By Mufti Waseem Khan
Al hamdulillah, All praise is due to Allah, Who has created us perfectly, one stage after another. Likewise, He has blessed us with opportunities one after another for our spiritual development and progress. He has also set in place all the necessary requirements for this growth. Together with right guidance and faith, believers are also required to sacrifice in order to achieve their desired goals.
We remember the month of Ramadaan, the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, the month of fasting; recitation of Quraan; performing the Taraaweeh salaah; waking up for Tahajjud; making extensive supplications; paying of Zakaah and giving charity; etc. We considered the month as an opportunity to do good deeds. But without some sacrifice on our path, the opportunity would have been lost and we would have been losers at the end.
Likewise, the month of Dhul Hijjah dawned upon us and on the 8th to the 12th of the month, the rites of the Hajj would have been performed. Those who went for the Hajj would have realised that the performance of Hajj was a great opportunity to fulfil a duty and an Ibaadah to Allah in acquiring spiritual progress. But this would not have come about except with some level of sacrifice on the path of the Hujjaj. They had to sacrifice financially, by paying the necessary Hajj fees, etc; physically, by undergoing the difficult journey and fulfilling the rites of the Hajj itself; emotionally, by parting with their children, parents and other loved ones while being in an environment away from the comforts of home.
Even for those who have not gone for the Hajj but were the possessors of the Nisaab, it was essential for them to perform the Qurbani of an animal for the sake of Allah in keeping with the practice of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (SA). This again was an opportunity to acquire tremendous rewards and closeness to Allah and was a sacrifice for many – financially and physically.
We are now on the threshold of the new Islamic year and with the sighting of the new moon, the month of Muharram and the Islamic year would begin. This time usually brings to mind two significant events in the history of Islam. Firstly, the migration (Hijrah) of the Holy Prophet (SA) and his companions from Mecca to Madinah. The event has indeed etched itself on the pages of Islamic history as being the turning point in the progress and uplift for Muslims and Islam. Even though the actual Hijrah did not take place in the month of Muharram the event was of such great significance that the commencement of the Hijri calendar was decided during the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar (RA) to be from the year of the Hijrah. This migration also reminds us of the tremendous sacrifice of our forerunners in Islam. The Muhaajiruun (migrants – the Muslims who left Mecca) sacrificed their wealth and property, their homeland and blood-relations, their comforts and pleasures all for the sake of the Deen of Allah. The Ansaar (helpers – the Muslims of Madinah) sacrificed and shared what they had to accommodate their Meccan brethren in faith. Such extent of sacrifice and degree of the bond of faith has been unprecedented in history.
Secondly, we remember the tragedy which took place with Imam Hussain and his followers on the 10th of Muharram – the Day of Aashurah. A day when he and his eighty odd followers fought firmly on truth until they were martyred on the plain of Karbala at the hands of treachery and falsehood. We remember this event, as well as, the great sacrifices of the Prophet (SA), his illustrious Sahabas, the Taabieen, the Tab’a Taabieen, the great scholars and devout servants in the annals of history.
They would not have known of the immense effects their sacrifices and efforts would have left on those who would be following them. To them it was a duty, a responsibility, an opportunity to establish truth and rout out falsehood. They were more concerned about the accountability before Allah in not doing their part even if it meant parting with some mundane possessions or even life itself.
The Quraan is replete with their sacrifices and efforts. Allah mentions “Those who believe, and have migrated, and striven hard with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way, have the highest rank in Allah’s sight. These are those who are successful. Their Lord gives them good tidings of Mercy from Him, and pleasurable acceptance, and gardens where everlasting delights will be theirs. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward.” (At Tauba 9 20-22)
“As for those who strive hard in Us (for the cause of Allah), We will surely guide them to Our paths, and Verily! Allah is with those who do good.” (Al Ankabut 29:6)
The actions and sacrifices of the blessed Companions of the Prophet (SA) were of such status in the view of Allah that He has indeed confirmed his pleasure with them. The Quraan mentions: “Allah became well pleased with them and they were pleased with Him.” (Al Bayyinah 98:8)
Respected Muslims, the sacrifices and efforts which the forerunners of Islam have made would be of benefit and credit to them. The questions which are pertinent and relevant to us are: What are we doing or what are we going to do to earn the pleasure of Allah? How much are we willing to sacrifice to establish Islam in our lives, and the lives of our families and of all mankind? How much effort are we willing to make to ensure that Islam is practiced by the generations following us? What legacy are we going to leave after us – one of sacrifice and piety or of neglect and laziness?
The Quraan admonishes us: “There is not for man except that which he strives for.” (53:39) Again Allah warns: “Verily Allah will not change the condition of people until they change the condition of their own selves.” (13:11)
These Ayahs indicate to us the need to be pro active concerning our Deen. If we want some viable change to take place with our selves then it means that we are required to make some effort towards that; if we want some change towards righteousness then we need to change the condition of ourselves. This involves some degree of sacrifice. The sacrifices which one endures in the doing of various acts of Ibaadah are only meant to teach and strengthen us in sacrificing in all aspect of our lives as believers. To be a Muslim is to submit and surrender one’s will to the will of Allah and His messenger. This is not an occasional or seasonal submission but it is an unconditional and fulltime submission to the teachings of Islam. To really achieve this, we may have to part with some of our comforts and leisure – and this is a sacrifice. We may have to control our desires and glances – and this is a sacrifice. We may have to humble ourselves and not retaliate – and this is a sacrifice. We may have to give up some of our free time for the sake of Allah – and this is a sacrifice. We may have to devote some time to learn of our Deen to know what Allah wants of us – and this is a sacrifice.
We sacrifice because it is an integral part of our religion. This lesson was taught by all the previous Prophets (AS), including our Prophet Muhammad (SA), as well as by his illustrious followers and the truthful servants of Islam over the past centuries. They lived a humble life, knowing what is to come in the Hereafter is better than this worldly life.
We ask Allah to accept and bless them and us. We ask Allah to fortify us with the same level of commitment and submission to His Deen. Aameen
Mufti Waseem Khan