Eid al-Adha 2016 Talk
Dr. Mateen A. Khan (Trenton, NJ)
We are all the children of Adam and His wife, Hawwa’ (`alayhuma al-salaam). Allah created an innate identity in them – a fitrah – that He created in us as well.
It is a natural state; it is how Allah designed us. Every creation has a design, a form that it should fit so it can fulfill its function completely. After Adam, every prophet was conformed to this design. In fact, each and every one of us was born according to this form. The Prophet ﷺ indicated our natural state, our fitrah, was only altered after-the-fact by our environment and our desires. Each of the prophets was an example of how we should be, an example of our potential. If you want to fulfill your purpose as a human being and reach the heights of what you were meant to be, then take the prophets as an example. Come back to your fitrah!
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا
So turn yourself toward the religion, inclining to truth. The fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people.
Among these prophets, is Ibrahim whose example we celebrate today. The polytheists of Makkah, Jews and Christians used to say they followed the ways of Ibrahim and his son, Ismail (`alayhuma al-salaam).
قُلْ صَدَقَ اللَّـهُ ۗ فَاتَّبِعُوا مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا
Say: ‘Whatever Allah has said is true. Follow, then, the way of Ibrahim in complete devotion to Allah.
Our Beautiful Form
You see my dear brothers and sisters, honored guests and elders. It’s not that Allah has created us one way and then expected us to be another way. He created us in the most beautiful form – internally and externally –
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
Indeed, We created mankind in the most beautiful form.
And then, He sent messengers to guide us back to this form, which we left due to the environment.
The Prophet Ibrahim was a superb personality. His intelligence, his ability to question the status quo, his humility, his relentless pursuit of the truth, his love for his family, his concern for all mankind, and most importantly, his unwavering submission to His Creator… all of this was his millah, his religion.
His millah includes actions like Hajj, facing the qiblah during prayer, fasting, charity, helping the weak, maintaining ties with family, slaughtering an animal (as those of means are all required to do today) and many other divinely sanctioned practices. Killing, stealing, fornication, interest and all divinely prohibited practices were all forbidden in his millah. And finally, above everything else, the most important aspect of Prophet Ibrahim’s millah is the belief that Allah is One.
By the time Ibrahim came along, there were only three Muslims in the world. All of mankind abandoned their fitrah and moved toward shirk and disobedience. Ibrahim brought the world back to its fitrah. From him arose every prophet and messenger. So today, the three main Abrahamic faiths all claim him as their forefather. He literally saved mankind from losing their humanity. For this, Allah gave him this immense respect and made him an imam– each year at the time of Hajj and Eid al-Adha we speak about him – and all those who truly follow him are made leaders.
After him, prophets and messengers came in succession, one after the other. They brought the same message and directed toward the same path, which is the millah of Ibrahim and our fitrah.
What makes humans special and what sets us apart from the rest of Creation is our intellect. The prophets were people who had complete intellect and knew how to use it. Allah taught them and gave them knowledge of what was most important. So how foolish is the one who leaves this and instead follows his forefathers in error or one’s own misdirection?
Hear the Call
Once you’ve emptied your heart of the distractions of the world and the misdirection of your desires, you will hear your heart calling toward this path. The Qur’an gives an example of a people who are in a boat in the vast emptiness and isolation of the ocean. Imagine a powerful wind begins to blow and waves upon waves crash down upon you from every direction. You and your boat are a mere speck of nothingness with no support, thrown about by the harsh wind. In that moment, you forget your family. You forget your wealth and possessions. You forget everything of this world. In that moment, all of your baggage is stripped away from you…What do you do? What would anyone do?
دَعَوُا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ
They beg Allah, sincere to Him in religion
This fitrah, which connects us with Adam, with every prophet and every true Believer, refers to the potential we all have within us. The potential to recognize the truth. The potential to recognize Allah as our Creator. The potential to accept the path of His Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ, and the path of all other prophets before him.
Our fitrah and the millah of Ibrahim e is Allah’s intent for us. He made us in a way that pleased Him. In other words, we were created to be inhabitants of Jannah!
However, the test lies in how we use our God-given intellect. If you use this intellect properly, identify your nature and stick with it for a few years, you return to Allah and are greeted with His Pleasure. If you use your intellect incorrectly, leave your nature and what it means to be human, then you return to Allah in a way that we were not meant to.
In summary, the fitrah that resides within you is the millah of Ibrahim and the millah of every other prophet. They were sent to show us this way, and some of them were given books to show us this way. It is also the deen and Sunnah of our Prophet ﷺ, the purpose of the Qur’an, and it is what it means to be Muslim. Being Muslim is to submit. When everything in this world was created to assist us in doing that, then everything was created for the purpose of submission. What an amazing order! What an amazing clarity to life and purpose! If only we truly grasped this.
Any other path would be leaving who we really are. It would be leaving what it means to be human- the fitrah of every person – and it would be leaving the Prophet’s ﷺ Sunnah.
So let this be a reminder to all of us. Anyone who has seen the innocence of a newborn recognizes we were created in a way of total submission to the divine. Strip away the baggage, and you will hear the call towards Allah. Come towards the millah of Ibrahim and every other prophet. Come towards the Sunnah of Muhammad ﷺ. Only then, will we realize our potential and purpose of our existence.
Today, is a day of celebration from Allah – not from your culture or your nation. So be happy and enjoy yourselves in a way that pleases Allah. But don’t forget those who are in hardship. They are our brothers and sisters – Muslim or not – who are suffering. While you eat today, remember their empty plates. While you dress in your best today, remember their tattered clothes. While you celebrate your freedom and peace today, remember their oppression and worries.
We ask Allah for His Help, His Peace and His Forgiveness. Ameen.