On this auspicious day of Eid al Adha of the year 1445AH/2024CE, I render all praise and glorification to Allah, the Almighty, and beseech Him to shower His eternal peace and blessings upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

On behalf of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, I extend profound felicitations to every Muslim in Nigeria as we join the rest of the faithful across the world to mark this year’s Festival of Sacrifice, commemorating the great sacrifice made by our Patriarch, Prophet Ibrahim (as), his wife, Hazrat Hajar and his illustrious son (as), Prophet Ismail. This incident is captured in the Holy Qur’an thus:
“So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing son. And when he was old enough to work with him, he said, ‘O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering thee. So consider, what thou thinkest of it!’ He replied, ‘O my father, do as thou art commanded; thou wilt find me, if Allah please, of those who are patient.’ And when they both submitted to the Will of God, and he laid him on the ground face down, We called to him: ‘O Abraham, ‘Thou hast indeed fulfilled the dream.’ Thus, indeed do We reward those who do good. That surely was a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. And We left for him a good name among the following generations. ‘Peace be upon Abraham!’ Thus, do We reward those who do good. (Qur’an, Ch. 37 verses 102 – 111)

1. Obedience to Allah is rewarding.
There is no doubt that the faithfulness, sacrifice, and obedience of Ibrahim, the submission, forbearance, and patience of Ismail, and the sacrifice and fortitude of Hajar all combine to form a profound manual of values, standards of virtues and model of personal and national development for humanity at all times. It is now evident that obedience to the rule of law is fundamental to self, family, and national development by extension.

As Khalifatul Masih V and Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) has stated in his past Eid-ul Adha Sermons:
“Prophet Abraham(as), Prophet Ishmael(as), and Hazrat Hajira(as) (Hagar) attained this rank and made huge sacrifices in the way of Allah. In their remembrance, today, Muslims commemorate the noble examples of sacrifice in an attempt to attain those levels of sacrifice. This family did not permit any believer of any age group or of any gender to make excuses that they should be exempted. Young and old, man and woman, all presented the highest standards of sacrifice and this is an example for us all.”
“We cannot regard these incidents as mere stories; rather these stories are a model for us. When every man strives to inculcate the example of Abraham(as), when every woman tries to inculcate the example of Hagar(as), when every youngster tries to inculcate the example of Ishmael(as); only then will a true change come about….”These things require sacrifices. No change can come about by merely listening to stories of sacrifice, rather they must be implemented. Every nation around the world will have to present sacrifices.”

2. Wisdom and knowledge
Allah the Almighty declares: “And of men and beasts and cattle, in like manner, there are various colors. Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Mighty, Most Forgiving.” (Qur’an, Ch. 35 verse 29).
It takes a wise person to fear Allah. Only the Knowledgeable fear him. By knowledge, I mean doing the will of Allah and moving away from what He does not want. This is with a clear understanding that the future belongs to Allah alone. Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Hajar, and Hazrat Ishmail are all men and women of wisdom and knowledge.
The ignoramus will believe that they have escaped Allah by their lack of obedience thinking they can escape judgment.

3. Obedience to the rule of law
The world is governed by the rule of natural law and positive laws. Where laws are obeyed by individuals, families, and nations, there will abound justice, freedom, peace, progress and prosperity. Conversely, disobedience to the rule of law carries the consequences of injustice, deprivation, violence, retardation, hunger, and poverty. Hazrat Ibrahim, his family and Hijaz as a nation has demonstrated that obedience to the rule of law is a panacea to goodness and disobedience on the other hand carries grave penalties. In this context, the Holy Qur’an declares that:

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority over you.” (Qur’an, Ch.4: V.60).

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) also stated that:
‘A true Muslim can never raise his voice in hatred against his fellow citizens, nor for that matter against the ruling authority or government of the time. It is the responsibility of a true Muslim that he should remain loyal and fully abide by the laws of the land of which he is a subject.’ (Baitul Futuh Inauguration Reception, 11 Oct 2003)

4. Dignity, Shamefulness and Fulfilment of Pledge
Hazrat Ibrahim demonstrated the highest level of dignity, shamefulness and fulfillment of pledge. These qualities are fading out in our society daily.
The Holy Qur’an enjoins that: “And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have made; and break not the oaths after making them firm, while you have made Allah your surety. Certainly, Allah knows what you do.” (Qur’an, Ch. 16 verse 92)
And the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) commanded dignity and modesty, saying: “modesty is part of faith.”

5. Loyalty and Patriotism
Hazrat Ibrahim and his family demonstrated the highest level of loyalty to Allah and patriotism to their generation. They have established that self-sacrifice and the sacrifice of one’s family in essential to a great nation. It is not a situation that some sacrifice and others does not. As the popular Tradition goes: “Love of the nation is part of faith.” Hubbul watan minal iimaan (ascribed to the Holy Prophet).

6. Truthfulness, Sincerity and Honesty
The family demonstrated the highest level of truthfulness and sincerity in faith. While everyone knows that Allah is the creator and the sustainer, at trial times, there are denials. No nation can develop in lying. His Holiness in 2008 at Hadeeqa-e-Ahmad, Nasarawa State, Nigeria said that the difference between developed countries and less developed countries is lying. He said: ‘’Never abandon justice. Once you are established on justice, fair play, truthfulness and honesty, you will be instrumental more than ever before in taking your country to the realm of the advanced nations of the world. Sincerity and truthfulness on the part of the leaders had been the major factor differentiating the developed and the less developed countries of the world. The Almighty has been very Gracious to Nigeria and has enriched it with many natural resources. You have petroleum, gas and minerals such as zinc, limestone, Iron-ore and columbine etc. God has blessed you with Agriculture as well. Many crops grow here and much more than cultivated’’.

7. Good Governance, Transparency, and Accountability as a Common Value
Hazrat Ibrahim and his family demonstrated good governance in the sense that both the leader and the led were committed to the principles of obedience to the rule of law, loyalty and patriotism, truthfulness, sincerity and common good. This is a very great lesson for us that in a small family, father, mother and children must be committed to the rule of law and by extension the whole nation and country. A leader without good leads or good leads with bad leaders will lead to unintended destinations in their life career. Ishmail (as) said ‘O my father, do as thou art commanded; thou wilt find me, if Allah please, of those who are patient.’
Leading did not start in the day of the trial. It is extremely important to note that the trio had been loyal, patriotic and sincere before the day of trial. They were not teaching themselves what to say of do on the day of trial. This is what the leadership and the leader should be mindful of.

8. Resuscitation of Values for National Development
Applying all these to our current difficult state of affairs characterizing our individual and national social, economic and political existence, it is compelling that all of us, from the leaders to the followers, men and women, males and females, must leverage on these Abrahamic standards and model to resuscitate our value system for the emancipation and development of ourselves and our nation.
More so, as millions of Nigerians sacrifice animals today, it is necessary to bear in our minds the Qur’anic declaration 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.’

(The Holy Qur’an, 22:38).

9. Resuscitate the Spirit of Sacrifice
Thus, it is imperative that Nigerians, the political class and the governed, resuscitate the true spirit of sacrifice, selflessness, righteousness and fear of God in all our dealings at interpersonal, corporate, and national levels.
At an interpersonal level, today, Nigerians are passing through a tough economic time but the political class is displaying wealth and arrogance across the land. These wrong values should stop. Nigerians deserve respect, care and love from the political class. Government at all levels must ensure that palliatives get across to citizens as a stopgap to poverty alleviation programs. Within the corporate world, all forms of cheating, fraudulent practices and corruption that culminate in losses to the corporate world and the national economy should stop and fresh ones nip in the bud.
In the national, state and local governments, profligacy and excessive spending in the areas of purchase of exotic or luxurious SUV cars by the executive and legislative Arms should stop. This has sent wrong signals to the populace that these arms of government are stinkingly rich but do not care for the welfare of the citizens but themselves.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) further elaborated, “Allah thus explains that Taqwa is the actual essence of this sacrifice. One should be ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of Allah. One should be ready to sacrifice a small thing to attain a much more exalted goal and always follow God’s commands. Through this sacrifice, one should realize that faith must be given precedence above worldly affairs”.
Huzoor(aa) explained that “if this Eid of sacrifice does not draw our attention towards our responsibilities and obligations, then it is no more than a festival and is not a means of attaining the higher ranks of Taqwa. This Eid should take us to our actual purpose and we should not just be happy in consuming meat and feeding it to others.”

10. Resuscitate Values of Patience, Tolerance and Prayerfulness
More importantly, we must resuscitate the values of patience, tolerance and prayerfulness as part of the lessons derived from the Eid-ul-Adha. Indeed, no other time do we need to be more prayerful and patient than the present situation that we are passing through in Nigeria. Hence, as Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) maintained: “The sacrifices of Prophet Abraham, Hazrat Hajarah and Prophet Ismail (peace be upon them) bore fruit too. However, they did not ever let go of patience and prayer.”

It is my earnest prayer that Allah the Almighty grant us all the best of Eid-u-Adha experiences, filled with true peace, security, and prosperity, today, and always. Amin.

Alhaji (Barr.) Alatoye Folorunso Azeez
Amir (National Head)