Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eid Mubarak!!!!

The thrill and excitement of preparing for Eid is gone, and the days seem to be flying by too quickly racing towards the end of vacation.

For Muslims all over the world, Eid is a day to celebrate. It’s a day to dress up, fill our stomachs with the delight of specialty foods and sweets and to connect with family and friends. This particular Eid marks the end of Hajj (once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca) which every able Muslim must perform once in their lifetime. The Hajj is a live re-enactment of the story of the Abraham (peace be upon him)

Here in Salalah, I had my share of Halwa, exchanged pleasantries with  neighbors, caught up on the latest with friends, thanked all the strangers who so excitedly gave my kids 100 besas (by evening their pockets were stuffed) and I even watched the men slaughter (from the car, very disturbing, not recommended).  Now that everything has settled I find myself in deep thought  reflection. I must admit, I kept myself very busy preparing, cooking, cleaning, etc to welcome the blessed day, and I did not find a moment to sit and reflect on what and why we were celebrating. And although this holiday comes every year, a reminder of its purpose is always needed, because with it comes a new found understanding, as it did for me this year.

As our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in regards to Eid, “They are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of God.” Yet, for so many of us we tend to forget the last and most important purpose of Eid, “remembrance of God”.

So what are we celebrating?  Eid Al-Adha commemorates the story of Abraham (peace be upon him) and his son Ismail (peace be upon him) which is also mentioned in the Book of Genesis; when father and son, unified in love for each other, were bound even more deeply in their obedience to their Lord. In a dream, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. When he woke up, he went to his son, confided in him and told him of his dream. His son, an incredibly faithful child, told his father to carry out his dream. And so Abraham (peace be upon him) firm in his own faith, takes the advise of his son. He lifts the knife, (and in some traditions passes it on Ishmails neck) yet the knife does not cut. The Angel Gabriel comes down to him and tells him instead to sacrifice an animal and that he was indeed a true servant of God.

On Eid Al Adha, all Muslims sacrifice an animal in commemoration of Abraham (peace be upon him) and his inspiring test of faith.
On this day, able Muslims slaughter an animal, whose meat is eaten, and distributed to family, friends and the poor, and go very early in the day to perform the Eid prayer.  Muslims are encouraged to wear their best clothes, give gifts (especially to children) and celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors. It is especially recommended to give in charity remembering the plight of the poor and being thankful for what you have.

So now I'm left to think, unattended in my own head (dangerous). What does Eid Al Adha mean to me? Moreover, what sacrifices do I make in order to fortify, replenish and renew my covenant? I have much to be thankful for, innumerable undeserved blessings and shortcommings to great to sort. I have been seriously looking at the relationship between father (parent) and son(child) in the story of Abraham (peace be upon him). How much faith did he have considering he was willing to sacrifice the most beloved blessing given to him? What kind of relationship did parent and child have, that the parent sought the childs advice? Even more astonishing, the response by a child, Ishmail (pbuh) who advises his father to carry out the dream or commandment. I'm still pondering over Eid Al-Adha, might need more coffee to motivate clarity.  In the meantime...

To the few of you who have now crossed paths with me...what kind of relationship do you have with your parents? Do you trust them the way Ismail (pbuh) trusted his father? What sacrifices do you find yourself making in hopes of strengthening your relationship with your Creator? Help me think...


  1. To tell truth i dont trust anybody in my familes but good moslem should trust in there parent . when ismeal told his father to carry out gods plan he trust in his fathers love and he knew that god will not harm him. thank you for ur post in this matter. i am now thinking about my parents

  2. Hello, just came across your blog, very entertaining. I have generally seen that Muslim children have a respectful relationship with their parents rooted in culture. However, this relationship commonly lacks a sort of friendship. In Salalah children respect their parents and fear them as well. My students have shared many stories of their fragile relationships.

  3. SSclone, I know many Dhofaris who have great relationships with their parents, not because they fear them.

  4. Eid Mubarak Rania
    Thank you for this great post.
    My relationship with my parents is built on respect according to our culture here in Dhofar and I geuss in all arabia. When I was under 15, there was a kind of fear from doing mistakes because of the reaction expected by my parents and I am sure it is part of our community culture(mistakes/punishment).. Now I am older enough and I realised that it was a way of "shaping" children(not agree with that now).
    For sure I trust them, but not the way Ismail trusted his father.
    The sacrifices to strengthening my relationship with my creator? I don't know right now how far I'll sacrifice. I geuss it is only by following the rules that keep me in touch with him, obeying him,... loving people, wishing peace for everyone..etc.
    Thank you again for this post

  5. Mahfeef, Eid Mubarak to you too.
    So how did your parents punish you? Hitting? taking away priviledges? not talking to you?

    In Dhofar are boys favored over girls? Or the other way around?

    I'm still contemplating what more I must sacrifice for our Creator :)

  6. I don't remember any physical punishment(no hitting), it was kind of shouting (voice full of menace) but I was expecting hitting because, I always see that happen to my neighbours(boys mostly).
    Boys are always favoured over girls in dhofar no dought of that(tribal community).

  7. Rania: You are asking very personal question in faith which NO one can answer for you. You said: “I'm still contemplating what more I must sacrifice for our Creator :)”

    You can follow the culture since you married the Omani by scarifying the missed luxury you left behind because you wanted to follow your desires which is your rights, but my personal opinion to any woman with any color or differences to be a good wife first and if you become a mother YOU should scarify any obstacle comes in your way to raise these children with dignity as they didn’t ask to come to this world to be treated in any wrong form. So, I think to raise your children with love and understanding is the best scarify a person can do. Read the Prophet for Khalil Gibran the chapter about children.

    Try not to bring the past culture as worldwide parenting today is changing and all religions ask of us to treat our children, family members with kindness, so if a stupid parents didn’t know better or thought to follow their own way of bringing what I call it ignorant, and they need to learn a lot about marriage first.

    You as a mother have no right or seeing your husband punishing the kids while you are watching as being accessories in such. It is very deep subject in every culture and what happens behind door unfortunately very sad to hear or see.

    I was over blessed with my bringing up, even if my parents would have been terrible I will never blame them for that time living from war to another. This is why as I’m sworn educator to teach not preach I will even stop in the mall any parents if I see them treating their kids wrong or not using the car seat with safety belt.

    I was walking once (in Oman) noticing a young lady going for her exam sitting shaking with fear, I stopped and asked her if she doesn’t mind talking with her. I asked her why she looked too fearful. Then I asked her if she is willing to tell the truth about: Have you been beaten by any teacher as I heard many stories about this mostly from Egyptian ones. She said many times. I told her well, today you are an adult and no one has such right to do this, even if you fail you can repeat the test BUT go in with pride and no more guilt because that teacher in the past was the guilty person.I’m glad again that no teacher ever did such to us at my young age especially my mother was one and no one could even title us with any word.

    So, Rania, why don’t you take the good of the culture or change it into better. You might need to work on your spirituality rather scarifying then your observation will change. Don’t forget this Internet wasn’t on Ismail time. What is going on with you should always be within you and the creator as we can’t perform God work except to ourselves according to your question.

    Good Muslim is about every day celebration the minute you wake up as saying: Thank you God I woke up in one piece, secondly you can scarify daily starting with your immediate family, then neighbor, relative lastly stranger by giving a meal, sharing a thought, moving even a brick in the way to reduce accident, cheering a miserable person, the list never end as Long as you don’t step on others, gossip, create trouble instead reduce it. Another personal thinking of mine, I’m not going to wait for Eid Al-Adha or Christmas to please God. I want to celebrate every day as I don’t know if I will drop dead this moment. Even you get hurt a lot along the way BUT trust me you sleep better than million saving more advils

  8. Dear NS, thank you for your comments/advice. I think you are right when you say every day should be a celebration of us thanking God we are alive and well. For me, there is much to sacrifice in order to strengthen my relationship with God, your advice is welcome. Thanks for stopping by :)

  9. Mahfeef:
    So boys are favored huh. Figures! :)~

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