This Sunday, the Muslim world shall be observing the festival ‘Id al-Kabir for the year 1440 (2019). The word ‘Id, in Arabic, refers to an event that recurs or returns. It is an occasion on which Muslims are expected to bask in an uncommon happiness particularly for their ability to connect with the Almighty and especially at a time when profanity and bestiality have become fashionable.
However, it is important for us to note that the Id al-Kabir is another point of arrival for the believers in their constant journey to connect with the Almighty. The arrival to that location, the location of bliss and happiness where hopelessness was replaced with hopefulness, where sadness was side-stepped for happiness, where the child (Prophet Ismail, upon him be peace), connected and stood with his father (Prophet Ibrahim) in the latter’s attempt and effort to hearken and obey the will of the Almighty, represented the critical point in the believer’s journey to attain terrestrial certainty in preparation for celestial bliss.
In other words, the whole essence of life and living for the conscious Muslim is all about arrival and departure; we arrive from a religious duty in order to depart for another one. The onset of the Id al-Kabir, like it is for Id al-Fitr, implies the undertaking of series of religious duties and rites; duties and rites that are not and never ends in themselves but means towards nobler ends; means towards more hallowed spiritual-social ends. Remember whenever believers prostrate in obeisance to Him, they are expected to rise in order that they might rescue humanity from the multiplexity of maladies confronting the latter. Sacrifice of animals are nothing if the ‘animal’ in the worshipper, the ‘animal’ of greed and incontinence, the ‘animal’ of covetousness and dishonesty are not completely sacrificed. The Id al-Kabir (the greater Festival) would lose its essence if we do not keep in mind that the occasion would not have come had Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) not kept his promise to his Creator.
Thus, as you look forward to the seventy-two hours when the Id shall be due, try and renew your connection with your Creator. Fulfill of all pledges, promises and oaths. Re-establish your duties and affection with your loved ones. Pray constantly to Him who can bless you with them- children who would be dutiful and obedient to the their fathers and mothers the same way Prophet Ismail was dutiful and obedient to his father.
But one other point is here critical- that you should constantly avoid the temptation to think that what you have done on the path of Islam are enough to guarantee you paradise and acceptance from Him. Remember, at a time when there was no cement and iron, Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail set about raising the pillars of the Kaaba in line with the commandments of the Almighty. After they completed the task, they opened their palms to Him, the Almighty, to accept the efforts from them as acts of worship. We have to be in prostration and constantly plead with Him to not render our efforts a nullity.
Thus, as we count down towards this year’s ‘Id al-Kabir, prepare to observe the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace). Plan to wake up very early in the morning; observe the tahajud (do not let this virtue slip away from your schedules for a day), and in keeping with the Sunnah, take a bath before Fajr prayers and put on new clothes (or the best available). It is Sunnah for men to use perfume not only on ´Id days but always. It is recommended that believers embark on temporary fasting on this day in order to reenact the circumstance of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) in whose memory and to whose heritage this spiritual-social event is commemorated. The fast referenced here should be broken as soon as the ‘Id prayers are concluded.
Again, do not forget that the rams for sacrifice are not meant for you and your family alone the same way the blessings of the Almighty with you and not yours alone.
Divide the meat into three- keep a share for your family, another share for those your friends and well-wishers and the third for others who would not mind partaking of the sumptous sallah meat but would never come to your door-step to ask for it.
Brethren, set out early for the ‘Id prayer ground. While going there in your car, stop on the way to offer seats in your car to your brethren who might be going there on foot. Do not wait to be asked before you offer such assistance. Again this is highly virtuous.
On the way to the ‘Id praying ground engage in much glorifications of Almighty. In low voice, say: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Laa ilaaha ilal-lahu wal-Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa-lilla hil hamd -He is the Greatest, He is the Greatest; He is the Greatest; there is no god He; He is the Greatest; to Him belongs all praises!