In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise belongs to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers.
For this tarbiyyah ‘session’, I will inshaAllah share some personal reflections – not quite on the occasions of Hajj or ‘Eid al Adha, but rather on the personality behind these occasions, and more specifically one of his characteristics that Allah (swt) has instructed all able Muslims to commemorate every year.
The Hajj… whether it’s the ka’bah itself or the Maqaam Ibrahim; the well of Zamzam, the hills of Safa and Marwa, the three spots at Mina and their association with Shaytaan, or the sacrifice of animals… they are all from the signs of Allah (sha’aa’irillah). But beyond that, they are testaments to the man who Allah declared to be His friend, Prophet Ibrahim, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. In fact, Allah did indeed truly bless Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim, and it is in recognition of this that we pray to Allah that He blesses Muhammad, and the family of Muhammad, the way he blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim (Allahumma baarik ‘alaa Muhammad…)
“Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Ibrahim, the true in Faith? For Allah did make Ibrahim a friend.” (An Nisaa’: 125)
As the poet, Allama Muhammad Iqbal said:
. Aaj bhi ho jo ibrahim kaa imaaN payda
. Aag kar saktee hay andaaze gulistaaN payda
. If, today, the imaan of Ibrahim were to transpire;
. Spectacles of rosy gardens could come out of fire!
But today, I intend not to narrate the story of Ibrahim (as), but to invite you all to ponder and reflect over this great prophet, and more importantly, in light of that, to reflect on our own selves – our faith, our taqwa, our thoughts and our actions.
We gather for Hajj…
We perform the tawaaf, but is it really Allah (swt) around whom our lives revolve and evolve? Do we try to get closer to the centre, or are we easily pulled further and further away from the centre, until it is hardly visible or recognisable from where we are?
We pray at the Station of Ibrahim, but do we truly try to follow those footsteps? Do we learn from what we know about his descendants – the good and the bad?
We walk back and forth between Safa and Marwa, but are we truly prepared to tirelessly struggle in the way of Allah? Do we have that trust and faith in Allah that if we persevere like Hajra did, He WILL show us His signs, and He WILL give us sustenance the way only He can give?
We stone the pillars at Mina, but do we convince shaytaan himself that not only is he our enemy, but we too are his sworn enemies? Are we willing and able to recognise our enemy and overpower him at any and every point that he may approach us?
And we sacrifice the goats, the sheep, the cows and camels, but what sacrifices are we really prepared to make for the sake of our Rabb?
Sacrifice. We’re all familiar with the concept of sacrificing animals – a practice that has been going on for millennia in many different religions and cultures. But what is it that Allah desires from us through our acts of sacrifice?
“It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that you may glorify Allah for His guidance to you: and proclaim the Good News to all who do right.” (Al Hajj: 37)
But what about the wider notion of sacrifice: the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. We know of the many trials, tribulations that Ibrahim (as) went through, and the sacrifices he made – from confronting his own people and his own father, to being thrown into a massive fire; from leaving his wife and son in the middle of a desert to being prepared to sacrifice his only son. What are the trials we face? And how do we react to those tests and trials? What – we should ask ourselves – am I really willing to sacrifice for Allah (swt)?
What is it that made Ibrahim (as) sacrifice his home, his family and his land? He was prepared to sacrifice not only his own life, but later, that of his only son. By making these huge sacrifices, what was it that ‘more important’ thing he was gaining in the process? Do I give it the same importance, and assign to it the same worth? Really?
If not, then why not? And how can I improve myself when it comes to assigning better and ‘truer’ values to my life, my comforts, my status quo? How can I truly appreciate the value of the pleasure of my Sustainer and His Mercy?
Let us ask ourselves these questions… and in the meanwhile, for that spirit of sacrifice to be inherent within us, two essential ingredients would be tawakkul – our trust in Allah (swt) – and the submission to Him and His Will.
As Ibrahim (as) prayed to Allah when he was banished from his land:
. Rabbana 3layka tawakkalnaa,
. w ilaika anabnaa, w ilaykal ma9eer!
. (Al Mumtahinah: 4)
. Our Lord! In You we have placed our trust,
. to You we turn to repent,
. and to You is our final goal!
Can we achieve the same level of trust in Allah? Because it is only once we have that trust firmly in Allah that we will fear none but Him. Eventually, all sacrifices become secondary to the ultimate sacrifice: our complete and utter submission and our unconditional surrender to the Almighty, our Creator and our Sustainer. And thus we offer ourselves over to Allah (swt): Here I am!
. Labbayk! Allahumma labbayk!
. Labbayka laa shareeka laka, labbayk!
. Innal 7emda, w an ni3mata laka w al mulk,
. Laa shareeka lak!
. Here I am O Allah, here I am!
. Here I am, there is no partner with You and here I am!
. Indeed all praise, all blessings and all sovereignty are Yours,
. there is none like You!
And thus, let us ask ourselves: are we truly prepared to make this statement… sincerely? Are we prepared to sacrifice the desires of our nafs and our egos, and hand ourselves over to the Will of Allah? What do we do to prove that?
And remember: we sacrifice things that are permissible and valuable to us, not those that our impermissible to start with, or the things we won’t really miss when we let go of them.
Do we sacrifice our conveniences for the sake of Allah… or are they too dear?
Are we willing to sacrifice our nafs, our emotions and our egos for His sake?
Are we willing to sacrifice our time?
What about our rights? Are we prepared to sacrifice some of our ‘basic’ rights if we have to? Or are we too obsessed with what is rightfully ours?
Would we be willing to sacrifice our status quo?
Some of our food?
Or even our football?
… … …
As Abu Darda (ra) said: a person does not become fully God-conscious until he gives up some of the halaal, fearing that he may fall into the haraam.
What halaal are we giving up?
So, to conclude, let us try to remember that slogan… labbayk!
Every day, let us remember to consciously tell our Creator, “here I am, O Allah! At your service…”
And let us pray to Allah that he enables us to make our sacrifices truly for His sake, and in the words of Ibrahim (as):
. Rabbana taqabbal minnaa, innaka enta assamee3 al 3aleem!
. … w tub 3laynaa, innaka enta attawwab arra7eem!
. (Al Baqarah: 127-128)
. O Allah, accept from us (whatever we have to offer);
. surely, you are the One who is All-Hearing and All-Knowing
. … and accept our repentance, for indeed,
. You are the One who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful!
O Allah, send your salutations to Muhammad, and to the family of Muhammad, the way You sent your salutation to Ibrahim, and to the family of Ibrahim. Indeed You are the Praised and Glorious.
And O Allah, bless Muhammad, and the family of Muhammad, the way You blessed Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim. Indeed You are the Praised and Glorious.
**as always, feel free to post your thoughts**