Many Festivals, One World
It was back to work on Tuesday, fresh after a long weekend thanks to Eid – ul – Adha. It has been close to 4 months now that we have been working as Faiths Act Fellows and the time has flown by. Each day we still learn so much from each other - more about each other’s faith, life and inspiration for the work we do. That was one of the key goals of the Foundation to begin with and with each day we smile to ourselves at our own success.
During a late evening coffee break I asked my fellow Faiths Act Fellow Ayesha to tell me about her Eid and asked her what was special about it?
She shared some things close to her heart about Eid and told me why she was thankful for it:
“Every once in a while, there comes a day when you realize no matter what there's always reasons to smile; faith to believe, family and friends to love and above all, Someone Above to guide you through your darkest fears, Bless you in ways unexpected and who knows you way more than you do. Every day is a new occasion to be thankful for and Eid is a special reminder celebrating sacrifice, God’s mercy and gifts bestowed on us. Its thanking God for all that he has done for us.
"Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice instead. As a reward for this sacrifice, Allah then granted Abraham the good news of the birth of his second son, Isaac: “And We gave him the good news of Is-haaq, a prophet from among the righteous.” Quran 37:112
The story of the Prophet is an example of surrendering our most treasured possessions to God. Surrendering that which is closest to our heart in the name of God enables us to be thankful and be humble for all that we have. More than anything it shows us that all we are and all we own belongs to God. Personally I can also correlate this to a core aspect in the Hindu Tradition of Sewa, which is essentially selfless service. In giving we receive joy. We are blessed, cleansed and are free.
Abraham had shown that his love for God superseded all others: that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dearest to him in submission to God's command. This ultimate act of sacrifice is commemorated every year during Eid al-Adha.”
Listening to all of this and more it really drove home for me something I already knew: Festivals are a time of cheer, devotion and togetherness. Eid, I gathered was one of surrender and sacrifice. The celebration of Eid , in its purest form, is a chance for people to recognizing that they are part of something larger and that by helping others in need in the name of God they are making his creation better.
At the heart of every faith is the call to unite as one large family. Eid for me was an affirmation of universal oneness. And a reminder that two words said with kindness can make anyone smile: ‘Thank you’.