Life is a long marathon, an intense rush. It’s a constant effort to reach somewhere and to achieve something. We may end up achieving lots of things in life, but a portion of our hearts always remains incomplete. While galloping forward under the pressure of success, every now and then, we want to stop and focus on the things we overlook. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to remember the values that made us who we are, the very values we forgot in the hurly-burly of modern, post-modern and post-truth considerations. The very values we failed to pass on to the future generations.
This is how we feel on religious festival days. Times of wanting to stop and seek salvation in the rush of life. Sacrifice Fest is a 4-thousand-year-old tradition. We are once again in a week of Sacrifice Fest. Classical sources all three divine religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam agree that Prophet Abraham lived in 2000s B.C. Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son Ishmael to Allah to prove his loyalty. When Abraham’s loyalty was confirmed, the ram was sent to be sacrificed instead of his son, and this tradition went on for 4 thousand years. Thanks to those first animals sacrificed for Allah, their lives serve a higher purpose, principle and virtue, the holiest and oldest of traditions.
Sacrifice is sharing and helping each other. Sacrificed animals are shared with those in need and this is a global mass ritual. At other times, sacrifice is an expression of gratitude, which is also encouraged by religion.
At a time when hedonist, modern humans are chasing personal pleasures, when living for others or sharing proceeds with others is considered a tradition of the past, Sacrifice Fest looks like an ancient calling for good deeds.
Sacrifice is remembering. Sacrifice is not just the sharing of material gains, it’s also a sharing of feelings. It’s remembering Allah because the sacrifice is dedicated to Allah. It’s also remembering parents, relatives, loved ones, alive or dead. It’s about spending time with our precious loved ones we seem to forget in the heat of life. How about those who wait for a whole year to be remembered? Those waiting for a knock on their doors? Those seeking the children they raised to come back and kiss their hands? Can we measure the importance of the fest for those people?
Sacrifice is the act of being there for those without any support. Indeed, sharing and caring begins with the ones that are dear to and near us. But there’s no limit. The heart has no limits. It starts with visits to the elderly and goes as far as reaching out to those in need in other countries. Sacrifice is salvation and getting closer to piousness. In lexical meaning, sacrifice is an expression of getting closer, feelings of gratitude, a gift and taking a vow. Sacrifice is a vessel to come closer to Allah. The Qur’an says : “Neither the blood, nor the meat of the sacrifice reaches Allah. What reaches Allah is your piousness, your goodwill, sincerity, and your sense of responsibility. Thus Allah gave sacrifice animals to your service, so that you understand the greatness of Allah for showing you the right path. Praise those doing good”
Aren’t these the basic necessities of humanity in the East and the West? Acting with principles, values, virtue, sharing, having good will, being sincere, having a sense of responsibility? Sacrifice means so many things for those struggling with poverty in the East and for those who lost themselves in the prosperity and wealth of the West, isolated and lonely in a void.
Sacrifice is relinquishing and desertion. Beyond all these things, sacrifice is letting go of property and everything else, even life, when necessary. It’s getting closer to Allah but not literally. Every act that takes us to Allah is reconciliation and everything that takes us away from Allah is relinquishing and desertion. That’s relinquishing and desertion of justice, goodness, beauty, sharing, altruism, and benevolence.
Sacrifice is accounting, conscience and facility. It’s about not bringing a material, interest focused explanation to everything. It’s surrendering to a voice from the beyond, justice, conscience and possibility.
And Sacrifice is surrendering… What’s important for humans is overlapping legitimacy with halal and acceptable. Legal acts may not be legitimate, legitimate acts may not be halal, and halal acts may not be acceptable. We should seek legality in law, legitimacy in society, halal in Islam and acceptable in the heart or in conscience. However, we see quite the opposite in our daily lives. It’s usually difficult for us to surrender to justice, goodness, virtue, and wisdom. No matter how heavy, painful or unbearable it may be, if we can surrender to those without breaking apart, as the family of humanity, we can overcome every challenge we come across.
Our sacrifice animals have been surrender to an order for 4 thousand years, and I wish we could surrender to what’s right…
In his poem “Don’t hurt” Poet Abdur rahim Karakoç wonderfully explains how fragile we are in the face of all these beauties and justice. “Paths are long, paths are thin,
When love strikes paths get short
Lie down and surrender like Ishmael,
Don’t hurt the knife on your neck.”
I celebrate the Sacrifice Festival, wishing for all of you to be closer to principles, values and piousness. I hope you surrender to truth and live with the feeling of benevolence. Troubles get smaller when shared, and happiness grows when it’s shared with others. I wish the whole of humanity better times without pain and suffering, full of peace and happiness.
This article was penned by Prof. Dr. KudretBülbül, Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara YildirimBeyazit University.