Eid Ul Adha Khutbah: Once again we have all been blessed by Allah (SWT) to witness and celebrate this great day of Eid Al-Adha. Eid Al-Adha basically means, ‘the festival of sacrifice in Islam’.
On this day, Muslims are reminded about that great trial, which Prophet Ibrahim (AS) or Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was put to, of sacrificing his young son Prophet Ismail (AS) or Prophet Ishmael (PBUH). Prophet Ibrahim (AS) complied to the command of Allah (SWT) and fully succeeded in it.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is regarded as the champion of Monotheism. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is one of the most favorite prophets of Allah (SWT) who is held him in very high esteem.
The Holy Quran speaks extensively about Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Infact the name of Ibrahim has appeared in the Holy Quran 69 times. He has been given many beautiful names and titles such as:
Siddiq (The Truthful)
Nabi (The Prophet)
Imam (The leader)
Muslim (One who submits to One God)
Haneef (A non-deviant Monotheist)
Ummah (A Nation)
The Great Trial of Sacrifice:
The story about the great trial of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is an interesting one and there are many lessons that can be derived from it by those who believe in Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and claim to follow his creed. To summarize what had transpired:
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) had prayed to Allah (SWT) to grant him a son. Allah (SWT) fulfilled his wish and gave him Prophet Ismail (AS) at very old age.
“O God! Grant me with a righteous son. So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing son.” (37:100-101)
When the child attained 13 years of age, Allah (SWT) commanded Prophet Ibrahim (AS) in his dream to sacrifice him for His sake.
“When he was old enough to assist in his endeavor, he said: ‘My son! I see in my dream that I am sacrificing you. See what you think?'” (37:102)
Because it was the command from Allah (SWT), the righteous son encouraged his old father to discharge his duty.
“He said: ‘O Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient.” (37:102)
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) set out with his son Prophet Ismail (AS) to the sacrificing spot. It was certainly not an easy task!
On the way, Shaytan or Satan appeared in a form of an old advising man. He tried to stop Prophet Ibrahim (AS) from offering the sacrifice, but because of the strong faith in Allah (SWT), Prophet Ibrahim (AS)’s determination to comply with the command of his Creator could not be shaken.
Shaytan then tried his luck with young Prophet Ismail (AS) and persuade him to escape from his ill fate. As a result of his father’s invocation, Prophet Ismail (AS) was a righteous son and he too, could therefore not be influenced.
Both, the father and the son chased Shaytan away. They then arrived at the sacrificing spot at Mina.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) tied the hands and the legs of his son so as not to be perturbed by his pain and restlessness. He blindfolded himself and carrying the knife enacted the command of Allah (SWT).
When Prophet Ibrahim (AS) removed his fold, he saw Prophet Ismail (AS) by his side and in his place; a Ram lay slain before them. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) trembled lest Allah (SWT) rejected his sacrifice. Suddenly he heard a voice that was soothing:
“We called out to him: O Ibrahim! You have indeed fulfilled the vision! Thus indeed We reward the virtuous. This indeed was a manifest trial. Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, and We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: Peace be to Ibrahim.” (37:104-109)
Lesson from the Great Trial of Sacrifice:
One of the things that the Hujjaj (the pilgrims to the house of God for Hajj) do on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, and so do many Muslims all over the world is to:
Slaughter a lamb, or a sheep, or a goat or a camel in remembrance of this great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).
This act is not mere a ritual but it has a meaning and a significance. Allah (SWT) has not commanded us to sacrifice animals because He (SWT) is bloodthirsty or meat hungry.
In Suratul Hajj, verses 36 and 37, He (SWT) has made it clear:
“Thus we have disposed them (animals) for your benefit so that you may give thanks.” (22:36)
Then He (SWT) adds:
“It is not their flesh or their blood that reaches Allah. Rather it is your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He disposed them for your benefit so that you may magnify Allah for His guiding you. And give good news to the virtuous.” (22:37)
So what is the significance of offering sacrifice of animals on this day of Eid Al-Adha?
The answer to this question is simple.
Allah (SWT) wants to train us to follow the path of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who was willing to offer Allah (SWT) his dearest possession in form of his son Prophet Ismail (AS).
Allah (SWT) did not want Prophet Ismail (AS) to be sacrificed, but Allah (SWT) wanted Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to show his willingness to sacrifice Prophet Ismail (AS), which he (AS) did bravely.
Dr. Ali Shari’ati in his book, ‘Philosophy of Hajj’ writes and I quote:
“This is a story of man’s perfection and his freedom from selfishness and animalistic desires. It is man’s ascension to a higher spirit and loves, to a strong will that frees him from any thing that may hinder his responsibility as a conscious man.”
In other words, Allah (SWT) is telling us:
On this day of Eid Al-Adha, you should select your Ismail and bring him to Mina! Who is your Ismail? Anything that is causing an obstruction for you to reach your Lord and fulfill your duties towards Him. Your Ismail could be:
As you are sacrificing an animal on this day, bear in mind that you are infact, sacrificing that dearest thing in your life and telling Allah (SWT):
“O My Lord! Henceforth, this thing, which has been dearest to me in life, will not hinder me from reaching You and acquiring Your pleasure.”
Imam Zainul Abideen (AS), talking about the significance of each and every ritual that is performed during Hajj, asked Shibli:
“As you slaughtered your sacrificial animal (during Hajj), did you intend to cut off the throat of greed (that is hidden in you) by clinging to the reality of Taqwa and to follow the exemplary tradition of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who intended to slaughter his dear son Prophet Ismail (so as to discharge the command of Allah)?”
Shibli said, “No!”
“In that case” said the Imam Zainul Abideen (AS) “You have not sacrificed your animal.”
Similarly, whilst giving instructions to the Hujjaj (the pilgrims to the house of God for Hajj) Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) said to them: “Cut the throat of carnal desires and greed by offering animal sacrifice.”
We pray to Allah (SWT) on this great day of Eid Al-Adha to grant us with tawfeeq to follow in the path of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and forgive all our past and future sins.
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”
All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.
Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah akways watches over you.
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My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Today we celebrate Eidul Adha: The Eid of the Sacrifice. Over the past few days, millions of sheep, goats, cows and camels have been sacrificed and their meat has been shared with the poor, all over the world. Our own Qurbani, the ritual sacrifice that we make today, marks a defining moment that took place many thousands of years ago. Nabi Ibraheem, alayhis salaam, Prophet Abraham, turned to his son, Ismaeel, and told him about a dream in which Allah asked him to sacrifice that which is dearest to him. Without hesitation, Ismail told his father to do as Allah commanded; He, Ismael would remain patient and persevere. Let’s see what the Quran tells us about this amazing incident. In Sura As-Saffat [37:100-112] Prophet Abraham prays:
100 “O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!”
101 So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.
102 Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer you in sacrifice: Now see what is your view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: You will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!”
103 So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
104 We called out to him “O Abraham!
105 “You have already fulfilled the vision!” – this is how We reward those who do right.
106 For this was obviously a trial–
107 And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:
108 And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:
109 “Peace and salutation to Abraham!”
110 Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
111 For he was one of our believing Servants.
112 And We gave him the good news of Isaac [Ishaq] – a prophet – one of the Righteous.
— Quran, sura 37 (As-Saaffat), ayat 100–112
The sacrifice of Abraham forms the climax of the Hajj. But what is the Hajj? Let’s take a brief look at the importance of the Hajj. Why does Allah require us to do the Hajj at least once in our lifetime?
Hajj is the last of Islam’s five pillars, and it brings together all the essential aspects of our faith. It is a big subject, but in the few minutes I have, I want to touch on a few key aspects. Hajj is an epic journey on 3 levels:
2 History and
1 First there is the geographic level: It is a journey from our homes to Makka and Madina, to those desert lands where the story of Islam began, and towards which we turn our faces in prayer.
2 Secondly, Hajj is a journey through History. We visit the cradle of monotheism, the place where Prophet Abraham built the first place of worship dedicated to One God, Allah. Here in Makka Allah asked Abraham to sacrifice what he loved most dearly. Abraham recognised this as a supreme test. He would have to sacrifice his son to Allah. Both father and son obeyed the divine command without flinching and without resistance. Abraham’s sharp knife lay on Isma’ils tender throat. But just before it severed the jugular vein, Allah placed a sheep where Ismaels’ body lay, and, and Ishmael’s life was spared. When we celebrate Eid al Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice, we remember Abraham’s willingness obey Allah, He was prepared to give up his most beloved son. This teaches us that, as Allah’s servants, we too must obey without question and without hesitation. We too, must be prepared to give up whatever else, besides Allah, is so near and dear to us. We too, must learn to tame our selfish desires, and we must learn how to fulfil our Lord’s bidding.
Hajj takes us on an historical journey beyond Abraham, way back to the beginning of the human story, to the time of Adam and Eve. The highlight of the Hajj is therefore the gathering of more than 3 million pilgrims on the plain of Arafat. At the foot of Jabal Rahma, the Mount of Mercy, pilgrims pray and supplicate, begging forgiveness for their sins, and they rededicate themselves to a life of obedience to Allah.
Here is where Adam and Eve were forgiven for their original sin. The first act of human disobedience was forgiven here on the Mount of Mercy.
Here is where we recite Nabi Adam’s prayer:
“Rabbana thalamna an fusana wa il lam tagh fir lana wa tar hamna lana koonan naa minal khasireen.”
“O our Lord! We have truly wronged our own souls; and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be among the losers!” [Quran 7:23]
It is therefore fitting that every year, from the beginning to the end of human history, pilgrims should make this journey to seek forgiveness for their own wrongdoing, in the same place where the first sin was forgiven. It is therefore also a supreme expression of hope, that despite all our human frailties and transgressions, there is always time for sincere repentance. We must use our time to mend our errant ways.
3 Hajj is not only a journey through geography and history. It is perhaps most importantly, an inward journey towards our own centre, to the human heart. Not the physical heart that pumps blood through our veins. I mean the spiritual heart, the Qalb, the locus of our personality. What emotions, what desires, ambitions and obsessions lurk in the innermost recesses of the spiritual heart? By travelling to the Kaaba, the centre of Islam, the focal point of the Qibla, (the directional axis for all our prayers), we have also made a journey inwards. We are also seeking the Kaaba and Qibla of the human heart. Are those ambitions, desires and innermost longings really worthy of a true servant of God? Are we focussed on the right priorities, beyond selfishness and pettiness? What is our real place in this great drama of life around us? What is our place in the whole cosmic scheme of things? Where have we come from, and where are we going to?
Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayir raaji oon, says the Holy Quran. “From Allah have we come and to Him is our return.” [sura Al Baqara 2:156]
Hajj is also a reminder of death. Every pilgrim is wrapped in 2 sheets of plain while cloth, with no sewing, no stitches. These are the same sheets of cloth that will cover us when we are buried. In a way, we are on pilgrimage wearing a burial shroud. This is the only time we will wrap ourselves in our own shrouds. When we die, someone else will do the wrapping for us. This is a humbling and sobering experience. When you look around you, you see more than 3 million people, all dressed exactly the same, in 2 sheets of plain white cloth. You cannot tell the difference between a state president and a taxi driver, a millionaire and the cleaner who tidied your hotel room yesterday. You can only see yourself and your fellow pilgrims exactly as God sees all of us: stripped of all our pretensions, stripped of all our designer clothes and our outward signs of wealth, nationality, culture and social status. On Hajj we see one another as we really are: individual human souls, distinguishable only by the purity of their hearts and the content of their character. This is exactly how Allah sees us. In the final analysis, this is all that matters.
Alhamdu lil-laahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een. Ammaa ba’ad:
“Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”
“Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem”
Glory to Allah! Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!
My dear sisters and brothers,
Hajj is a chance for us to take stock of ourselves, to examine our hearts, our emotions, our ambitions, our desires. What is the driving force in our lives? Is there something higher and nobler than having a new car, designer clothes, a fine house, respect of our peers, or buying a villa in the sun? Hajj reminds us that our earthly life is short, and it should be spent on good works, striving to fulfil the needs of others, purely out of love for Him and gratitude to Him. If only we would sit down and reflect on our good fortune. We have so much to thank Him for. Count your blessings, name them one by one. We complain that we don’t have nice shoes, till we see someone living happily without any feet. We can be so ungrateful! Allah is infinitely generous and He deserves our love and gratitude. He created everyone and everything, and we are His trustees. We are answerable to Him. When we treat people of other faiths with respect, we do so as a courtesy to Him, and when we are disrespectful or abusive to others, we offend Allah.
So as we celebrate Eid al Adha, and we remember the supreme sacrifice of Prophet Abraham, let us remember that the way to Allah’s good pleasure is paved with trials and tribulations. We must travel hopefully, with a buoyant and positive spirit, eagerly anticipating our first glimpse of Allah’s smiling Face. We know that at the end of every difficulty there comes relief.
“Fa inna ma’al usri, yusra; inna ma’al usri, yusra.” [Quran 94:5,6]
This is what our faith teaches us. Be hopeful, be optimistic. If we are to be worthy followers of those great teachers, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, (may Allah’s peace and blessings be on all of them), we must bring something of that grace and nobility, that patience, perseverance, love and devotion that they taught us, into our own lives.
With so many Muslims enduring unspeakable hardship in so many places today, the blessings, the barakah, and the spiritual lessons of Hajj are desperately needed by all. Just like Nabi Ibraheem, let us willingly sacrifice our time, money and material possessions that we love so much, to serve Allah. This is the true meaning of Prophet Abraham’s prayer:
“Innas salatee wa nusukee wa mahyaya wama maatee lil Laahi rabbil aalameen”
“Surely, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death is for Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds” [Quran 6:162]
May Allah grant all the pilgrims an accepted Hajj. May all hujaaj return home safely. May Allah bless all His devoted servants on this joyous day of Eidul Adha…..Ameen.
Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:
InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90),
“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”
Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].
“and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”
wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
“and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
I wish you all a joyous Eid Mubarak. As-salaamu’alaykum!