THE EDITOR: Tomorrow Muslims will join with those pilgrims performing hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, in commemoration of the intended sacrifice by the patriarch Abraham of his son Ishmael.
It is the time of hajj, when Muslims from all over the world gather in Mecca to pay homage to Abraham and Ishmael for an act of submission to Allah, which occurred more than 4,000 years ago.
It commemorates the piety of Abraham in submitting to Allah as recorded in the Qur’an: “My Lord, grant me a doer of good deeds. So, we gave him the good news of a fore-bearing son. But when he became of age to work with him, he said: ‘O my son, I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice thee, so consider what thou seest.’ He said: ‘O my father, do as thou art commanded, if Allah please, thou will find me patient’” (Qur’an ; 37: 100-102).
It is to be noted that Abraham consulted with his son Ishmael on the request which was made of him. Abraham did not compel Ishmael to accede to his dream, demonstrating that there was no compulsion by Abraham that Ishmael must do as was asked.
The institution of Eid-ul-Adha, from the very beginning, demonstrates that there is no compulsion in religion. It is a tenet of Islam which every Muslim must follow.
As it is so common in all religions of the world, some adherents do the diametric opposite to what the holy books command, under the guise of religion. Such is the case of ISIS, Boko Haram and perhaps even the Muslim gangs and the Rasta City gangs, as they are labelled here in Trinidad.
Eid-ul-Adha is a time when we must reflect on the message that the Holy Prophet Abraham left for us. There must be fatherly interaction in the family and no generation gap. It is to be noted that Abraham was 84 years old and Ishmael only 14 years at the time.
If our young people take Ishmael as an example, they would have faith in the integrity of their father and that affinity to accede to his divine spiritually.
Let this Eid-ul-Adha be a time for a spiritual awakening in family life, with fathers taking up their true responsibility in their homes, with themselves like the patriarch Abraham and instilling in their sons confidence and obedience in them.
IMAAM IQUBAL HYDAL
Iere Village Mosque