What Eid Missed

AS has generally been the case over the last three years, Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated peacefully with traditional fervor, a term we have grown fond of using on these occasions. Thousands of animals were slaughtered to seek God’s pleasure and reward. The sacrifice was offered to honour the sacrifice that Ibrahim (AS) was prepared to make as he demonstrated the level of devotion and submission God expects. Incidentally, a few camels costing over a lakh rupees each were also slaughtered. This is despite the fact that this year Eid shopping was somewhat subdued.

Thousands of devotees offered Eid prayers at Dargah Hazratbal on the banks of Dal Lake as a slight drizzle dampened the temperature. The prayers were attended by National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former J&K Chief Ministers. However, authorities did not allow Eid prayers to be held at the city’s Grand Mosque due to law-and-order concerns. The authorities asked the Jamia Auqaf officials to hold Eid prayers at 6.30 am which they refused. Security agencies were chary of the prayers leading to protests.

Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha also extended Eid greetings, and hoped that the festival strengthens the bonds of peace and brotherhood and brought peace, happiness and joy to everybody. And the security agencies did everything to ensure that there was no untoward incident during the festival.

That said, while we celebrate Eid, a festivity which is incumbent on all Muslims, and sacrificed animals, we weren’t sufficiently mindful of a section of our population that struggles to meet even basic needs. Their plight calls for us to be more austere in our celebration. Those of us who can afford to spend should donate the amount they would otherwise spend on consumables for their brethren in distress. Same goes for the people offering animal sacrifices. They would earn more Sawab and God’s goodwill should they also contribute towards the welfare of the thousands of widows and orphans in our community. While Eid is about celebration and festivity, it should also strengthen and sustain the spirit of community effort. But we have hardly made any consequential contribution here.

There is thus an urgent need to reflect about our failures as a community. It is incumbent on us that while we go about celebrating Eid or any other festival, we also remember the thousands of  victims of ongoing turmoil and contribute in a material way to lessen their misery. There is no better and more sacred an occasion to do this than Eid. This alone will make the celebration of Eid-ul-Azha meaningful and aligned with its true spirit – the spirit of giving and sacrifice.

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