(function() { (function(){function c(a){this.t={};this.tick=function(a,c,b){var d=void 0!=b?b:(new Date).getTime();this.t[a]=[d,c];if(void 0==b)try{window.console.timeStamp("CSI/"+a)}catch(l){}};this.tick("start",null,a)}var a;if(window.performance)var e=(a=window.performance.timing)&&a.responseStart;var h=0=b&&(window.jstiming.srt=e-b)}if(a){var d=window.jstiming.load;0=b&&(d.tick("_wtsrt",void 0,b),d.tick("wtsrt_","_wtsrt", e),d.tick("tbsd_","wtsrt_"))}try{a=null,window.chrome&&window.chrome.csi&&(a=Math.floor(window.chrome.csi().pageT),d&&0=c&&window.jstiming.load.tick("aft")};var f=!1;function g(){f||(f=!0,window.jstiming.load.tick("firstScrollTime"))}window.addEventListener?window.addEventListener("scroll",g,!1):window.attachEvent("onscroll",g); })();

M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Charity of Sacrifice

The Charity of Sacrifice

(Speech given to members of the South Valley Islamic Community, Morgan Hill, California, on the occasion of the Eidul Adha, Sunday December 31, 2006 at Gavilan College, Gilroy, California.)

Praise be to Allah that we are able to gather on this crisp Sunday morning, the last day of the year, to celebrate Eidul Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, in peace and prosperity! We are fully aware that there are millions elsewhere who are not so blessed or fortunate.

We are able to enjoy our freedom, peace and prosperity today because those before us have made their sacrifices. When Prophet Muhammad (May peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him!) received his first revelation from Allah, he was fully aware of the awesome responsibilities and the sacrifices that he would have to make to fulfill Allah’s mission. We owe much to those early Muslims who sacrificed much and endured monumental tribulations to spread the message of Allah.

One central message of Islam is our equality in the eyes of God. This is symbolized by the pilgrims attired only in their white ashram performing one of the Hajj’s important rituals, kings beside commoners, the rich alongside the poor, and the ulama side by side the novice.

The Founding Fathers too gave much of themselves to rid America of the tyranny of colonialism, and thus ushered in our freedom. Later, leaders like Martin Luther King gave the ultimate sacrifice in bringing the reality of the hallowed assertion in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we get to enjoy these freedoms.

Our forefathers too gave much of themselves. It took more than just courage to uproot themselves from the warmth of their family, friends and familiar surroundings in search of a better future in a distant country. They had faith in themselves and in God that their sacrifices would have meaning and consequence. That sustained them in the ensuing uncertainties.

Those like me who were not born in this country but choose to live here share and understand this sentiment. It is a tribute to the greatness of this nation that it is welcoming of new immigrants. The only difference that my great grandchildren could rightly claim decades hence would be that their ancestors came to this great country in a Boeing 747 instead of a steamship or schooner.

Today on this Eidul Adha we celebrate with our fellow faithful in Mecca as they complete their Hajj pilgrimage. Praise be to Allah, that this year we have three members of our congregation, Brs. Amir, Sohair and Merchant, together with their families undertaking their Hajj. May Allah accept their pilgrimage and give them safe passage.

After this congregational prayer, we will reenact the ultimate sacrifice that was asked by Allah of Nabi Ibrahim. What made Nabi Ibrahim endure the searing emotion of having to sacrifice his only son was the supreme belief in Almighty Allah, in the justness of His command, and that there must be a greater meaning to the sacrifice. It was this faith that sustained him through his anguish.

Following this congregational prayer, we will ritualistically reenact that ultimate sacrifice offered by Nabi Ibrahim on the command of Allah by slaughtering an animal and sharing the meat with our friends, family, and the needy. This act of sacrifice is thus also an act of charity, a major pillar of faith, together with the more familiar ones of prayers, fasting, and the Hajj.

The physical aspect of the sacrifice is readily apparent and appreciated. Equally important are the sacrifices that we must charitably make in our spirit, deeds, and words. While it would be easy for us to make the sacrifices for and be charitable to those we like and agree with, the greater sacrifice would be to do the same thing to our adversaries and to those with whom we disagree.

A kind word to or deed upon those we do not like or our enemies requires a much greater sacrifice on our part precisely because it is so much more difficult to undertake. Yet those are the most charitable of deeds that we can perform. The benefits that would accrue not only upon us but also on the recipients of our generosity as well as on our community are immense. At the very least we could then reassure ourselves that we have done our part and salve our conscience; at best it may very well change minds and behaviors.

The effect on our community of such individual acts of charity and sacrifice is self-reinforcing and self-multiplying. The adage, good will begets more goodwill, rings true.

Just as the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today are the consequences of the sacrifices of those before us, so too we must contribute our share of sacrifices so those following us would also get to enjoy theirs.

Today we have our Eid prayers in a rented hall. Insha’ Allah, we look forward to one day of having not only our own masjid but also a facility to educate our young and house our elders. Our community has embarked on the ambitious Cordoba Project on a 16-acre parcel in San Martin. We envisage a community center in the fullest sense, a place for learning, for our congregational prayers, to take care of our elders, and a center of our community’s activities.

Our goals are lofty and the challenges are great. They demand much of us: much work and even greater sacrifices. Let us all do our part. I wish you Eid Mubarak and Happy New Year!


Post a Comment

<< Home