Make this Dhul Hijjah more personal

You can Make this Dhul Hijjah more personal

Qurbani isn’t like how it used to be when we were young.’ Depending on what side of the generation divide you’re on, you’ve doubtless heard or spoken these words a hundred times. Long gone are the days of ‘hands on’ Qurbani where we once kept our sacrificial animals in the garden for the big day; witnessed (to humbling effect) the sacrifice first hand, even if we didn’t perform it personally; and then distributed the meat ourselves (following a meat fry-up with the family for Eid lunch!) Now, we’re all grateful just to be able to see family and friends during Eid (providing we don’t get a third lockdown, inshallah.) And what about Hajj? With travel restrictions still in place, most of us won’t be able to perform Hajj again this year. Cut off from fully taking part in these practices, how do we connect personally with the spirit of Dhul Hijjah?

Gift yourself the power of Meditation

Meditation [in the signs and favours of Allah] for an hour is better [in value] than worship for a year.” (Hadith: Ibn Hibban on the authority of Abu Hurairah.)

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) continually invites us to meditate, but in today’s fast-paced world full of distractions, how often do we give ourselves the mind-space to do so?

Tafakkur –which translates as meditation or contemplation, is powerful and transporting. It has the power to galvanize our worship and rekindle our faith and sincerity. It has the power to raise our morale by reminding us of our purpose and priorities.

‘How many a sign there is in the heavens and the earth that they pass by while they are disregardful of it.’ (The Holy Qur’an 12:105)

So yes, we live in unprecedented times, where social isolation and manifold restrictions have cut us off from the religious traditions we once enjoyed. But for Muslims, the glass is ALWAYS half full. For Muslims, isolation and restrictions offer the perfect opportunity to go back to the basics and the beginning. And at the beginning we will find that the rituals we practice as a community today, are based on acts of faith performed not by communities, but by individuals. Individuals who were faced with impossible choices, alone, and often in moments of crisis.

Meditate on the Message of Hajj and Qurbani

Then he will not neglect us.’ These are the words Hajar (as) spoke when she understood that Allah (swt) had commanded Prophet Ibrahim (as) to leave her and her baby, Ismail (as), in the desert wilderness. The story of Hajj begins with this lone woman and her immovable faith, as the hadith highlights:

 “Hajar drank from the water [Zamzam] and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the site on which the House of Allah will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah will never neglect His people.’” (Hadith: Al-Bukhari)

Years later, Allah (swt) tested the family of Hajar again. Faced with the command to sacrifice his beloved son, Prophet Ibrahim (as) took Ismail (as) to mount Arafat to perform the unimaginable deed. As for Ismail (as), still just a boy, he went willingly with his father to the slaughter. Allah (swt) rewarded them with a ram to sacrifice in place of Ismail (as). He then commanded them to build the Kaba and invite the believers to Hajj. At the time, there was none to heed the call and perform the Hajj except Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as). But for centuries after, future generations flocked to the house of Allah (swt) to perform this religious duty, as they still do.

One woman. One man. One boy. Each facing their own crisis alone, with only Allah (swt) to rely on. Our Islamic traditions are full of the stories of people and Prophets Allah (swt) has favoured for their faith and devotion. What personal lessons will we learn when meditating on their stories?

‘And we ransomed him with a great sacrifice. And we left for him [favourable mention] among later generations. Peace be upon Ibraham.’ (The Holy Qur’an 37:107)

Make your Sacrifices Personal

‘There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days’ [of Dhul Hijjah]. (Sunan Ibn Majah)

We’re entering the best 10 days of the year, more blessed even than the last 10 days of Ramadan. In the run up to Eid, now is the time to reconnect with the spirit of Hajj and Qurbani on a more personal level. Why not start by sacrificing your usual distractions (goodbye Instagram and your current, favourite TV series) and dedicate your free-time to contemplation and worship. Set aside your screens to cultivate your heart and mind through reading. Gather the kids together to learn and meditate as a family. The Holy Qur’an, hadith and Prophet’s stories are full of examples waiting to inspire our personal sacrifices. To help get your started on your journey, here are some Dhul-Hijjah resources:

Found this helpful? Share it with your friends to spread the wisdom! We pray that Allah (swt) bestows on you and your family a blessed Dhul Hijjah. May He inspire your meditations, and accept your Qurbani this Eid ul-Adha.

If you haven’t placed your order yet for Qurbani, book online or call +44 (0)1274 424 444 today.

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