Letter to the Editor – The Goal of Animal Sacrifice Within Islam

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R Iffat Aulia Ahmad Argawinata

Jakarta, Indonesia

Wednesday 22 August 2018 was a day of festival for Muslims all over the world. Corresponding with 10 Dhul Hijjah, 1439 years after Prophet Muhammad’ssa Hijra in Islamic calendar, old and young alike flocked that day at mosques to pray and listen to Eid-ul-Adha sermons. 

Subsequently, they sacrificed a large number of animals, the likes of cows, goats, sheep and camels, the meat of which was distributed to the poor and the needy. To Muslims, it was an act of remembrance for the sacrifice made by Abarahamas and Ishmaelas about 4,000 years ago.

Abrahamas is one of the most venerated figures in Islam’s holy book, the Quran. Having been mentioned more than 60 times in the Quran, Abrahamas is often depicted as the loftiest epitome of loyalty to the Divine. Nothing would stop him from implementing God’s commands, even if it meant that he had to lead his own son to the gate of death. So blazing, too, was his fire of love for Allah that He promised him great nations from among his progeny. Muslims believe that Muhammadsa was his most splendid descendant, the ultimate manifestation of God’s favours upon Abraham.

The Prophetsa himself repeatedly stated that Abrahamas was his forefather. It can be said that prophethood emerged on account of Abraham’s enormous prayers before the throne of Allah. So, to secure the father’s name on this earth, God instructed Muhammadsa to tread upon the path of Abrahamas and reestablish his monumental traces. It is for this reason that Eid-ul-Adha gets instituted within Islam. God desires that every follower of Muhammadsa becomes an Abraham in his or her own capacity. God yearns for an Abrahamic earth to rise and manifest.

An Abrahamic world means a world that loves God in a most sincere and whole-hearted manner. When people have fully been intoxicated with the wine of Divine love, they will find in every vain glamour a result of nothingness. What is political hegemony for which nations call, but an illusive mirage. All will soon come to realise that the true splendour and grandeur lies in the face of Allah alone. 

Nevertheless, it is not the end of the journey. Seeing others trapped in the shackles of egoism and materialism, an eagerness, thus, arises in our hearts to invite them to this Divine party. Undoubtedly, this is the only party where one can taste the cup of real blissfulness without fearing any loss.

Once this earth transforms into God’s drawing book, an Abrahamic earth will, thence, come into existence. No hatred, malice or resentment will ever prevail. This will be nothing but the kingdom of love and compassion.

I restate, the goal of Eid-ul-Adha’s animal sacrifice is nothing apart from creating this very kind of earth. Slaughtering plenty of cows, goats, sheep and camels is not all it seems. They rather act only as symbols describing the highest station man can attain on earth. Each of them points to the condition when someone has sacrificed all of their ambitions, thereby bearing every form of hardship and difficulty. That the animals’ meat will be allocated afterwards to the impoverished signifies another state of deep meaning. It shows man the sanctity of serving fellow human beings for the common goodness.

I hope that the world recognises this beautiful wisdom behind the commemoration of Eid-ul-Adha. I hope that Donald Trump, Theresa May, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping and the rest of the world’s leaders deign to set aside their respective pursuit of pride and hegemony for the common benefit of the whole human race. They should remember that this abode is temporal, not eternal, just as Sa‘di of Shiraz said:

“Depend not on this transient life; Think not thou are safe from the sport of passing time.”

Therefore, they must change their attitude, search for a higher value, and act in accordance with this couplet of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas:

“My purpose, yearning, and heartfelt desire is to serve humanity; This is my job, this is my faith, this is my habit and this is my way of life.”

Peace be upon all.

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