I have deep roots in America. Some of my father's forbears migrated to the Virginia Colony in 1609, and on my mother's side are ancestors who fought with Washington and Lincoln and a great grandfather who was a Pony Express rider. Until I was sixteen, I myself had had an upbringing generally regarded as typically American, Midwestern, middle class and Protestant. I grew up in Bay City, Michigan, belonged to the Episcopal Church, went to Sunday School and sang in the church choir.
At sixteen however, I discovered the Qur'an. These words (of the first chapter), simple, and direct, so impressed me that I immediately set out to memorize them. Indeed they drew me into Islam, an example perhaps of Prophet Muhammad's assertion that everyone is born a Muslim and made a Jew or a Christian by his parents.
From that time forward I charted my life on the direction of Mecca...
Before I had embarked on the Pilgrimage, its rituals seemed to me just so many curious exercises. But as I participated in the event of the Pilgrimage, the meaning of these rites unfolded, my understanding of Islam was deepened and I learned more fully what it meant to be a Muslim. Indeed, this is why God had commanded Muhammad to issue the call for the pilgrimage: 'That they (the pilgrims) may witness things that are of benefit to them...' (The Qur'an, 22:28)
(For example, towards the end of the Hajj when the time of making the Sacrifice came), I began to feel uneasy. Since I have not completely outgrown the tender-heartedness I had known as a child, I had balked at the idea of the Sacrifice long before being confronted with it and now the time had come to do it. What was I to do? As a girl I had cared for lost dogs or stray cats, adopting any fledgling that had fallen its nest, splinting a bird's broken leg with matchstick and feeding injured butterflies on sugar syrup. But a companion had been adamant. 'You must do the Sacrifice'.
Back at our building in Mina I turned to the Qur'an. I found that the Sacrifice has many meaning: it commemorates Abraham's offering of his son's life and God's rejection of this sacrifice in exchange for Abraham's submission to God's will; it marks the end of idolatry among Arabs; it is an offering of thanksgiving to the God of Creation Who has been so benevolent to mankind; and it teaches the well-to-do to share their blessings to 'eat thereof (the Sacrifice) and feed the beggar and the suppliant'. (Qur'an 22:36)
As I pondered what I had read, a great weight was lifted from my conscience. I suddenly saw that the Sacrifice upholds the sacredness of life, that it, in fact, constitutes a pledge by the pilgrim that he will slay for sustenance only. And where I had felt reluctance before, I know felt eagerness to fulfill all the requirements of my pilgrimage.
As printed in "Islam the natural way" by Abdul Wahid Hamid
Some forget that they are Gods creatures and we must treat them with respect and
kindness. Many of the animals are still conscious after having their throats slit and are
then skinned alive. I don't think God ordained animal suffering. Please treat the
animals with kindness - they do have feelings and are inflicted with great fear before
I am pleading that the sacrifical meat, be sent mostly to our Gazan Brothers and Sisters. I hope no political hindrance or bureaucracy will prevent this much needed assistance to be given to them. They need funds too. Are Muslim organisations not doing anything ? Can we simply sit down watching the Gazans, especially the old folks, women and pretty little children in pain and anguish ? Shame on us, if we do nothing, especially with all good life pleasures and lifelihood that ALLAH has given us.
They, the Gazans Muslims deserve it most.
Let us not forget the suffering faces in the almost forgetable place. It pains me to see them having to face this suffering. I'm also pleading to our Muslim Brothers world wide to donate immediately to our fellow Gazan Muslims who are now in dire straits, they are hungry and starving, in consequence of the Zionist blockade on Gaza. For a start, I wish to donate my one month perks. I'll look for an organisation that collect humanitarian funds in Malaysia.