FOR this week, I want to discuss a different aspect of the Bangsamoro. Eid Al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, is commemorated on August 11 to 12 this year and is one of the feasts that Muslims all over the world share. As one of our commonalities, it is important for us to look at the essence – to dig deeper – regarding our faith and traditions.
The story is something that all Abrahamic religions share – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and can find common ground in. The Prophet Ibrahim was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his only son to him. He did so willingly, only for Allah to spare his son at the last minute. His obedience and willingness to give up what mattered to him most, in the name of God, is the ultimate test of faith.
When I performed the hajj in 2004, there is a ceremony that one performs that references this sacrifice. There are symbolic pillars near Mecca where you throw stones at, in commemoration of how Prophet Ibrahim threw stones at the Devil as he tried to dissuade him from his sacrifice.
Here in the Philippines, we commemorate this day by attending a sermon or khutbah at the local mosques, and then the entire congregation will perform salah together. Afterwards, there will be the ritual slaughter of a cow or goat, which is then divided amongst family and those who are less fortunate.
As human as we are, it would be very difficult for us to think of sacrifice in those terms. In the present day, the idea of sacrifice can sometimes only mean what is “acceptable” for us to give up, like a certain kind of food or to limit one’s self from social media. There is fasting or sawm for Muslims, during the month of Ramadan, where there is also sacrifice involved.
But when it comes to our day-to-day lives, have we also reflected on what it is we are willing to give up for the good of all?
As we go through life, there will be times when we must decide between what is easy and what is necessary. Regarding the Bangsamoro, we cannot talk about sacrifice without recalling the mujahideen who have given their lives for the right to self-determination. It is because of these brave men and women that we now have the Barmm, and the possibility of our children and grandchildren growing up in safe, happy, and thriving environments.
It is up to us, those who have been given the Barmm, to honor their sacrifice. The mandate of moral governance that the Interim Chief Minister has challenged us with has to be made a reality. We must look at conciliatory measures such as the Document on Human Fraternity that was signed earlier this year by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azahr as a way to reach a common good.
It is only when we see how our actions affect others that we begin to make these hard decisions. No matter how big or small, we must all make sacrifices in order to achieve things that are worthwhile.