The Essence of Udhiyah
Eidul Adhaa is not simply an occasion of festivity. On this day, we recall the unwavering faith, conviction and sacrifice of Nabi Ibrahim alayhis salaam. Zayd ibn Arqam radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Companions j asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What is Udhiyah?” Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam replied, “It is the Sunnah of your father Ibrahim alayhis salaam.” (Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi)
What does this Sunnah really mean? Why do we commemorate it each year? What are we really sacrificing? What is the true significance of Eidul Adhaa?
Udhiyah is not a cold uninspiring ritual disconnected from our real world. It is a symbolic affirmation of four fundamental values which we have to imbibe into our lives each day.
It is a declaration that ‘I will unreservedly submit to the command of Allah as a manifestation of my love for my Creator.’ It is a statement that ‘I will give up what is dearest to me for the pleasure of Allah’. As Muslims, we worship Allah out of fear, love, and hope. We fear His punishment and wrath, we hope for His Mercy and forgiveness and we love Him for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. Loving Him is part of the perfection of our faith, we love what He loves, and hates what He hates. Are you willing to lay down and sacrifice what you love most for the love of Allah?
It is an explicit statement that ‘I will not subscribe to selective obedience’. Selective obedience is when we willingly submit to the command of Allah when it is convenient and suits us, and refuse to obey when it becomes inconvenient or too demanding. Selective obedience is when we tailor the Deen to meet our needs, instead of tailoring our lives to meet the dictates of our Deen. The spill of blood typifies our willingness to surrender to the commands of Allah even if it comes at a great personal cost.” “It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Apostle, to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (33:36)
It illustrates that ‘I will not wallow in self -pity and victimhood’. The spill of blood is symbolic of being resolute, decisive and purposeful. The answer of Ismail n is very telling, when his father asked him for his view on the dream. He said: “O my beloved father! Do as you have been commanded. Allah willing, you will find me from among the patient.” (37:102) He did not regard himself as a helpless victim of circumstances. Victim mentality is a mind-set which seeks to gain attention and avoid self-responsibility. In this head space you feel sorry for yourself, the world seems to be against you and you get stuck. Little or no action is taken and you get lost in a funnel of sadness and self-pity.
It exemplifies ‘My commitment to place the sword on my egos’. The spill of blood reflects your willingness to deal with the emotional diseases of the heart. The animal we sacrifice is the symbol of our nafs, the ego, the lower impulse within each and every one of us which drives towards immediate and selfish pleasures. Are we able to place the SWORD on our egos in order to spurt out the venom of rebellion, hatred, jealousy, pride, greed, etc. that saturates our behaviour and thinking? “Beware, in the body there is a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the whole body is sound; and if it is corrupt the whole body is corrupt, and pay heed, it is the heart.” [Muslim] The essence of Eidul Adhaa echoes with the cries of SURRENDER, SUBMISSION, and SACRIFICE. It is a stark reminder that life is about action, struggle, and endurance. “Die before your death,” is the essence of this Day… Kill your self-centred beastly self, lay down your egos at the altar, and boldly proclaim: “Allah is the Greatest”