmarked by the gamut of challenges of political economy, endemic corruption, crippling educational and power sectors and the heightening crisis of insecurity characterised by the dastardly acts of banditry, terrorism and the incessant heinous cases of kidnapping for ransom, ritual and the senseless killings and destructions by the so-called “unknown gunmen.”
In the face of this critical situation, it becomes imperative for a people that yarns for peace and development to translate to affirmative action all the lessons of Eid-el-Adha as demonstrated by Prophet Ibraheem, particularly as Muslim and Christian reverence him as the Father of the faithful.
In the spirit of Abrahamic sacrifice and for the sake of a greater and peaceful Nigeria, great sacrifice must be made towards organising free, fair, credible and peaceful elections, as “Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice,” (Quran, 4:59).
Selfishness and parochial interest must be sacrificed for collective, national interest. More so, political participation, activism, leadership and governance must be underpinned by the spirit of sacrifice, righteousness, sincerity of purpose and selfless service to humanity and national development, cohesion, solidarity, peace and stability. Imperatively, Nigerian politicians and political leaders must sacrifice dirty and bitter politics on the altar of altruistic politics, selfish political godfatherism for patriotic statesmanship, political thuggery for sportsmanship, nepotism and favouritism for equitable distribution of the commonwealth, warfare for welfare, iniquity for equity and injustice for justice.
As the worldwide Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community noted in his 2021 Eid-el-Adha sermon, “We cannot regard these incidents as mere stories; rather these stories are a model for us. When every man strives to inculcate the example of Ibrahim, when every woman tries to inculcate the example of Hagar, while every youngster tries to inculcate the example of Isma’eel; only then will a true change come about…These all require sacrifices. No change can come about by merely listening to stories of sacrifice, rather they must be implemented. Every nation around the world will have to present sacrifices. Thus can a unity come about in the world.”
‘Incessant And Unbridled Killings In God’s Name, Under Any Guise Is Unjustified’
(Professor Ismail A. Musa, Imam, UNILAG Mosque)
THIS year’s celebration is unique because Muslim pilgrims, once again, are privileged to perform the highly meritorious devotion of hajj after the interregnum imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Allah reopened the gates of the most sacred places on earth out of His mercy and in response to our fervent supplications. It is imperative to acknowledge that human dependence on divine mercy for survival and success is indispensable.
Therefore, while we celebrate, we must acknowledge the valuable lessons inherent in the life of Ibrahim and his son Ismail. Both the hajj and Eid-el-Adha are tied to their acts of sincere faith, sacrifice, devotion, sincerity, patience, loyalty and steadfastness. These attributes are gradually receding into extinction. We fail to link the numerous human problems to the act of turning our backs against the Creator and Benefactor Who sometimes uses anecdotes from the lives of His appointed messengers to teach useful lessons. “Certainly, in their stories is an instruction for the intelligent” (Quran 12:111)
During periods of adversity, Ibrahim’s steadfastness in faith earned him uncommon favours. At an advanced age, Allah granted him two seeds, Ismail (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Isaac) (Peace Be unto Them). Many distinguished subsequently emerged from the progeny of Ibrahim and from the geographical area his mission covered. Muhammad (PBUH) fondly referred to prophets of Allah as his brothers. The common historical roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam should serve as a beacon for fostering unity of the human race, promotion of national and international peace and a reminder that human beings are in reality members of the expanding Adamic family. Human beings, in spite of diversity, should live together and work together as siblings. The armed conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen, Mexico, Nigeria should be resolved in a brotherly manner. I call on the parties to initiate peace processes that will see to the immediate end of extreme human suffering in these countries.
Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Holy Ka`bah in Makkah for the use of subsequent generations. This modest edifice to which Muslims face in salat is a symbol of Muslim unity. No one can point at any personal properties these people acquired but their enduring legacies stand today attracting flocks of beneficiaries from all over the world. Allah rewarded the faithfulness of Hajar (Ismail’s mother) to God with the much sought-after Zamzam water.
The uncommon demonstration of sincere faith to God is manifested in the readiness of Ibrahim to slaughter his son in obedience to a divine command. It is equally instructive that Ismail submissively obliged his father (Quran 37:102). According to the Quran, “We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice” (Quran 37:107). The divine intervention canceling an act that could have legislated human sacrifice is worthy of our attention. Beyond rewarding faithfulness and obedience to God, it is a further reiteration of the sanctity of the human blood. Allah prevented it from being spilled during the time of Ibrahim and up to the period of Muhammad, the last prophet. This is a big instruction for us all today. Incessant and unbridled killings in the name of God and under different guises unjustified. God Himself ensured it did not happen through divine command.
The animal sacrifice also underscores the spirit of love and sharing. The meat and other culinary items that accompany it are for distribution to the needy and acquaintances. The show of love and care should be extended to the post-celebration period. Individuals, corporate entities and governments have a responsibility to look after members of the society, especially vulnerable groups such as the indigent, the aged, orphans, widows, displaced people, the sick, the unemployed, among others. The welfare and well-being of individuals must be guaranteed at all times. We should function in a world where concern for the other person becomes a joint responsibility.
The act of total and complete obedience to God featured prominently in the life of Ibrahim and his great descendants. This act is the foundation of all that is good for humanity. Obedience to God is the best conduct. Without it, what is perceived as the best behaviour could easily turn to be the worst because it is not firmly rooted in sincere faith. The basic condition for transforming the world into abode of peace, tranquility and progress is to thread along the path indicated by God. It is the same path followed by Adam, the prophets up to Muhammad (Peace Be Unto Them All). Anyone who misbehaves is not yet walking on this path because he has not recognised God’s path as the right path. As Muslims celebrate Eid-el-Adha, I urge them to imbibe the strong message of steadfastness in faith, which the celebration emphasises.
‘Country Must Show Ibrahimic Love To Youths’
(Amb) Nasir A. Uhor (Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General)
THE Eid-el Adha is an annual reminder by Allah to mankind of the duty it owes Him. It is all about absolute and unshaken faith in Allah as the Sole Creator and Nourisher of all that exist in the Heavens and the earth. It is also about the huge and sincere sacrifice mankind is called to make towards subjecting itself completely to the will of Allah.
To achieve nearness to Allah and thus reap the huge blessings and peace from Him, believers must strengthen their belief in Allah with unwavering faith. Such pristine faith makes it very easy for believers to comply, without hesitation, with whatever Allah wills or commands just as demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim and his first son, Prophet Ismail.
As part of His reward, Allah ordained everlasting remembrance and peace on both father and son; “And we left for him (a goodly remembrance) among the later generations. “Salam (peace) be upon Ibrahim!” Q37:108-109.
Not done yet, Allah showered him with more reward: “And we gave him the glad tidings of Ishaq (Isaac) – a Prophet from the righteous. We blessed him and Ishaq (Isaac)” Q37:112-113.
If we do not have unquestioning faith in Allah, and do not make sacrifices – no matter how bitter, big or small, to please Him only, there is no way we can claim the mind-boggling blessings He has laid in store for each of us. Nor can we ever know peace. I heard it also said that Allah decreed that any one who blessed Prophet Ibrahim shall himself reap bounteous blessings.
It is for this reason you often hear some believers claiming: “Abraham’s blessings are mine!” But then the decree is also said to pronounce a severe curse on any one who defames and or blasphemes Allah’s Friend and father of both Ismail and Ishaq. None has ever been heard claiming this curse! Yet, there are legions of some who claim to be believers who blithely and repeatedly accuse the Father of Monotheism of adultery. Astaghafrullah, may Allah forgive that I even uttered such blasphemy!
And so, how do all these fit or pan out with the happenings in the country? First, Prophet Ibrahim begged Allah for, got his first son, whom he loved dearly. Such was the bond of friendship between father and son, strengthened with clear, timely communications, that the trusting son did not even bat an eye when his father told him about his dream to sacrifice him to Allah. Love, belief, trust and willingness to please Allah were the virtues shared by father and son.
We can’t say that much for the country, between the fathers (governors or rulers) and sons (youths) of the country. Over the decades, the presidents and governors, better still, governments of the country have been running its affairs as if the country is all adults and no youths!
We are at the crossroads because there is a total, lingering disconnect between the governments and the youths of the country. They speak different languages. The latter speaks the language that cries for welfare: food, healthcare, education and productive environment that enables him to freely express his talents and sustainably achieve decent living. But the latter responds with crass greed, ethnic and religious bigotry backed by retrogressive and vegetative instead of regenerative economic programmes.
The 2023 general elections must be about halting the frightening but gradual decent into anarchy. It must be about renewing faith in Allah, begging Him to heal our self-inflicted injuries, then make determined sacrifice to obey His will. And this obedience ought to lead to more humane governance system that should free all those tones of money stashed away at home and abroad for investment in the critical sectors that will guarantee food, health, educational and economic security. It should also enthrone justice and equity in our national ethos. There’s no better way to show the Ibrahimic love to the Ismails of this country and also pull the chair under the sundry criminality that masquerade as banditry, terrorism, cultism, insurgency, kidnapping and armed robbery.
‘In Spirit Of Eid-el-Adha Nigerians Should Pray For Country To Be Stronger, United’
(Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike, Chief Missioner of Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT)
AS Nigerians prepare for 2023 presidential election and in the spirit of the Eid-el Adha 1443 AH corresponding to year 2022, I enjoined Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the season to fervently pray for the nation to come out stronger and more united after the forthcoming presidential and general elections.
We should be aware that, a peaceful, prosperous and progressive nation is a sine qua non for efficient and rewarding practice of our religious obligations. Muslims need to play our roles by voting credible leaders and praying to Allah to continue to bless our choice of leaders and provide them with required guidance, patience and knowledge. Voter apathy, which was clearly shown in the last two gubernatorial elections of Anambra and Ekiti states should not be allowed to happen again. It will be recalled that, according to INEC, 360,753 persons voted in the just concluded Ekiti gubernatorial election, out of the total 988,923 registered voters, representing a meagre 36.5 per cent voter turnout, and a 17.8 per cent drop compared to that of the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Allah says, “and that man shall have nothing but what he has striven for” (Q53:39). We should, therefore, do our own part by obtaining our Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and voting wisely for credible candidates with the character, capacity, vision, commitment, courage, creativity, consistency, and conscientiousness required to address the urgent human development, infrastructural and socio-economic issues facing the nation including rising poverty, insecurity and inequality.