Mr. S.A. Ibrahim, a friend of ICCI and a man deeply committed to interreligious dialogue for the sake of peace, is a Muslim American businessman of Indian origin. The following are his Eid al-Adha greetings and thoughts and memories about this holiday, which he asked to be forwarded to other friends of ICCI. We join him in his wishes for a joyful holiday to all Muslims.
I would like to wish all my friends across all faiths and across the world, Eid Mubarak, and to those who were fortunate enough to perform Hajj this year, I wish Hajj Mubarak. May your Eid be filled with joy and become a time to be grateful for your blessings, and may you be able to celebrate with your family and friends.
Alas, this Eid finds me without my family, on my way to speak at an investor conference in New York, with my wife away on Hajj with her sister, completing the post-Arafah rituals in Mina and Makkah Mukarramah and my son busy with business in San Francisco, California. I am also a little sad because this is the first Eid after my mother passed away in Hyderabad, India three weeks ago.
I remember last year when my wife and I completed the Day of Standing in Arafat, stopped in Mudzalifah, went to Mina, and finished our first stoning at Jamarat. We then headed off to Masjid al-Haram in Makkah Shareef, early in the morning. We completed our tawaf al-ifadah and sa’ee just as the Eid prayers began in the masjid and we said our Eid prayers facing the Kaaba, which was only a few feet in front of us — an Eid we will undoubtedly cherish and treasure forever. Afterwards, we called my mother in India to wish her Eid Mubarak and she in turn wished us both Eid and Hajj Mubarak.
Being alone on Eid day made me reflective and I recalled the Eids of my childhood. A few days before the Eid, my father would go to one of the special markets and buy goats, one for each member of the family. The goats would then get delivered and when I returned home from school, I would find them in the backyard. I would give them straw and water and wonder if they realized that they had only a couple of days left to live. Then on Eid morning, the excitement would start right after the Fajr prayer as we got ready to go off to the nearby masjid for the Eid prayers. Upon returning, we would wait for the butcher and then one by one the goats would be slaughtered, honoring God’s command to the Patriarch Abraham and we would marvel at how Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and how God substituted a sheep at the last moment.
We called him: “O Abraham. You have believed the dream”. We thus reward the righteous. That was an exacting test indeed. We ransomed by substituting an animal. And we preserved his history for subsequent generations. Peace be upon Abraham. (Qu’ran: Surah al-Saffat 37:104-109)
Once the goats where slaughtered, we divided the meat into three parts, one for cooking in our house, the other for sharing with extended family members and friends, and the third for distribution to those less fortunate. Three weeks ago, I was in Hyderabad at the masjid near the home where I had grown up, and we said janazah prayers for my mother before taking her to our family burial plot and laying her to rest at my grandmother’s feet, thousands of miles away from my father who rests in Southern California.
In addition to thinking of my childhood, I began to reflect on the present. How I feel blessed to be an American, to have so many friends from so many faiths, as well as some who are spiritual and good without any faith. These friends along with my Muslim friends and relatives have enriched my life and have shown me that there are decent and caring people across the kaleidoscope of beliefs and cultures that make this small planet of ours so amazing and interesting. These friends see me for who I really am instead of the labels attached to me and they give me strength, courage, and hope. Hope for a world without walls where everybody can celebrate their differences and find the common good they share instead of ignorance, fear and hate.
Say: We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and in [the books] given to Moses, Jesus and the prophets from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we submit in Islam. (Qu’ran: Surah al-Imran 3:84)
And on that note, my friends, I again wish you and yours, Eid Mubarak and take the liberty of attaching Eid greetings from President Obama that I received by e-mail yesterday.
S.A. Ibrahim, November 16, 2010
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2010
Statement by the President on Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha
Michelle and I extend our greetings for a happy Eid-ul-Adha to Muslims worldwide and wish safe travels to those performing Hajj. This year, nearly three million pilgrims from more than 160 countries – including the United States – have gathered in Mecca and neighboring sites to perform the Hajj rituals and stand together in prayer. On Eid, Muslims around the world will commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, and distribute food to those less fortunate – a reminder of the shared values and the common roots of three of the world’s major religions. On behalf of the American people, we extend our best wishes during this Hajj season – Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour.