Eid ul Azha Mubarak to all my friends and readers… lets join hands on this auspicious day to spread the true message of Islam..Love, Peaceful co-existence, discipline, sacrifice, harmony, forgiveness, tolerance…. the list goes and and on but here I can mention only a few!

Eid ul Azha is just round the corner! The kids (and elders too) are enjoying the festive mood, with temporary tents put up in nearly every lane of the city and the cows and goats being pampered with all kinds of fodder goodies available in the market! Colorful necklaces, tinkling anklets and proud crowns are adorning the cows, bulls and goats and the occasional sheep and camels as we see JEWELLERY stalls set up at roundabouts and intersections. Children are comparing their animals to each other, boasting about the size and the rates and conducting races. An occasional runaway goat creates a furore as the desperate young owners are seen frantically trying to hold on to the ropes and if things get beyond their control seeking help from the older people around.

This spirit of enjoyment and enthusiasm will prevail till the first day of Eid, and then the reality will set in! Bravely trying to hold back their tears, the little ones will look away when the animals they have fallen in love with, are being slaughtered. And the Fathers and Mothers will take up the show from this point. After the frantic search for the (evasive) right butcher, a sharp eye has to be kept on him so that the meat is cut and carved properly (which it rarely is, to the chagrin of the lady of the house). As the meat starts to come in, Mothers quickly stuff their freezers and then make packets (from the remaining meat) for distributing among relatives, neighbours and the needy. And now she is all ready to prove her culinary abilities as she enters the kitchen armed with her recipe book or ready to cook Shan Masalas to prepare Kababs, Qorma, Biryani, Chops, Kaleji(liver) and Roast! The Eid feast comprises of a number of dishes all cooked with the sacrificial meat.

In all these festivities and enjoyments, how many of us remind ourselves or our children the reason why Eid ul Azha is celebrated? As I was busy in the kitchen making masalas for adding to the different dishes I intend to cook on Eid, this question struck me like lightning!

Eid ul Azha is celebrated in memory of Hazrat Ibrahim A.S. and his unquestioning submission to Almighty’s will! He made an exemplary sacrifice by intending to slaughter his beloved son, Hazrat Ismail A.S. because Allah had willed him to do so. And the saying goes, Like father like son, the brave son readily agreed to lay down his life to obey Allah’s command. But our Most Merciful Creator was only putting His prophet to a great test, which he passed with flying colors! And till all times to come, Muslims have been ordained to celebrate this day by sacrificing animals in the name of Allah!

But today, it is a tragic reality that most of us have forgotten the true spirit of this Muslim festival. Eid Ul Azha has become an occasion to show off our riches by entering into a race of who buys the greater number or the more expensive animal. Sadly, we are drifting far away from the teachings of our great religion and try to ignore what Allah has ordained us to do! Let apart sacrificing our most beloved things for the sake of Allah, we are not even willing to give up our sleep for performing the Fajr Salaat! We twist and bend the teachings of Islam to suit our whims and convenience! Sacrificing personal gains to follow what our Creator has made compulsory on us, foregoing our pleasures and adhering to the true spirit of our religion can bring about a great (and urgently needed) change in the Muslim world! Please give it a Thought!