Eid-el-Kabir: Lessons of sallah that cushion effects of hard times

• ‘Eid-Al-Adha Celebrations Encourage Us To Forgive, Give, Share And Care For One Another’
• ‘Prophet Ibraeheem Believed God And He Took Control Of His Life And Granted His Heart Desires. Same Way If We Can Trust Him, He Is Going To Take Care Of Us’
• ‘Nigerians Should Learn The Habit Of Doing Good All The Time, Since Anyone Can Leave This World Anytime’

Tomorrow, Nigerian Muslims will join their brethren globally to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. Given the economic and security tension in the land, what lessons can be learned from this event to cushion effects of hard times. CHRIS IREKAMBA and ISAAC TAIWO report.

Imam-Rahman-A.-Bello-1‘Nigerians Should Join Hands Together To Develop The Nation’
(Imam Rahman A. Bello, Lagos)
MUSLIMS celebrate EID AL-ADHA all over the world, to commemorate the sacrificial act of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Both the Judeo-Christianity and Islamic traditions affirm to the fact that Prophet Ibrahim was tested by the Almighty God (Allah)- a vision wherein he was to sacrifice his only son (Ismail) to God. When he discussed his vision with his son, Ismail, he (the son) replied: “O my father! Do as you are commanded. You shall, by God’s will, find me to be among the patient ones.” The detailed story is contained in Q37 vs. 99-111.

There are many lessons to learn from this historical event, which include: first, there are bound to be trials (call it tension, if you like), which are part of life, and individuals need patience to overcome them. See Q2 vs. 155 and Q29 vs.1-2). We need to be patient with the government, as they look for solution to current economic downturn and security challenges. Prophet Ibrahim had patience and trust, when he was praying for a child.

Secondly, we need high trust, faith and total obedience to Allah, as demonstrated by Ibrahim (AS). This endears one to Allah and qualifies one for His blessings. We should ask ourselves whether we are truly doing all these.

Thirdly, loyalty and cooperation help to overcome tension. Ibrahim and his son agreed in all sincerity that God’s Will be done. Though hard to do, but their tension turned to a big relief in the end. Nigerians should agree to live together in peace and sincerely join hands together to develop the nation.Eid-al-Adha celebrations encourage us to forgive and give, to share and care. This lesson should be reflected in our daily living.

As God makes the sacrificial animal to submit to us, we should also submit our ego to the Creator. One big problem we have is class distinction. Once we see everybody as important stakeholder in the Nigeria Project, then our challenges will become history. May Allah accept our offerings. Eidun Mubaarak to all.

The Arafah is the 9th day of the 12th month of Islamic Calendar. This year, it corresponds with Sunday, September 11, 2016. Arafah is the commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon and completion of his mission. It is a very important day in Islam, because it is the day Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) verse of the Qur’an affirming His approval of Islam as a Religion and way of life. “This Day, I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Q5v.3). Standing at Arafah praying and seeking forgiveness is of paramount significance, as the huge crowd reminds us of the Day of Resurrection, and of how we will stand equal before Allah on the day of judgment.Nigeria Muslims should use the occasion of this year’s Arafah to pray for the country’s economic recovery, security and unity.

Ustaz Taofeek Yusuf Eniafe, Chief Imam of Anu Oluwapo, Orile, Oshodi, Lagos

Ustaz Taofeek Yusuf Eniafe, Chief Imam of Anu Oluwapo, Orile, Oshodi, Lagos<br />

‘Mercy Is What All Muslims Are Expected To Demonstrate At This Time’
(Ustaz Taofeek Yusuf Eniafe, Chief Imam of Anu Oluwapo, Orile, Oshodi, Lagos)
THIS Salah is all about the important role Prophet Abraham, according to the Bible, and Ibraeheem, according to the Qur’an, played during his lifetime, by sacrificing his only son. We have a lot of lessons to learn from the teachings of Eid-el-Kabir. First and foremost, we need to believe in ourselves and also believe in Almighty God. This prophet was a trustworthy and faithful person to Almighty God. He believed so much that whatever happened to him, God was capable of taking care of them. His only joy gotten at old age, and without minding the cost, he sacrificed him, in obedience to the Creator. What a great lesson we need to learn from him! He made a promise, which he fulfilled. And that is also telling the government there is need to fulfill promises made to Nigerians during campaigns. They promised heaven and earth before we voted them into power, but where are those promises today?

In fulfilling that promise, Ibraeheem gained mercy, which is another lesson. Whatever promise you made, according to the Holy Qur’an, God will surely ask you. That is one thing our leaders should learn from Prophet Ibraeheem, who exemplified it. In fact, I enjoin all my Muslim brothers and sisters to learn from that, as well as all Nigerians. We should believe in ourselves and in God. Prophet Ibraeheem believed God and He took control of his life and granted his heart desires. Same way, if we can trust Him, He is going to take care of us. We should always stick to our words and believe in God. If we want the economy to turn around, God is the One that will do it, but we must believe He has all the power to do so. The secret of his success was his closeness to God. I appeal to our Muslims brothers and sisters to move closer to God, which is the whole essence of this festival. If we want to benefit from God, we need to move closer to Him. We should also have mercy on one another. The ram we are going kill and share during this Salah is not the only lesson of this festival. The lesson is that we should show mercy to the less privileged and others. God had mercy on Prophet Ibraeheem because he was willing and ready to fulfil his promise, and He replaced his son with a ram.

There is a Yoruba adage that says, “it is not the way you work that matters, but how you do your work.” The mercy of God is reducing today because Nigerians are left with no food. Those who have little are not ready to give it out and if you are not giving, God will not provide for you. We are encouraged to share whatever we have at this critical time with one another. But if you are not ready to give, how will you gain it tomorrow?

Another lesson from Prophet Ibraeheem is that God is the giver, but if you are not giving, then He can take whatever you have from you. People should believe that God gave them whatever they have today for a purpose, which is to assist others that do not have. If we don’t emulate from these teachings, definitely we are not doing Sallah the way it should be done.

Prophet Mohammed (SAW) said: ‘if you kill a ram, take what you and your family can eat, that the rest should be shared to others to ensure that you make every one happy and comfortable. That is the main essence of the festival. It’s not everybody that can afford to kill ram at this time of recession. But those that cannot should ensure they give to the less privileged around them. When you kill the ram, it is not for you and your family alone. You are encouraged to share it to neighbours around. If you can afford it, then please give other condiments, aside the meat. Everything will be rewarded.

‘Nigerians Should Put Off Ego And Submit To God’s Will’
(

Imam Morufu Onike Abdul-Azeez, Deputy Chief Imam/Missionary, Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Headquarters

Imam Morufu Onike Abdul-Azeez, Deputy Chief Imam/Missionary, Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Headquarters<br />

, Deputy Chief Imam, NASFAT Headquarters, Lagos)
THERE are so many lessons that could be learnt from the Eid-El-Kabir. The first is to be submissive to God. This lesson could be seen clearly in the life of Ibrahim, who submitted to the will of God to sacrifice his son. If all of us can emulate him by being obedient to God, trust Him and be prepared to carry out his demand, He would heal our land.

Submission is the crucial thing that arouses God’s passion and if Nigerians could imbibe this virtue, God would take us out of this recession. One thing Nigerians should believe is that there is nothing God does not know.

As the saying goes, there is no leaf that falls down from the tree without God’s knowledge. Therefore, He knows what Nigerians are passing through, which some people in the past also passed through. But as they submitted to His will, He helped them out.

Ibrahim demonstrated faith and submission. The same virtue was reflected in the son’s life also, who at the point of death, did not object to the father’s will. Every Nigerian should be ready to put off their ego and submit to the will of God, by knowing and acknowledging that He is the Sovereign God, Who could do all things and that men’s efforts would fail without God being brought into our predicament. There is light at the end of the tunnel, as long as we can all honour God with absolute submission to His will.

‘No Matter How Bad A Situation Is, God Is Always In Control’
(Abdul Hakeem Muhammad Al-Awwai, Amir of ikhwan-ul-muslimin Foundation)
THE first lesson we are to learn from celebration of Eid-el-Kabir is faith. Ibrahim demonstrated faith in God to the extent that he was ready to sacrifice his son. Despite the fact that he had the child in his old age, he had faith in God and wouldn’t shun God’s demand. In the same vein, as I encourage Nigerians to be hopeful, the issue of faith in God by doing His will is of paramount importance, as it plays a very vital role in God showing mercy to the nation to bring Nigerians out of the on-going recession.

Another lesson is that parents should take proper care of their children by teaching them total obedience and submission. We can also learn that no matter how bad a situation, God is always in control. Nigerians should learn the lesson that it is important not to lose contact with Him. Another important lesson is the habit of giving. Ibrahim gave his son to God and He blessed him, and this is one of the reasons we are reading him today. Since God is the giver of life and can also take it, Nigerians should learn the habit of doing good all the time, since anyone can leave this world anytime, according to God’s will.

‘Spending Millions, While Others Find It
Difficult To Eat Is Not Acceptable To God’
(Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Rivers State)
THE first thing to know is that what is happening in Nigeria, today, is not limited to the country, as we have similar situation taking place in some other countries in the world.

One of the vital lessons celebration of Eid-el-Kabir teaches is faith. Nigerians should learn how to exercise faith in God. The way, however, out of these economic challenges is to go back to the Word of God and His service of doing good.Nigerians should learn how to do good, while Muslims should be aware of the fact that God hates frivolous, extravagant celebration.The idea of some spending millions in the name of celebration, while others find it difficult to eat, is not acceptable to God.

‘Keeping Within Limits Set By Allah Will Provide Exit For Us To Escape Difficulties’
(Professor Dawud O. S. Noibi, Executive Secretary/CEO Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN)
TWO important lessons of the festival come to mind, relevant to the circumstances in which we find ourselves in the present times. Firstly, the festival is in commemoration of total submission to the will of Allah by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail (pbut), despite the fact that the test, which Allah put them through, was the most trying. Ismail was Ibrahim’s only son at the time, begotten at a very advanced age. Yet, Allah commanded him to take the life of the child by himself. Ibrahim did not show the slightest hesitation over carrying out that divine instruction. Nor did the son object to it. Rather, he said to his father, “Oh my father! Do that which you are commanded; surely, you will find me patient and persevering.” 

However, following the submission of both father and son, when Ibrahim was about to slaughter Ismail, Allah stopped him. Instead, Allah gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. Allah Himself describes the test as the most manifest of trials. Having passed the test, Allah not only gave Ibrahim glad tidings of another son, Is-haq (Isaac) (Q37: 102-113), but also appointed Ibrahim “the Leader of Men” (Q2: 124) as reward for obedience to Allah in the most trying of circumstances. Moreover, Allah made him and his offspring blessed.

As Muslims celebrate the commemoration, we are to recall that lesson of total submission to the will of Allah, especially because Allah directs us to follow the lofty example of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) (Q2: 130-131). Despite the hardship, we are required, as individuals and as a nation, to remain steadfast and not to allow the whispers of Satan make us seek sinful ways of responding to the challenges such as terrorist acts, kidnapping, bunkering, pipeline vandalism, corruption, etc. As Muslims slaughter the animals of the festival, we should bear in mind that, as Allah Himself has stated, neither the flesh nor the blood of the animal does Allah need; rather it is piety that should accompany the slaughtering, to reflect the profound God consciousness that Prophet Ibrahim and his son demonstrated. If we all remain so steadfast and keep within the limits set by Allah, even in the trying times, Allah will provide a comfortable exit for us from our difficulties (Q65: 2-3), as He did for Ibrahim and Ismail (pbut).

The second lesson is that of caring and sharing, as the meat of the animal sacrificed is to be shared, particularly with the less fortunate members of the society. Indeed, the greatest portion of the meat from the animals sacrificed at Mina in Saudi Arabia by the pilgrims is preserved by the Saudi authorities and exported to poor people in different parts of the world. So, the lesson for us in this country is not only about sharing the meat of the animal with the poor in our communities, but about regarding it as symbolism for always sharing with and caring for the poor in our country in different ways. The plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in our country, therefore, calls for more urgent and adequate attention.
 
Arafat day is the ninth of the lunar month of Dhu l-Hijjah, which immediately precedes the day of ‘Idu l-Ad-haa’ corresponding this year to Sunday, September 11, 2016. That is the day, when all the pilgrims, in their millions, are gathered on the plane of Arafat, a few miles away from Makkah. That gathering is, indeed, the peak of Hajj and absence from the place at the specified time makes the Hajj null and void. That gathering is indeed the largest assemblage of human beings on earth at one place and at the same time. Being a spiritual, moral and social experience for that matter, it is, indeed, a profound experience for all those who are fortunate to be part of it. This is more so because gathering at the plane of Arafat with all in the same type of dress without ornaments whatsoever (the men in only two unsewn white pieces of dress) reminds us of the Day of Resurrection, when all human beings shall stand in the presence of Allah for judgment. It also reminds us of the Islamic teaching of the fact that all human beings are equal in the sight of Allah: the King and his subjects, the rich and the poor, the affluent and the ordinary, the scholar and the unlearned, all clad in the same type of dress, often standing before Allah and supplicating to Him, as fervently as they can. 

Taofeek Olawunmi Agbaje

Taofeek Olawunmi Agbaje

‘Eid-Ul Kabir Teaches Us About Self-sacrifice’
(Arc. Taofeek Wunmi Agbaje, National President, Jamatul Islamiyya of Nigeria and Overseas)
EID-UL KABIR is a yearly event, when every Muslim with means must offer animal sacrifice. This occurs on the 10th day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hajj. Every Muslims the world over offer this to commemorate the sincere sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim, who was commanded by Allah to offer his only son Isma’eil, as sacrifice. Based on this act, both Prophet Ibrahim and Isma’eil demonstrated three things: faith (total submission to the will of God), patience and sacrifice.

The faith, which Prophet Ibrahim and Isma’eil demonstrated, showed that they really offered to suffer self-sacrifice in obedience to God’s commandment, which teaches us about self-sacrifice. The sincere sacrifice of both Ibrahim and Isma’eil begins with response to the divine command of God and response to the authority (his father) respectively. Therefore, obedience to God and parents (Q17: 23), as well as, to constituted authority (Q4: 59) is an expression of and, indeed, a sure path to genuine sacrifice. However, it equally entails any sacrifice a man could put forward for the development of the society.

Both economic and security problems we are facing today are principally as a result of leadership decadence and insincere patriotism on the part of the followers. Therefore, providing credible leadership through selfless service for the benefit of the community is, in truth, part of true sacrifice.

Leadership with modesty, transparent honesty, justice and selfless sense of responsibility is fundamental to any sincere sacrifice. This, therefore, makes the lessons of this religious act more relevant in this present time.

Leaders, whether elected or appointed, should exemplify the kind of submission exhibited by Ibrahim to inspire those they lead to make patriotic sacrifices, including paying the supreme price, which Ismail was prepared to make; to bring the land out of the mess into which bad governance and unpatriotic followers have plunged it in the recent past.

The teachings of Islam also make it mandatory on Muslims, that aside animal sacrifices on the occasion of the Eid el-Kabir festival, they should also be generous to their neighbours and other members of their immediate community, especially the less-privileged. The activities that usually characterise this festive period, including feasts and exchange of visits should be explored to further unite us together, as well as, inspire us to forgive ourselves of past mistakes. The government should remain committed and focused in its resolve to defeat insurgency, kill the deep-seated corruption and end the culture of impunity in our national life.

The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) in Ramadan is the most blessed and sanctified night in the year, so also is the Day of Arafah the most blessed and sanctified day of all days in the year.

Allah said in the Qur’an 89:1-3: “By the dawn; By the ten nights (i.e. the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijja); And by the even and the odd (of all the creations of Allah).”The Prophet said, “The ten are the ten days of Dhul-Hijja and the odd is the Day of  ‘Arafah and the even is the ‘Eid.”Seeking forgiveness from Allah Almighty: The Prophet Muhammad said: “On this day, Allah, the most Exalted, descends to the nearest heaven, and He is proud of His servants on the earth and says to those in heavens, look at My servants, they have come from far and near, with hair disheveled and faces covered with dust, to seek my Mercy. Even if their sins are as much as the sand or the froth of the sea, I shall forgive them.”

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