Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
Eid Mubarak to all. It is Eid season – today, tomorrow or whenever the Muslims decide to celebrate it. It is not worth fighting over. There are other things that demand our energies more urgently.
At least Hajj – Baqr Eid or Eidul Ad-ha – passes with near consensus. It is Eidul Fitr that generally causes the ruckus. Muslims begin and end the month of peace, tranquillity, tolerance and forgiveness with vehement disagreement over the Hilal – moon-sighting.
But it is Hajj time and Eid season. So, Eid Mubarak to all.
Hajj Mabroor to those whom Allah called to his house to make the Hajj. And a thousand blessings to those who were left behind to celebrate the Eid with their families and friends in their own villages, towns and communities all over the world.
Two questions are worth asking on this blessed and beautiful day of Eidul Ad-ha.
(1) Between last Eid and this one, what have we done to bring ourselves closer to Allah?
(2) Between last Eid and this one, what have we done to bring the world of Allah closer to Allah?
I believe these questions are important. For, the answer to them defines the true meaning of Eid for us. And for the world. For, if we allow ourselves – and the world of Allah – drift away from Allah from Eid to Eid, then there really is no Eid for us. Or for anyone else.
A REALITY CHECK
When we look around us, here is some of what we find.
(A) We find that the Quran, after 1400 years of its advent into this world, still remains a stranger to much of the world, including most Muslims.
(B) A truly credible and authoritative worldwide radio programme that talks about Islam and the world in simple and rational terms in English is yet to emerge with a sizable following and listenership.
(C) A viable radio programme to take the Deen of Allah to the Spanish- or Japanese- or Chinese- or Russian-speaking people of the world remains a dream.
(D) An Islamic or Muslim Youth Corps that will bring the message of Islam to the world, throughout the world, is an idea most Muslims don’t even comprehend leave alone appreciate or try to implement.
(E) To the extent we know, an Islamic Service Corps that will be dedicated to serve humanity everywhere regardless of race, religion or nationality is not on anyone’s agenda.
TWO FOR THE JOB
The other day, when I announced this idea to a Muslim group, two names came in — both very mature, perennial youth, Allah bless them. It is sad that only two people responded. But it is great that there were two more names than zero.
In the meantime, those of us whom Allah has blessed with talents and resources continue to pursue and support who knows what. The best of us have our own pet projects, our own organisational and other fetishes, obsessions and commitments.
We all have our own sense of what is or is not important. No one listens to anyone.
Allah bless us. That is who we have become: a free people under God. Stampeding in every direction and rushing into every hole that beckons to us, just like our beloved Rasul, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, predicted we would.
All of us are busy mostly doing our own thing, whatever that may be. At least most of the best of us.
The bad ones are busy doing bad things. In the larger scheme of things, they don’t count. It is the good ones who matter. It is the good ones whose action – or inaction – will decide the destiny of the world.
It is the good ones Shaitan worries about most.
PRESENTING ISLAM TO THE WORLD
Others among us are busy attacking this or that aspect of what they think “the enemy” is doing to us, to Muslims – and to Islam. Though needed, it is not a winning strategy when undertaken in isolation from or as a substitute for a positive message and plan of action.
You don’t build a successful business by continually griping and whining about the competition. You build a successful business by marketing a superior product of your own, a product that is so good that it speaks for itself and runs rivals out of town.
Muslims have failed to present Islam to the world in a positive manner – as a superior and better alternative to what the world has in its possession; to what the market has to offer.
Where are those among us who are single-minded – like a man called Ibrahim (Alaihis Salam) – in marketing their own best products – the Qur'an – to the world?
I know the Qur'an is a book that Allah gave to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. I am talking about the clear focus and single-mindedness of Prophet Abraham, Alahis Salam. I am talking about what the Qur'an calls his Hanifiyyat.
EID FOR WHAT?
And yet, I wish you all – and myself and my family and friends – a most wonderful Eidul Ad-ha, even as I ask: Eid? What Eid?
And Eid for whom? For the orphans, the widows, the weak, the infirm, the maimed and the injured of all kinds of natural and man-made disasters all over the world? For all other victims of physical tragedy, social injustice and political and economic oppression everywhere?
What does Eid mean to them?
Without a doubt, all of them deserve our compassion and generosity and support. No question. But which one of us ever thought of the greatest tragedy of all – for humanity to live a life without any exposure to Allah and to the Haqq that came from him?
And to the Quran, that came to change the fate of humanity on earth and in heaven.
What tragedy or disaster is bigger than that? And how many billions of people around the world are suffering that fate? And what steps have we taken to alleviate that suffering? And to rescue humanity from the effects of that greatest disaster of all: alienation from God Almighty, their maker, master and keeper – and their true destination.
Eid Mubarak of course. To one and to all.
IBRAHIM, ALAIHIS SALAM
This Eid is about Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, and his family. Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, made non-stop Hijrat. He was a perpetual peripatetic. He continually left things behind and kept moving forward. With every step he took, he left the world behind and moved closer to Allah.
What did we leave behind, between last Eid and this one?
Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, made every sacrifice that God demanded of him. What sacrifice of our time, talent and resources did we make, and for what purpose?
And in some ways even more important than that, what sacrifice of our Ego and Hawaa and Nafs did we make? Especially the movers and shakers among us? The better ones among us?
Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, put Allah before everything and everyone. How long is the list of things and people we have put before Allah between last Eid and this one?
How many of our own interests and agendas and priorities have we put before what Allah expects of us?
Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, gave everything to Allah, and Allah in return gave him everything. What are we willing to give to Allah? What commitments have we made to Allah and kept them?
If the answer is “Not much, not really!” then why do we get unhappy and complain if Allah does not give us what we want or need?
This Eid is a commemoration of the life and sacrifices of Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, and his wonderful family. Is this then the occasion for us to commit ourselves a little bit more strongly and a little bit more clearly to be like him and his family?
Can we try to be like him and his family – even if it is just a little bit – from this Eid onwards?