Monday, 8 December 2008

Eid: Hagar, Sacrifice and Family

Amanullah De Sondy – BBC Radio Scotland – Thought for the Day 08/12/08

Muslims throughout the world are celebrating Eid today which marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia where around 2.5 million Muslims have gathered to pray to God. There are many rituals associated with the Hajj pilgrimage. Muslims all wear the same white clothes to show equality amongst them. They also walk together around the Ka’ba, the black stone structure in the centre of the Mosque. Time is also spent at the mountain where the Prophet Muhammad preached his final sermon and stones are thrown by the pilgrims at a structure which signifies the devil.

However, the pilgrimage also includes a ritual that speaks to me about patience, sacrifice and the family. Every Muslim man and women run between two hills following in the footsteps of the pious Hagar. As her child Ishmael lay crying with thirst she began running in a frenzy to find water only to find it emerging from the ground where he was banging his feet. Even though the prophet Abraham had assured her of God’s protection she still felt, as a Mother, the need to run between these two hills. It has made me think about the way in which the family was the focus of God’s message of sacrifice and raises an important question about our relationship with our own family.

Sacrifice is not an easy task but it needn’t be impossible. We may not be faced with the same situation as Hagar today but we all have family members who require our sacrifice and patience. I for one will be spending my day with my parents and family but my moment of patience and sacrifice comes in the form of my thirteen nieces and nephews who will be running riot at home!

Special days of celebration are frequent in nearly all world faiths and most commonly involve the family. But what we must all consider is the meaning behind our moments of celebration and what we can learn from them to better ourselves, families and the society we live in.


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  2. Eid Mubarak, Aman. I'm enjoying reading your blog now that I have found it. Can't wait to read more...

    Amina Wadud has argued that Hajar's sacrifice, and Muslims' commemoration of it during the pilgrimage creates precedent for a matriarchal family paradigm in which a woman was responsible to be the provider. She calls it a Hajar-paradigm and I think it's truly inspirational, especially for single mothers who are the heads of their households. In the story Hajar needed as much faith in Allah that her child will be provided for as Ibrahim did in leaving his family in the desert.

  3. You must be a mind reader! I was thinking about Wadud as I wrote this thought. Women's spiritual existence and piety is something we men have a lot to learn from. May God guide us all to that appreciation!