Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Reality of Sacrifice / Haqiqat of Qurbani

In the Name of the Divine Lord, the Truth, the Absolute Truth


1. Love and Surrender - Inner and Outer Manifestations


In the dual play of hidden and manifest (al-batin and az-zahir) Love is from the hidden and its an inner quality. You cannot define it, you cannot touch it, Love's true reality remains elusive forever. On the other hand Surrender is from the outer, surrender is the manifest expression of Love. It is what is embodied as a result of Love within.

The sunflower has a hidden Love Affair with the sun and its Surrender is its turning to and opening itself completely towards the sun, its object of Love. The Love is hidden, surrender is visible because its embodied in its existence. Love is the Cause, Surrender is the Effect.

Whenever, wherever there is Love, there is always Surrender.

That Surrender is Giving Up. Giving up of what, you may wonder!

What do we possess really, you ask, that we may give up?

A self which is not free, which is deeply enslaved in the temporal world wants to possess everything. Wealth, fame, title, every transactions of profit and loss, every attachment, even every pain, abuse and suffering it feel possessive about. If it evolves a little, it may give up wealth and material attachment, because thats easier. But it may still hold on to something else. It may hold on to the attachment and desire that people may admire him or her as a person who has no attachment to wealth; that people may worship him, his piety. Artificial piety and hidden pride of denouncement of material become the next possession, become the new attachment.

A somewhat purified self may give up that desire of admiration of others and yet he or she may hold on to yet something else, something more subtle. And if we go on like that, the last bit that the self wish to lay claim on and wish to cling on to is his, her 'life', the very matrix upon which existence is reliant upon.

The life that apparently belongs to him, in truth, in reality, really belongs to the One who has created and bestowed life, Who breathe Life Energy into lifeless matter and hence brought forth his or her existence. Yet as a last attempt a self which is not touched by this truth or by knowing this truth has not become free - still hold on to his life.

Surrender in its ultimate expression always involves sacrificing life and it is the highest testimony of Love.

Thus in the Language of Love, in the Language of Surrender, giving up of one's life, sacrificing one's life is known as the greatest. Sacrifice means giving up something we love for something we love even more. Sacrifice of life is the highest station for the lovers who have dyed themselves in the color of Love that is truly real.

That is why one of the greatest lover of God who ever walked on earth, Jesus Christ, may God's peace saturate his perfumed soul, conveyed this precious teaching to his closed circle of companions as recorded in the Gospel of John 15:13-15:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business (but a friend knows).


 

2. Greater love is Sacrificing One's Life for One's Friend


Greater love has no one than this: to lay one's life for one's friends, to sacrifice one's life for the loved ones. And what is the qualification of that love and true friendship? That is to obey what is commanded, that is to forsake one's agenda for the beloved's agenda. When one's agenda is suspended and one steps into the circle of surrender, one actually graduate from station of servitude to station of friendship.

Christ teaches that we become friends of God when we suspend our own petty agenda and accept whole heartedly the agenda of God. A servant doesnt know, a servant cant suspend his own agenda fully. But a friend knows his Friend's business, His will and thus its easy for him to participate in that business of surrender.


Sacrifice of an animal, 510 BC–500 BC.
3. Sacrifice is from Time Immemorial


Even in this world, whenever there is love, sacrifice becomes a natural response. For example parents will sacrifice themselves greatly because of their love for their children, a lover will sacrifice anything for the beloved.

Similarly in the realm of Divine Love, sacrifice is a natural response and not only that, even demanded. This is because God is the Divine Beloved whom the Hebrew Tradition introduces as Jealous God and in the Divine realm that jealousy is outwardly manifested in demanding proof of love through sacrifice, and sometime very intense ones.

Sacrifice remains as one of the highest symbol of surrender and love. From time immemorial people have sacrificed their lives and lives of other sentient beings as an offering to God. Example of Animal Sacrifice can be found in many many traditions, from very ancient times.

We are communicated that the sons of Adam were the first to offer sacrifice to God. 

And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other.  (5:27)

Every nation, every religious community or tradition that has sacrifice in one form or another. This is affirmed in Final Testament as:

And for all nation, all religion We have appointed a rite [of sacrifice] that they may mention the name of the Divine over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. For your god is one God, so to Him submit. And, give good tidings to the humble. (22:34)


This recurrence of sacrifice became intense in the life of Abraham who was Ulul-Azim, a greatly resolute being, an Intense Messenger of God.


4. The Often Misunderstood Story of Abraham's Sacrifice


Towards the mature part of his enlightened life, Prophet Abhram, may God's divine peace be upon his soul, he prayed to God for a righteous child. So God gave him a boy who is forbearing, and when he reached mature age, Prophet Abraham had a dream, a true vision that he is sacrificing his beloved and the dearest son.

Now dreams of enlightened souls are not like ordinary 'projection of mind' kind of dream, but they are like revelations, for the heart upon which this vision arrive is a purified heart, a truly polished mirror which reflect the descend of truth from the higher realms without distortion. What is remarkable in that story is Prophet Abraham's politely sharing of his dream to his son. And he shared that dream by saying:

"O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I am offering you as a sacrifice to God, so contemplate and look for Divine Signs and see what you think."(37:102)

This was great politeness of a father towards his son and this gifted son was equal match as well for his great Father. It was a sharing of Father's dream of son with the very son himself.

Abraham's son was an example of another surrendered soul and the moment He recognised the Divine Will conveyed in the vision, the moment he recognised the Master's Business (as said Christ in John 15:15), he said,

"O my father! do what you are commanded; if Elohim wills, you will find me as a patient being." (37:102)

This is  no ordinary story, thus a mind with ordinary consciousness will not grasp its true significance. But if we remember what Christ said about true friends and their characteristics, that greater love has no one than this: 'to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.' It is a love story, but not the kind that hollywood or bollywood wants us to understand as love. Now for people of the Heart, true visions are meant to be followed, to be fulfilled.

And when both surrendered soul surrendered to their heart's fulfilment, the Divine Voice spoke: "O Abraham! You have fulfilled the vision."

"Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial. And the Divine Authority ransomed him with a great sacrifice."

"And We perpetuated (praise and remembrance) to him among the later generations. Peace upon Abraham." (37: 105, 107, 108,109)

And Muslims continue and partake in that continuous remembrance of blessed Abrham and his son's willingness to Sacrifice as a living tradition in the Eid al Adha. This is the Festival of Sacrifice, of Surrender and of Love.

And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path,

That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the poor and needy. (22:27, 28)

This is the background of the Feast of Sacrifice that Muslims observe during the time of Hajj as integral part of Hajj or Pilgrimage as well as everywhere around the world in unison, intensifying the energy. This is keeping and respecting a Commandment of God, to sacrifice and keeping the Commandment is necessary for attaining eternal life.

A rich, young man also asks Jesus, "what good must I do to gain eternal life?" Jesus replies, "If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:16-17).

The tradition of Sacrifice of animal remains as a Sacred Ordinance, a Spiritual and Religious rite.

That [has been commanded], and whoever honors the sacred ordinances of Allah - it is best for him in the sight of his Lord.. So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and shun lying speech. (22:30)



5. Sacrifice Institutionalized as Commandment


After Abraham, during the time of Moses, the commandment to sacrifice was given twice. First was when they transgressed by forgetting the Oneness and Incomparableness of G-D and fell for worshiping the golden calf.

And when Moses said to his people: O my people! you have surely been unjust to yourselves by taking the calf (for worship), therefore turn to your Creator. So sacrifice yourselves, that is best for you with your Creator. So He turned to you, for surely He is Oft-returning, the Merciful.. And we raised you up after your death that you may give thanks. (2:54, 56)

Secondly God directly commanded them through Moses to sacrifice a cow against which they had great resistance. This tendency of resistance against sacrifice is something significant to observe. The trans-historic significance of this event also echoes in contemporary times.

And [recall] when Moses said to his people, "Indeed, Elohim commands you to slaughter a cow." They said, "Do you take us in ridicule?" He said, "I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant." (2:67)


The community of Moses, specially those whose heart had disease, those who didn't acquire purity - they resisted the idea of sacrifice, even though it was a direct revelation sent to Moses. This tendency was then, this tendency exists in every individual like us now, the tendency to resist any idea of sacrifice, any idea of accepting hardship for truth, to take the steep path for the cause of truth.

It is a great mercy of God that we are not called or commanded like past generations in terms of the demand for much intenser Sacrifice as a trial, as proof and testimony of our state of faith love and surrenderdness, for if were asked, we would surely fail that test of faith terribly because of the state of bankruptcy of our heart and soul.

And if We had decreed upon them, "Kill yourselves" or "Migrate from your homes," they would not have done it, except for a few of them. (4:66)

 

6. Resistance of the Mind



And if they argue with you (as regards the slaughtering of the sacrifices), say; "Allah knows best of what you do. (22:68)


And to share what we, humanity, collectively do, lets look at the statistics of animals slaughtered. In this age of unhealthy consumerism, we have completely gone overboard.

10,153 million (nearly 10.2 billion) land animals were raised and killed for food in the United States alone in 2010, according to data extrapolated from U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. The worldwide number is in the range of billions for human consumption. So we are killing animals for every other purpose including for food primarily, yet when it comes to sacredness and doing something that of holiness, we can see every kind of resistance from our minds. The animals sacrificed during Eid are great source and sometime only source of good quality nutrition for many poor people. And if the sacrificial animals and their meat could be best processed and preserved and shipped, it could solve world hunger and nutrition problem for a great portion of humanity every year.


Even sacrifice of animal if done properly, they can be occasion for youngs to practice compassion for lives, for sentient beings and lesson that may even teach and inspire to stop over consumption of meat because they will know for real what is behind that meat burger in the supersmall or McDonalds

Another important aspect of sacrifice is that our children may eat chicken burger or beef patties and many are growing up in the world without seeing a live chicken, without knowing the preciousness of life which is only realized when that sacrifice is witnessed. In fact if people were to observe the acts of sacrifice of animals, if people had to slaughter animal for the sake of consuming meat, (or at least were familiar with the process) many would actually consume much less meat than they usually do.

During Eid ul Adha Muslims and specially the young could witness firsthand the preciousness of life, in fact it is an opportunity to feel compassion and value for every sentient being. Even though sacrifice may look very crude to our ordinary state of mind, yet if we dive deeply, we could appreciate many advantages in the practice as well as witnessing the process. The millions of McDonald generations that grow up while consuming millions of animals and yet has no sense of what it means of an animal giving up its life to become food - are far worse than one who first hand witness the process of how a sentient being gives up its life for human beings. This even can teach and inspire them not to be a over consumer of meat and meat based product, for he, she can see for real the process itself.


7. Symbolic Expression for Greater Sacrifice of Our Lives


The sacrifice of animal is not simply the act of slaughtering of animals as we may like to think otherwise. Often our mind asks this question, what kind of God is He Who feel pleased at the slaughter and blood spilling of innocent and mute animals.

What we miss is that in the greater scheme of things, each life on earth is for God already, and all soul must return to the Source. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun - indeed We are Allah's and to Allah is the Final Return. Lest we forget, within the greater reality that everything in the world is created for Man, including every other sentient beings, every plant included and Man is created for God Himself. Man is the Secret of God and God is the Secret of Man. In this Secrethood, Man is called to Surrender to the Source from Which it comes, its existence manifests and it ultimately Returns to.

Sacrificing the outer animal which are permitted to be sacrificed, we are also reminded to sacrifice the lower self, the animalistic tendencies within us, the diseases of the heart which can be like animals, like the greed, pride, arrogance, tendency to tell lies, hypocrisy, ungratefulness, speaking ill of others, gossiping. That is the take away lesson from this Commandment and Practice.

In the language in which encoded are many layers of meaning we are reminded of the symbology how the Creator made the animals subservient and submissive to Man, where He has put many benefits in those animals and some of them are asked to be sacrificed.


The Divine has made the sacrificial animals among the Symbols appointed by Allah for you. They are of immense beneficial good to you. So when you sacrifice the animal eat from the meat and feed those who are poor and needy. In this Way We have made these (animals) submissive to you that you may render thanks.

It is neither their flesh nor their blood which matters to Allah, but it is the Divine Consciousness, Piety and Devotion to Duty on your part that matters to Him. Thus He has made them subservient to you that you may proclaim the greatness of Allah for His guiding you. And give glad tidings to the doer of good to others. (22:36, 37)

There is a parallel story unspoken in the Sign of the Quran where sacrifice of animal and its submissiveness is mentioned. That unspoken reality is the reality of Man and his need to sacrifice to attain greater achievements and the truth that sacrifice is a testimonial of surrender to the Divine. Finally we are reminded that what really matters, its not the flesh, nor blood but true intention, piety, purity and consciousness. And eventually on a very practical level, it is doing good to others must never be forgotten in the totality of this picture.


8. Your Sacrifice, You Participation


From Technology of the Heart, we are pleased to arrange Sacrifice on behalf of people around the world. So far we have received request for about 10 sacrifices which we hope to benefit for the most poor and needy in Bangladesh. If you're willing to donate, please read the previous post: Sharing Your Qurbani (Sacrifice of Animal) with the Poor and Needy and click on the [Donate] button to donate securely using Paypal. Else you may use the button below to donate your sacrificial donation to us to distribute among the poor and needy.

So when you sacrifice the animal eat from the meat and feed those who are poor and needy.
And give glad tidings to the doer of good to others. ~ Message of the Last Testament, Chapter 22

May Allah give us capacity to feed those who are poor and needy from our sacrifice and may Allah include us among those who are doer of good to others. Ameen




If you are to send via Western Union Money Transfer or MoneyGram International, you may pay Online and let me know the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) or  Reference No and amount sent. The Receiver Info will be:

Name: Sadiq M. Alam,
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh.


# Further:
* Surah al-Hajj - the Signs of Pilgrimage
* Surah as-Saffat - Signs of Those In Ranks
* Honoring the Faith of Prophet Abraham and Sacrifice to Feed the Poor and Needy 
* Root of the Arabic Word Zabiha, meaning Sacrifice is Zal, Ba Ha

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