The glorious Quran praises the Prophet Ibrahim in many places: “who can abandon the religion of Ibrahim except the fool? We chose Ibrahim in this world and in the hereafter he shall be among the righteous. Remember when his Lord said to him “surrender!” And he said “I surrender to the Lord of the worlds.”
Ibrahim went through many trials throughout his life, sentenced to death by the Emperor Nimrod, banished from homeland, constant battles with disbelievers. The most common story about him is his willingness to sacrifice his only son, Ismaeil. The Quran vividly recalls this momentous story, in order to teach the philosophy of Islam, self-sacrifice, surrendering and submitting one’s ego to the mighty Lord. Just as Ismaeil had laid his neck under the knife and willingly submitted himself. Ibrahim’s life example stands out like a shining beacon in an age of widespread materialism, tyranny and oppression.
Eid; an opportunity for family get-together
Ours is an age when family relations are at an all- time low, particularly with the extended family, grandparents, uncles and aunties, cousins and nephews and nieces. We need to remember that the Quran repeatedly emphasises “give charity to your relatives”. The messenger may peace be upon him also taught “Allah will cut off him who breaks family ties, and will maintain those who maintain family ties”. And he also said, “the one who doesn’t maintain family ties will not enter paradise.” The most shocking aspect of breaking of family ties is the deteriorating relationships with parents. 90% of the Nottingham City Council’s annual budget £150 million is spent on care of the elderly and protecting children, perhaps a sign of how little children pay attention to their elderly parents. Perhaps they have forgotten what Allah has commanded “your Lord has decreed that you worship non-that Allah and be kind to your parents, if one or both of them reach old age. Then do not say anything to upset them, nor be harsh with them.” (Isra; 18) these broken relationships are manifested through decreasing contact, fewer visits and leaving parents to live by themselves in their old age. The Prophet may peace be upon him said “he is assigned to hell who does not serve his elderly parents.” The rising number of elderly Muslims in care homes is a sign of this tragedy.
The other very important duty to family is safeguarding the faith of our children and the next generation. Living in a godless, consumerist and materialistic society demands that we protect our own self and the faith of our children. The Quran tells us, “all believers, save yourselves and your family from hellfire” (At Tahrim; 6). This eid celebration demands that we take this responsibility seriously. Therefore, I urge you to educate your children in our nursery, our school and evening Quran school.
And finally, as members of the Ummah of Muhammad, a global fraternity, an international brotherhood of faith, we cannot forget the misery, the sufferings and the poverty of our brothers and sisters. We also condemn the extremism, the barbarity and evil of all those movements that are spreading violence and anarchy in Muslim countries. Sadly they have unwanted impact on our lives here in Britain, the evil of ISIS is also fuelling Islamophobia and giving ammunition to far right groups like the BNP. Even ordinary Britons are showing anti-Muslim sentiments because of the barbarity and lawlessness of these groups. This is a big worry and a concern that we need to address. Otherwise Muslims will be further alienated, marginalised. This will increase discrimination in job market and other fields and will fuel tension in the community.