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Local Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

A young Muslim boy looks up from among adults offering prayers to mark Eid al-Adha in Kolkata, India, yesterday. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, by sacrificing animals to commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son (Photograph by Bikas Das via AP)

This week, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha to commemorate the sacrifice of Ibraham and his son Ishmael (peace be on both of them).

This celebration takes place every year on the tenth day of Dhul Hijah, the final month of the Islamic calendar. Therefore, on Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world gather for a special sermon and prayer service, and to offer animal sacrifices, in remembrance of the exemplary obedience of these beloved Prophets of God.

The pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the haj, also takes place in the last ten days of the month of Dhul Hijah.

Following the footsteps of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), pilgrims undertake a number of rituals including the donning of white plain clothes, animal sacrifices and the circumambulation of the Kaaba.

The circuit of the Kaaba, known as Tawaaf, is an incredible sight to behold as pilgrims from over the world, young and old and of all ethnicities, move around the Kaaba in unison.

It is, undoubtedly, the greatest display of equality, unity, peace and brotherhood in the Islamic world. For this short while, all sectarian differences and grudges are laid aside and pilgrims from different sects complete this act of devotion to God Almighty with great love and humbleness.

Every act of worship in Islam carries a deep significance and the Tawaaf hints at the unity which should permeate the Islamic world, despite theological differences.

However, today, the world is witnessing a brutal massacre, where Muslims who all profess to follow the one who was sent as a mercy for mankind, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), shamelessly plunder, torture and murder their innocent Muslim brothers and sisters. Even children are not spared.

This state of affairs is evident in too many Muslim countries but more so in Syria. The heartbreaking migration of refugees from Syria, the body of the toddler, Aylan Kurdi, floating face down in the sea, and the many distressing stories of the refugees have shaken the world.

Many countries such as Germany, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon opened their borders and warmly welcomed the influx of refugees, testifying to their humanity and commitment to compassion.

Nevertheless, a global coherent response to this crisis which includes all UN member states is yet to materialise. A global response is the only fair means of dealing with this crisis.

That said, it is also now crucial that Islamic governments and Muslims return to the true teachings of Islam and unite instead of allowing themselves to be torn apart for worldly gains.

The situation demands that Islamic countries, especially the wealthier states, unite and implement a workable plan for welcoming and resettling refugees. More importantly, it is imperative that they determinedly try to resolve the conflict in Syria.

This daunting conflict can only be solved by relying on the Islamic teachings. The foundation of the Islamic teachings on peace is absolute justice.

The Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has repeatedly advised that there is only one solution for the establishment of peace.

In an address to an Australian audience in 2013, His Holiness said: “Where decisions are made according to true principles of equity and where the rights of all people are fulfilled only peace and harmony will be found and this golden principle given by the Holy Koran is not only for Muslims, but in fact it is a universal truth that in order to establish peace, justice must prevail.”

The words of His Holiness echo the numerous teachings on justice and peace in the Holy Koran: “And when you speak, observe justice, even if the concerned person be a relative.” (6:153)

“O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and being witnesses for the sake of Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do.” (4:136)

“O ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice.” (5:9)

There is still hope for Muslim countries. Peace is still possible. The means of achieving this stability and peace lies solely in the teachings of the Holy Koran.

In the spirit of Eid and International Peace Day celebrations this past week, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Bermuda is offering free copies of the book ‘World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace’, which is a compilation of the various speeches of His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

• E-mail alislam.bermuda@ gmail.com for a copy.

Note: This column was submitted before this week’s tragedy in Mecca