BBC Radio Scotland - Thought for the Day – Dr. Amanullah De Sondy, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam
University College Cork, Republic of Ireland – Wednesday 22nd August 2018
The Islamic pilgrimage season of Hajj is coming to an end and Eid is being celebrated throughout the world. I celebrated Eid yesterday with family and friends here in Glasgow. I was talking with a friend about Eid being a festival of sacrifice on the way to lay some flowers at my Dad’s grave. Eid is a time when Abraham was instructed by God to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, only to have him replaced by a ram. It’s a difficult story to make sense of. It challenges our commitment to God, to family and our thoughts about sacrifices. Eid is then a time to reflect upon the Qur’anic statement that neither their meat nor blood reaches God but faithful piety, showing kindness and goodness to those less fortunate.
I was thinking about these tensions yesterday when it was revealed that the British businessman Richard Cousins, who died alongside his family in a plane crash whilst in Australia at New Year, had left £41 million to Oxfam with £2 million going equally to his two brothers. How do we balance our commitments and responsibilities in life? It made me think about the many sacrifices that my own Dad made as he crossed over from Pakistan to set up home in Scotland.
For many Muslims who can afford to, this is a time when animals are sacrificed all over the world. The meat is distributed to the poor but some of it is also kept at home. These religious acts strengthen the connection between us but recently Muslim organisations have been advocating for vegetarian and vegan options to Islamic sacrifice. Some Muslims are thinking differently about sacrifice and charity. I guess it differs from person to person but, for me, this time of Eid makes me think about the relationship between my faith, religious acts, and making the world a better place for us all.