We have borne witness to another Kurban Bayram (Feast of the Sacrifice). To this day, we have experienced almost the same things witnessed by the two children of Prophet Adam during every sacrificial ritual.
Throughout human history, the act of sacrifice has not just been a part of worship, but as is witnessed each year, it is accompanied by emotions, debate, rumors and malpractices.
Let’s leave aside those that don’t know, recognize or refuse to carry out the act of the sacrificial ritual. Keeping them away from sacrificial worship is an entirely different topic. Generally, however, certain stances are adopted regarding this worship and it is always put to the test.
We are able to witness the varied types of humans, when some, like Cain, try to pass the test of sacrifice using the easiest route out, and others, like Abel, try to do the ritual justice.
Some people have tried to perform the ritual by sacrificing a chicken or rooster. As ever, there are those that continue whispering that a financial donation can be made instead of sacrificing an animal. I am grateful that it has been quite a while, now, that we have distanced ourselves from these whispered rumors, which ignore the depth of the meaning of the sacrificial ritual.
It is not that we don’t hear these feeble rumors about the ritual of sacrifice, but somehow, if they were to subside, it might lose its meaning of being a test.
The story about the prophet Abraham and Ishmael is unique in the history of the ritual of sacrifice, and in a sense determines the date and format of this ritual. It is possible to ascertain the entire purpose of the existence of humans on this earth by looking at that story.
This story of the prophet Abraham also contains the secrets of how much people can understand or misunderstand each other. It also explains how rumors can influence Allah’s most beloved creation from performing the sacrifice demanded of them. It explains that the choice of making a sacrifice is always made with a free will, and this choice inevitably means that approaching a certain place necessitates distancing oneself from another place.
As long as the option of making a choice exists, the whispers of the devil will always be forthcoming. The devil will always be amongst those suggesting the wrong option at every stop along the road. Some of these suggestions will sow the seeds of doubt about the right choices by adopting scientific, philosophical, or humanitarian arguments and will also attempt to prey on greed.
Those that see a resemblance between the road of life and the road of sacrifice will show admirable persistence regarding the choices they make and the countless others they didn’t make. The act of sacrifice is one where while a choice is made, other choices are forgone. This aspect of the act lights the way during the shaping and existential growth of a human being.
The prophet Abraham lived in this region. It was in this region that he stood up to Nimrod. He destroyed all idols made by his own idol-maker father and was thrown into the fire as a result. Since the order to light the fire was not from Almighty God, the flames imparted a feeling of coolness. These events were witnessed in these lands.
Abraham also passed the test of the sacrifice ritual in these lands. That this was his test and his experience, does not prevent its meaning from being a universal one. Without any doubt, our living in this region for years brings to life the relationship between the act of the sacrifice and the test.
These days we are being called upon to make a choice due to events in Iraq and Syria. We are faced with a test. With all the diverse ideas being presented on how we should respond to the simple issue of those forced to seek shelter in Turkey shows what a tough test this can turn into.
Who is envious of what these arrivals eat? Are they snatching our daily bread from us? How long will we host them as guests? Should we be cautious of who these arrivals are and who they fled from? The arrivals are in need, but what should be said about the turmoil created in our daily lives, their begging on the streets and the hindrance of our own people’s “employment opportunities” due to cheap labor?
We could drag it out by considering each of these questions a test. We should not delve on these questions within the context of the act of sacrifice for only a fleeting moment. What we should do is always consider these questions within the most appropriate context of the act of sacrifice.
Let’s celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice in this manner. Let us get closer to righteousness and distance ourselves from superstition. Let us distance ourselves from the oppressors, whoever they may be, and get closer to the innocent.
I wish you a happy Bayram.