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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Columnist: Abdur Rahman Odoi Anum Pobee

Eid-ul-Adha evinces the power of warding off evil

It would be thrilling in all Zongo communities and highly coded areas irrespective of how secured it may seem, wondering what might be the hiccups?

Probably, if you have perchance strolled last week in any of the suburbs of Accra or Kumasi where Islam is bred and lived for instance; Nima, Alajo, Shukra, Newtown and Mamobi, do not be carried away if you had seen a sacrificial animal tied to a tree and being fed very often; it is just on the waiting list of all eligible and healthy animals that would be sacrificed today, 21st August, 2018.

Government in the times and the law of Ghana have always given this festival its rite and rightful place by granting all citizens a holiday to commemorate the sacrificial day which is chronicled by the obvious books.

Muslims will be inundated because Eidul Adha has revisited again; the young ones would get their outfits ready and the affluent would do the cash cow’s job by purchasing the animals which are meant for the sacrifice. An ideal Muslim, on the other hand, would ensure that after performing the prayer his animal is slaughtered to break the short-fasting he had done.

It would be astonishing to note that a Muslim is mandated by the tenets of Islam to share one third of the meat or the food prepared with non-Muslims in the community which he resides. Muslims do this not to show off but it is done to eulogize Islamic etiquettes of the relationship that must be maintained betwixt a Muslim and Non-Muslims by subverting what the western media has painted Islam with. And thus Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: A Muslim is not the one who goes to bed and sleeps while his neighbour is hungry", he however defined one’s neighbour as any breathing being staying in a stretch of sixty houses from all cardinal point at where one lives.

This means that if a Muslim cannot maintain peace he is not being a good practising Muslim; it is even hindsight by Chenua Achebe who said that “a man who invites his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to redeem them from starving. They all have food in their homes, when we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon.

Every man can see it in his own compound; we come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so”. So you would notice that the meat, food and drinks are shared among all classes of people including other faithful adherents especially giving much preference to the less privileged, wayfarer and the needy.

Interestingly, in the Muslim communities, the number of animals that are sacrificed would vary pertaining to peoples' physical cash. Those who are not considered as the financial giants but had preconditioned their thoughts of offering a sacrifice to Allah started their contribution early to make things easy in this year’s feast. Nevertheless, the intention for the sacrifice sometimes turns out as a misnomer; a context between house A and house B or Alhaji Odotei and Alhaji Okpoti; each party wants to over sacrifice more than its opponent had done in the previous year.

This is good though following Allah’s inoculation which says that compete with each other in righteousness and piety but do not to engage and support one another in evil and rancour [Qur'an 5:2]. It becomes problematic and a social caricature if it turns into an act done not for the sake of Allah but to show the vastness of one’s pocket and the better life that is lived without showing reverence to Allah. It distorts the emblem of Prophet Ibrahim (as) when and after he had made the sacrifice which is enshrined in Qur’an 6.162 “Surely, my prayer and my sacrifice, my life and death are all for Allah the Lord of the worlds”.

Remember, your ill-motive could send a bad signal to the youths out there who are eager to surreptitiously amass wealth to do it more than you have done it in the coming year. Also, there are some who could use all sought of dubious money to make this sacrifice fruitful and still glory that they had done what is best for themselves, family and community. It is appalling that we have become unconcerned that Islam frowns on money used to perform sacrifice which is interconnected to loans contracted with interest, fixed deposits, fraud and embezzlement. But this has become the accepted creed now; it must be relooked, rethought redone and to rekindle resolution and reformation after the throat of the sacrificial animal is chopped.

The month of Ramadan has left us a while ago with wondrous opportunities which made us tasted a righteous life of which we promised to continue with that life till death do us apart. Today should mark a day in which we shall be authorizing a good life that is well lived and if you are still lagging behind, the sacrifice ought to revive you.

Analytically, a cow may cost 1500-4000 cedi and it is not compulsory to make this sacrifice but to some extent if you have the money. Have we ever considered the amount of money we spend if we are to move away from sin? We end up rather investing earthier and wordily because alcohol and smoking would not extravagantly waste our money but would safe us from lung cancer and bronchitis! Being eager to offer the sacrifice must mean that you are ready to shun evil which would cost you virtually nothing.

The entire genesis of the incident that nearly led to the sacrifice of Ismail (as) by his father Prophet Ibrahim (as) was a taunting trial that they were tested therewith to prove their steadfastness in Allah. After Ibrahim (as) had hobnobbed with his son about his dream of sacrificing him, he also consented wholly because he knew that his father would not tell him a fabricated story. Its essence is that if you have masqueraded over 5 cows already to slaughter but you are always profiled for not seeking the consent of your wards and family before taking decisions at home and if you walk through the door after work the atmosphere looks as if there is an atomic bomb which has been dropped, your sacrifice would only benefit those who would consume it because the allegorical intent of the sacrifice is been undermined by your actions and inactions!

Those who witness how the cows are slaughtered and are the first to upload it on social media to show how the cow suffered or the braveness of those who slaughtered the animal, what is the rationality of that? We should rather consider ourselves as the cow in question and the Angels are dragging us by our face to the pits of hell where we shall be burnt over and over again and into eternity, as we decided not to change from the bad ways we are known of. When a cow is bought it is required to be fed for some days before finally it is offered for the sacrifice, in the same vein, we have been given the freedom after several uncountable sins we may or have perpetuated without facing any punishment at the moment.

We must also know that our days are just numbered like the fate of the shackled animal who has nowhere to run to and soon death would knock on our door, if we have not repented then hell is would be our final abode! More so, we have among us people who fling the dictates of Allah behind their backs and do not observe the five times daily prayers unless they have foreseen an occasion looming before they would be serious by not rejecting Allah contumaciously! The spiritual intents of this sacrifice is to impose and established a covenant upon thyself that after the cow is slaughtered I have accepted the terms and conditions of slaughtering which is one’s quest not to retreat to the obnoxious and sinful culture, never again!

Propitiously, this is what the Eidul Adha festival teaches and not entirely making merry but epitomising man’s tenacity of shunning evil deeds and being an upright man which is the quintessential of the sacrifice made in the ancient times. Ibrahim’s (as) knife was unable to chop the head of Ismail (as) when he put the knife on his throat but the same knife when it had fallen onto the stone, it broke it apart wherefore Allah provided a sacrificial animal and Ismail (as) was the opportunity cost. Your well sharpened knife should be your power of good deeds and the aimless cow should be your evil deeds, at the moment that its throat is chopped off, your evil deeds are dead and have come to an end and it must never resurface again, keenly reflect over this!

It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His guidance to you. And give glad tidings to the doers of good [Qur’an 22.37].

May Allah accept it from us and you.