All praise belongs to Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
It is with deep pleasure I felicitate with the Muslim community in Nigeria and across the world on this day of ‘Id-ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) of the year 1444/2023.
This annual festive occasion symbolically reminds us of the imperative of the need for total submission and obedience to the will of Allah and the need for us to reinvigorate our spirit of sacrifice. This resonates with the philosophy and essence behind the sacrifice of animals for submissiveness as He declares that:
“Their flesh reaches not Allah, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him. Thus, has He subjected them to you, that you may glorify Allah for His guiding you. And give glad tidings to those who do good.” (Qur’an, 22:38).
Firstly, it is a special mercy of Allah that He keeps reminding us that we have no choice in having to willfully submit to Him as the rams sacrificed have no choice in submitting to us. Not the flesh, not the blood but the total submission is what is needed. This is one of the most compelling messages in this verse. If this symbol of submission is not there for remembrance, it would have been confined to literature and possibly history without current values. We will all die one day. The salient question will be whether we submit to the will of Allah or not. This question will be answered by each and every one of us.
Secondly, the act of righteousness is the underlining tone behind the sacrifice. It is only the righteousness that reaches Allah. Righteousness has eleven parts in the Holy Quran. It provides that:
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money for the love of Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for ransoming the captives; and who observes Prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfill their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are the God-fearing.” (Qur’an, 2:178).
The third is the glorification of Allah for guiding us. The verse directs us to glorify Allah for His guidance to humility and submission to His will that will benefit us at the end of our life.
The Promised Messiah and Mahdi, (Hazrat) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) in his Revealed Sermon (which he delivered on the Day of ‘Id-ul-Adha of 11th April 1901) stated that:
“the name “sacrifice” was reserved for these animals that are due to be slaughtered. In the Hadith, it is mentioned that, if a person fulfills this sacrifice with sincerity, piety, and deep faith, it becomes for him a means of attaining closeness to, and union with Allah, the Highest. These sacrifices are among the noblest acts of worship in the Shariah.”
Speaking further, he said,
“A Muslim is he who places his neck for slaughter at the altar of Allah, the Highest, and sacrifices the camel of his soul and places his forehead on the ground to be given up as an offering to Allah, and is never forgetful of death even for a moment.”
In the Eidul Adha sermon of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(atba); the 5th Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat titled “Offer sacrifices for Allah as Abraham and his family did”, Huzooraa said we were celebrating Eid-ul-Adha to commemorate the sacrifices of Hazrat Abrahamas, his wife and their son Hazrat Ishmaelas. This was not an isolated act of devotion; rather, their sacrifices spanned a long period throughout their lives. Allah, Who is Most True to His Word, rewarded them for these sincerely offered sacrifices most magnificently: The land which was once deserted now brims with millions upon millions of people in fulfillment of the promise that Allah the Almighty made.
In light of the major challenges being faced in the world today, it is incumbent on mankind to imbibe and translate the foregoing lessons of the ‘Id-ul-Adha into practice in order to effect positive changes.
Currently, Nigerians have a new government, let us all pray for the success of the government. We need to make tremendous sacrifices and allow the government time to right a lot of the wrongs of the past in the interest of all.
May Allah accept and bless our sacrifices on this festive day and make the blessings therein permanent in our lives, country, and world.
Alhaji Barr. Alatoye Folorunso Azeez
Amir (National Head)
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria