Column: The Islamic Celebration ‘Eid-ul-Adha’

September 13, 2016

[Written by Shabnam Jheengoor]

The Islamic celebration, Eid-ul-Adha, is celebrated by Muslims this week. It is one of the most important celebrations in the Muslim world commemorating the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim and his son, Ishmael [peace be upon both of them] to sacrifice their personal desires and lives for the sake of God.

It is day of joy, a day of rejoicing where Muslims gather for prayers and families and friends get together to share a meal and exchange gifts. It is also a day full of activity as animals are slaughtered on that day and shared among relatives, friends and the needy. Eid-ul-Adha also marks the end of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Bermuda TC September 12 2016

The Eid prayers are usually held in the open. The Islamic way demands that there be no reserved spots for worshippers and worshippers stand shoulder to shoulder while praying, with no space allowed to separate them from each other. Worshippers move in unison while praying following the Imam. It is not hard to guess the purpose of these specific arrangements.

Islam emphasizes unity and brotherhood and condemns discrimination based on status or race. Thus, this spirit of unity is evident in several Islamic practices and rituals. The Hajj similarly conveys this sense of brotherhood when all pilgrims don simple white clothes and undertake the rituals in unison, for instance the circumambulation of the Kaaba.

One would expect that the Islamic world would reflect the emphasis on unity that is evident in Islamic teachings and practices. Instead, absolute chaos and disunity prevails in the Muslim world. Clerics and Muslim leaders hurl accusations and vile abuse at each other without any fear of God.

Last year, 2,400 pilgrims, of which many were Iranians, were crushed to death during the Hajj. This year, the pilgrimage has been overshadowed by the row between the Iranian government and the Saudi regime. Iran’s supreme leader, has accused the Saudis of the murder of innocent Iranians and called them ‘puny satans’. Of course, the Saudi grand mufti, had to reply and in turn, called the Iranians disbelievers and enemies of Muslims.

One could maybe console oneself if this chaos had been limited only to the hurling of allegations and abuse. Unfortunately, as is evident in Syria, the division and disunity runs deep enough to fracture long-time relationships between friends and neighbours. Syria is now fractured in several groups all at war with each other. Peace seems to be a long way off.

Refugees and mass immigration has become one of the most challenging issues of our times as have problems of culture clashes and integration of immigrants especially when the latter are practicing Muslims. One of the favourite riposte of opponents of immigration when accused of being heartless is how we can welcome Muslim refugees in our midst and expect them to integrate when they cannot even tolerate and live in peace with each other?

If we Muslims refuse to deal with our doctrinal differences in a peaceful and respectful way, can we realistically expect others to believe that, as commanded by the Holy Quran, we respect their right to hold differing religious viewpoints? Doctrinal differences should not be the cause for hatred and violence but rather should be seen as an opportunity for respectful discussions and healthy debates and knowledge and truth seeking. The same applies to doctrinal differences between faiths.

The Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, rightly emphasized the following during an address to non-Muslim dignitaries in Germany recently: “Islam teaches that religion is a matter of one’s heart and so no one can be forced to accept any religion. The Holy Quran has clearly stated that there should be no compulsion in religion”.

May be Eid be an Eid of peace and unity. Eid Mubarak!

Shabnam Jheengoor, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Bermuda

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Comments (7)

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  1. stunned... says:

    still perplexed why Arab nations – muslims- do not step up and provide refuge for all syrian refugees, leaving the eurooean countries to deal with their problems.

    • Rich says:

      This comment is misplaced. They have been trying to provide refuge.

      The vast majority of Syrian refugees have taken refuge in Syria’s neighbouring Arab states, such as Jordan, Iraq, UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

      Tiny Lebanon, which has a population of 6 million, has taken in 1.5 million refugees! There is no other country that has extended itself in that manner! Can you imagine Bermuda taking in 15,000 refugees? Or the USA taking in 80+ million?

      The largest country holding refugees, while not Arabic, is Islamic – Turkey, with 2.7 million.

      Estimated numbers have shown that 4.8 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. But the biggest problem is that 6.6 million Syrians are internally displaced within Syria.

      All in, Europe has received about 1 million refugees, with just over half in Germany.

      The media only concentrates on Europe’s attempts to deal with those who try to take refuge there. But in reality, the European element is only a small fraction, so the implication that you’re making (“Europe has to deal with this”) is simply false.

      But more fundamentally, refugees flow are driven by refugees themselves. Ask an average refugee where they want to go, and they will definitely say they’d rather go to Germany than to Saudi Arabia. And why wouldn’t they? Even in Syria pre-civil war, they had freer and more enlightened society than in Saudi.

      So even if Arab countries were to ‘provide refuge’, as you say, it wouldn’t matter unless refugees were taking them up on that offer. For example, Portugal has offered to take up to 10,000 refugees, but only a handful have relocated there.

      This is a complicated problem, which requires a multi-faceted solution. Let’s stop trying to reduce it to simple soundbites.

  2. Sickofantz says:

    Thankyou for you post I found it really interesting.

  3. Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

    Thank you for this education. Eid Mubarak.

  4. Sook says:

    That was an interesting read! Thanks for that.

  5. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    40 days and 40 nights, looking to Go where the grass is greener.

    The Problems with Immigrants, call them what you like because is all about money ,they will always pick the best most prosperous country because when they move they do not want to leave their culture behind to start there so called new life, the only difference is money.

    Eventually they tell us what to do.

    They should never stick their hands in another man’s pocket.

  6. Flabbergasted says:

    The Ahmadiyya, my favourite sect of Islam ( but perhaps not a sect of Islam depending on who you ask) , but please be advised that they most certainly do NOT represent ‘mainstream’ Islam …

    “The community is a minority Muslim sect in almost every country … most independent sources variously estimate the population to be at least 10 to 20 million worldwide, thereby representing around 1% of the world’s Muslim population.”

    “in many Islamic countries the Ahmadis have been defined as heretics and non-Muslim and subjected to persecution and often systematic oppression.”

    “No compulsion in religion” Ask a Sunni, Shia or Wahabi muslim what the punishment for apostasy ( leaving the faith ) is…