Eid al Adha -Striving for Second Chances

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Middle East Topics: Eid Al-Adha, Festivals (Eid) Views: 7530

I learned one of the most valuable life lessons several years ago when I joined a Muslim American delegation heading for the holy land to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam, a ritual completed by millions this week. As I walked in the footsteps of Abraham and his family, completing the rites of Hajj, I came to understand a truth that those working to improve personal or global relations must remember: Failure is the building material of success, not its opposite.

Many describe Hajj, a four-day ritual requiring great endurance and discipline, as life changing and for me it was just that. The faithful leave behind the comforts of home and take a vow of peace, committing to avoid conflict and harm to any living thing, from argument to hurting a fly.

Pilgrims shed remnants of their old life, dressing in simple cloth stripped of symbols of status. In this humbled state, rich and poor, men and women, black and white and every other color, shuffle in crowds of millions from one rite to the next commemorating great acts of commitment to God.

Eid al Adha, the biggest holiday of the Muslim year celebrating Abraham's strength of faith and willingness to sacrifice, marks the completion of this memorial to monotheism. Seekers of God come carrying a lifetime of sins and leave hajj reborn--a second chance at a righteous life.

This profound concept of second chances was what I came to understand as I ran from Safa to Marwa, the two hills in the Meccan dessert. This essential requirement of Hajj retraces the footsteps of Hajjar as she sprinted seven times between the mounds, a distance about the length of a football field. Each time she would stand on one hill and believe she saw water at the opposite side, and then would run to it only to find a mirage.

I realized as I performed the "Sa'ay" or 'striving with determination' as this portion of the Hajj is called, that her experience was far more difficult than enduring six failed attempts.

These were six false hopes. These are the times we believe we've solved the problem, when we breath sighs of relief, and tell ourselves its finally time for some well-deserved rest - only to be let down. After discovering each false hope, she could have given up, cried, panicked, or at least slowed down in her next attempt. Yet, she did not. The seventh lap was as determined and as hopeful as the first.

It was only after this seventh attempt that water erupted from the dessert sand, the spring of Zam zam, the lifeblood of Mecca. God had chosen this mother to establish the holiest place on earth. Her perseverance was a demonstration of her merit. Her false starts were the necessary ingredients of, not the obstacles to, her eventual triumph.

This year at Eid Al Adha, a celebration of second chances and forgiveness, we must remember this lesson as we continue to witness new beginnings that seem promising but fade with time. Whether we are working on building better relations between struggling couples or global communities, our seventh attempt at finding the solution must be as earnest as our first. 

Dalia Mogahed is Senior Analyst and Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies

Source: Huffington Post

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Middle East
  Topics: Eid Al-Adha, Festivals (Eid)
Views: 7530

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Older Comments:
Beautiful article!

Wata awanu alal birri wattaqwa wala taawanu ala ithmi wal udwan.May Allah accept our brothers and sisters all over the world and we remind everyone of the effort being done to make the hujjaj happy. Therefore we need to cooperate and work together to see to the successful completion of the renovation undertaken by the Authorities which will benefit the Ummah. May Allah help the Ummah unite them and bring all of us under the umbrella of the Prophet and his companions who were the best example.

Alhamdu Lillahi as seen in the report more than 80,000 Muslims prayed together in the open in freezing cold in Moscow only to celebrate the Eid.Masha Allah this is a sign of Surah Nasr iza ja'a Nasrul Lah Wal Fath.May Allah continue to strengthen the Ummah all over the World.At least we can make dua for our brothers and sisters all over the World as Mr Putin has sent congratulatory message to the Muslims in Russia.We say Alhamdu Lillahi this is a good sign May Allah give the whole humanity hidayah.Eid Mubarak to all who visit this our Universal Islamic Website which helps to propagate the Deen and Allah accept the Hujjaj and those who make Qurbani and the entire Ummah and bless them in both Duniya and Akhira.At the same time we make du that we become the means for the guidance of the entire mankind.

Masha Allahu Sister Dalia May Allah accept your good intention that led you to reflect.We should all reflect that one day we would all go back to Allah.So Hajj unifies the mankind forgetting all our social status nation or locality.We are all one equal before God as no one is better than any body except those who have Taqwa.May Allah increase our Taqwa and make us live and die as Muslims followers of Rasulullah whom we are all proud of.