By: Truth Revealer
Leaning against the cold, damp window of my room, I gazed out at the blooming flowers in my backyard. The air was fresh and slightly chilly as it had just rained and there was a nice crispiness in the atmosphere. The clouds that thundered just an hour ago were now dispersed in the bright sky. The sun was of course on leave probably scared of the thunder and lightning as I was. As I scanned the garden my eye caught sight of a sudden movement. It was my nephews and niece bursting through the back door into the lawn. Hasan was running after Mohammad Qasim who was screaming his head off, all the while trying to stay away from the latter. Little Hafsa, on the other hand, simply squatted by the pillar and watched them play, occasionally clapping her hands when she deemed right.
I smiled. Beautiful young children living their carefree lives as they should, without having to worry about anything rather just lighten up their surroundings with their acts of innocence. I turned away and headed to the door when yet another shriek from the toddler made me jump. It was a scream of pure and utter horror. I ran to the window and peered outside.
Before I could stop myself, I burst into bubbling laughter. It was hilarious. Apparently, the kids had finally located the place where a couple of goats and a cow were camping—the source of their terror. Instead of running back inside, Hafsa now stood by her cousins, staring at the creatures with big saucer eyes—mouth hanging open in awe and fear. It seemed as if the animals too had spotted the young ones as they had stopped eating and now stared back at them with their small, beady eyes. And then came along the unexpected booming mow of the cow that made the children scream and run back into the folds of the warm, comforting house. I heard the anticipated slam of the door. I winced.
“Kausar, I’m busy, I have a test tomorrow, go attend to the kids will ya,” my sister’s voice rang out.
“You say as if I have a choice,” I muttered back. Sighing I made my way downstairs to the bawling children.
The kids spun around to see me glaring at them from the stairs. My icy stare didn’t seem to unnerve them one bit. Instead, they huddled around me sniffing and broke into babble at the same time. Hasan began explaining what had happened in really, really long sentences. Mohammad Qasim, on the other hand, in his very high-pitched voice began his story screaming and pointing to the yard. And of course Hafsa wasn’t going to stay back. She started her own story talking gibberish…er… I meant baby language. Shaking my head, I steered the children into the lounge and told them politely to shut up. Amazingly, they didn’t need to be told twice. Hafsa though, continued her chirping for a little longer.
“Khala, why are there animals in our backyard?” Hasan asked once we were settled.
“Well, you know how Eid-ul-Adha is coming right?” I looked at them and saw Hasan nodding…the other two just copied him like the cute little monkeys they are.
“So, the animals are for Eid.”
“Wait, so they will celebrate Eid with us, like eat kalaiji and all?” Hasan asked, his eyes open wide.
The cow mooed again, this time a bit longer making the children cringe in fear.
“Uh…I meant…,” I stuttered, rolling my eyes at the cow, wondering how to tell the kids about the whole importance of sacrifice in Islam without freaking them out.
“Look, let me first tell you the story behind Eid-ul-Adha,” I took a deep breath, “Long time ago, Allah SWT had a dear friend called Ibrahim. Ibrahim AS and his wife spent their lives worshipping and serving Allah سبحانہ وتعالی. Ibrahim علیہ السلام was also a prophet of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی.”
“Who’s a prophet?” Hasan asked his brows furrowed. Mohammad Qasim simply with his cute, chubby face stared at me, not even putting an effort to hide his lack of understanding. Hafsa, on the other hand, looked between Hasan and me as if trying to comprehend.
“A prophet, love, is a person sent by Allah سبحانہ وتعالی to spread around His teachings and guide the people to the Almighty. So now, when Ibrahim علیہ السلام and his wife got older Allahسبحانہ وتعالی blessed them with a son called Ismail. As Ismail began to grow up, Ibrahim علیہ السلام and his wife began to live to see him happy and fulfilled. Meanwhile, Ibrahim علیہ السلام had to leave his family by Allah’s orders. After many years, when Ismail was around the age of eight he returned to his family. One night, Ibrahim علیہ السلام dreamt a unique dream. Now it’s important for you to know that Ibrahim AS’s faith in Allah was firm. Faith means to believe and to obey without second thought. So, he dreamt that he was sacrificing his son.”
A sudden gasp from the kids made me stop in my tracks. Hasan’s eyes were wide with fear.
“Hasan, mind you, I still haven’t finished the story,” I tried to reassure the kid.
“Dreams of a prophet are true and are from Allah. Ibrahim علیہ السلامunderstood what Allah asked of him. Over the passing years Ismail’s love had begun to fill his heart with joy and happiness. This dream was a test from Allah. Allah سبحانہ وتعالی wanted to see if Ibrahim’s love for Him would precede that for his young son. The next day he told his wife to prepare the child as he would take him out. The child, happy to spend time with his father, chirped around and got ready. Along the way, Ibrahim told his son about his dream. Now, mashallah, hats off to the kid, Ismail said to his father: O Father, do as you are commanded. Upon which Ibrahim AS acted out his dream in a place we now call Mina. Allah سبحانہ وتعالی of course saved Ismail who later on grew to become a prophet like his father—Ismail علیہ السلام. So, the point of Eid is to sacrifice what we hold dear in the sake of Allah to prove to our nafs that our love for Allah precedes that for the duniya. Though, it doesn’t mean you go off sacrificing your brothers and sister, it means showing your love to Allah by getting rid of things that have distracted you from His remembrance. The sole purpose of Eid is to sacrifice all our desires, small or big, for Allah’s sake, for His happiness, for His pleasure.” I completed my story and ruffled Hasan’s hair as he nodded in agreement.
The doorbell rang.
‘Perfect timing,’ I thought to myself smirking as the kids ran to the door crying out, “AMMMI.”
I, too, got up and went to lend a hand with the groceries my father had just brought in.