Imam Monawar Hussain
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Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid. Today is Eid al-Adha, it is a major Islamic festival and commemorates the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Isma’il. Of course, as we know God replaced Isma’il with a ram and Abraham sacrificed that instead.
As a child I spent sometime in Kashmir and I recall the excitement we would feel when the great festival of Eid arrived. As a farming family, my uncles would begin to make preparations at the crack of dawn and as soon as the eid prayers were performed the sacrificial meat would be divided into three parts, one for the family, one for relatives and the other part distributed to the poor and needy of the village.
As an adult reflecting on the story of Abraham, one gets the sense that there is a profound message here for all of us. It is inviting us to think about our lives and what we hold dear. Are we willing to share that? For example, the most valuable commodity that I have is time, so I try and make sure that I give as much of my time to good causes as I can. I am nonetheless often struggling to balance my responsibilities to my family and my broader societal duties. It is hugely difficult to get the balance right but what the Abrahamic story challenges us to do is never to forget the vulnerable and the disadvantaged in our society. Muslims are often reminded that our prayers and religious devotions will not be accepted by God, if our neighbours go hungry or are distressed.
May we remember and support those less fortunate then ourselves at both times of celebration but also times of sorrow and distress. Amin.