Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | ePaper

Eid-ul-Azha : Kazi Nazrul Islam's poems

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Mohammad Jashim Uddin :
Eid-ul-Azha known also as Eid of  Qurbani or Udhiyah is on of the  two holiest celebrations in the Muslim world. Eid-ul-Fitr (Eid of Fitr) is the festival of breaking of the Fast, follow the holy month of Ramzan fasting observed by Muslims. Eid ul-Azha is the Eid of Sacrifice. It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son to show submission to Allah's command.
Though Eid means joy both Eids teach  us to sacrifice according to the instructions of the Holy Quran and the Hadith. The sacrifices enhance the bondages not only in the Muslims but also all the other people.  Moreover, Eids are celebrated to  reduce the class discrimination in society.
Qurbani must only be performed on the tenth, eleventh and twelfth days of Dhul-Hijjah sacrificing animals like goats, cows, sheep, bulls, buffalos, camels and so on. The health and condition of the animal is very important. Animals that are weak, blind, physically disabled, or those who are young, have broken horns or no teeth-- are ineligible. Every wealthy Muslim who has a certain amount of money  has to perform the Qurbani.
As Islam is the religion of brotherly  feeling  the animal is not completely consumed by the family. The flash of animal  is shared into three equal portions, in three parts; one for the family of the individual offering Qurbani, one for that individual's relatives and relations (whether wealthy or poor), and one for the poor and needy. The sharing is the best sacrifice to ensure justice and to bridge up the human relations reducing personal clash and egoism. In addition, the money of the skin of the animal sold can be distributed to the poor.
Another instruction of Islam comes from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). According to a Hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, "Whosoever offered a sacrifice before the 'Eid prayer, he or she just slaughtered an animal for meat, but whosoever made sacrifice after the 'Eid-ul-Azha prayer, he or she has offered a sacrifice." (Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Hadith no. 902). It is a question why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has said this. The answer lies in the process of sacrifices.  
Qurbani or  (sacrifice) is an act of worship (Ibadah). There are the five pillars in Islam.   Making a sacrifice during 'Eid-ul-Azha is not one of the five ordinances of divine worship. It is a part of Hajj, what is the importance of it for the common Muslims? Why should we spend huge money to sacrifice an animal, or why should we even share the flesh to the other?
Denny, a scholar, points out that the most 'basic' term for ritual in Islam is 'Ibadat, meaning worship or service toward the Lord. Denny clearly uses the term 'Ibadat to refer to the same activities noted by Rippin. Denny says that all of the official duties of Islam are subsumed under 'Ibadat, the five Pillars. Ibadat, Denny claims, constitutes the 'main' categories of Islamic ritual and 'lesser' activities are arranged under the five pillars in orderly fashion. Examples given by Denny for Islamic ritual under the 'lesser' category of the five pillars are such activities as 'Eid of Sacrifice (Eid-ul-Azha) which is inextricably rooted in Hajj the festival of fast-breaking (Eid-ul-Fitr) which serves to punctuate the ending of Ramadan fast, and the special Salat for earth-quake or eclipse which are 'variations' of the standard form.
It is also noted that ritual is not limited to the five pillars although the prominence of the grouping is obviously high. So, Qurbani has a strong significance as many lessons can be drawn from the history  of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), His desire to sacrifice the thing he loves most to his Lord, being the prominent one. We all love something or the other in our lives. This Eid-ul-Azha is an occasion to remind us that when Allah's command is placed before us, we should as Muslims sacrifice that which we love and obey the order of the Almighty Allah. Significantly, the animal sacrifice suggests us to find out the hidden bestial thoughts in mind and to clean the dart in mind so that we can live as true human beings.  
Kazi Nazrul Islam, National Poet of Bangladesh and mostly known as Rebel Poet, started his career as a folk-based Leto Poet. He became a matured humanitarian writer and a change-maker in British India. He believed  Islam as the way of Salvation in every facet.  At the same time, he urged people to follow Islam for their Slvation and Independence.
Nazrul knows "Islam is a religion of peace, Islam is a religion of men, and Islam is a modern religion of all times." He realized the true essence of the religion.
The cherished goal of Poet Nazrul was to entrench in the hearts of the devout Muslims through his writings the message and the results thereby that Islam is the genuine protector of truth and justice.
To glorify Allah, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and Islam, Nazrul has written a number of poems and songs. His 'Shat-el-Arab', 'Fateha-e- Doazdah  [Appearance], 'Fateha-e-Doazdah am [The Passing Away], 'The Martyr's Eid', 'God', 'Bless Us Oh Lord', 'Eid Mubarok', 'Allah is My Lord, I fear no One', "The Merchandise of Islam', 'As Ummah I am a Sinner', 'Make Islam Stronger, O Lord', 'Are You the Same Muslims', 'Tawhid is The Guide of My Muhommad's Name', 'Who Came to Makkah on Amina's Lap', O Muhmmad! Send Again From Heaven', Eid-ul-Fitr', 'Quarbani', etc.
Describing the significance of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha, Kazi Nazrul Islam wrote thirty five songs and some poems. Among these, three poems 'Qurbani', 'The Martyr's Eid' and 'There Smiles the Eid-ul-Azha Moon'  directly exposed the matter of Qurbani. Nazrul is especial for writing lyrics on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. In 'There Smiles the Eid-ul-Azha Moon', he announces why and when Eid-ul-Azha knocks at the door of Muslims. He says, "There smiles the Eid-ul-Azha moon,/ there comes again the second Eid./ Make your sacrifies in the name of God,/ come, comply with His wish."
For Qurbani a Muslim must have a clean mind. To remind it, in 'The Martyr's Eid', Nazrul says, "Make your offerings of God/ who is more dear to you than your most/ precious jewelry/ I want no false pearls,/ no cheap trickery." The same voice echoes in 'There Smiles the Eid-ul-Azha Moon, where he utters. "Kill the beast that lurks in your heart./ That is the way / to cross the bridge to heaven/ from earth."
Next he tells what is Qurbani and what Allah desires. He claims that Allah does not want the flesh of animal. According   the Divine. Commandments Nazrul said  "I want no cow, no lamb, no camel. / What, after all, do such gifts mean?/They are petty and false./ I want true Qurbani, / I do not want any hypocritical offerings./ What is needed to uphold Islam's prestige/ is your life and the life of your son./ Can you offer these?/ Is there anywhere a true Muslim?"
Some Muslims want to please Allah sacrificing animals with worldly motives  without following the inherent rules of Islam. Kazi Nazrul Islam calls them 'swindler', 'shameless' and 'deceiver'. Then he asks them, "Do you want to acquire virtue/ by offering  cows as bribes?
To assist others and to work for the welfare of human being is a noble  task of Islam. Self-centered activities are not allowed in Islam. According to the instruction of Islam, the flesh must be shared with the others and Qurbani means not to sacrifice animals only. Regarding this, Nazul says, "He is a cheat, a terrible hypocrite./  Islam says, Let us all be saved,/ Live and let live!/ Sacrifice for God your life and soul/ and all your riches,/ earn truly and honestly the blessing of Heaven!/ Heaven has no room for selfishness."
"Nazrul's works helped the growth of self-confidence and respect in the Bengali Muslim's mind, effecting at the same time a link of continuity with the processes of history. However, it must be emphasized that Nazrul was free from all kinds of fanaticism. He was, above all things, a liberal humanist, a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity and a shown enemy of fundamentalist thinking." Furthermore, Kazi Nazrul Islam was such a man who wrote, spoke, walked, dreamt, and sang  for inspiring the Indian people so that they could fight unitedly against the colonial power. For Muslims, he says it was a must if they want to perform Qurbani correctly.
We know in British India, in many places Muslims did not perform the Qurbani as they were not independent. So, in the same poem, Nazrul rebukes the Indian Muslims and says, "You have grown fat, ugly, and stupid./ Now, please, offer yourselves as sacrifice,/  only thus can Islam and you be saved./ Only through your sacrifice/ can Islam break the shackles of its bondage/ and rise up glorious and free." Nazrul, calls to sacrifice animals in true spinet and asks, "You fool, do you want to trick God/ with your false trappings?" Here Nazrul admires the actions of Hazrat Ibrahim  (AS)  and Ismail  (AS), and their unflinching loyalty and devotion to Allah (SWT). The history serves as a means of motivation, education and inspiration to the Muslims around the world today. Nazrul, hence, wants to encourage the Indian Muslims to sacrifice their most valuable lives, sons, wives and dearest thing for independence like Ibrahim  (AS) and Ismail  (AS).  He shows the way for the Muslims how to be close of the Almighty Allah and how to be independent. Even what a mother's role should be is also instructed very forcefully here. According to him, "Come, like Ibrahim sacrifice again/ what you hold dearest to your heart/ Let your sons be zabihullah/ let everything go overboard,/ only hold fast to truth./ Let all months be like mother Hajera of old!" Consequently, he says, "Only when are again free and independent,/ only when Islam will be once more free/ of all tyranny and oppression./ Let all the blood spilled at the time of Qurbani/ rise like a flame/ and burn all tyrants to cinders,/ leaving not the slightest trace!"
Above it is mentioned that Islam is very scientific and it instructs Muslims to share the flesh of Qurbani to their relatives and relations whether they are wealthy and poor so that among the relatives and relations all kinds of personal quarrel is banished. Kazi Nazrul Islam also highlights it in his lyric 'There Smiles the Eid-ul-Azha Moon'. He mentions, "Forget your sectarian quarrels today,/ welcome all as your dear guests./ Let kind words and sincere love/ be your most precious offerings to your guests."    
Finally it can be concluded that Kazi Nazrul Islam is  a poet who uses  the lessons of  eternal and universal Islam and  sermons the instructions as an ambassador.
Sources:
Kazi Nazrul Islam, 'Qurbani', Agnibina, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, 2001
There Smiles the Eid-ul-Adha', Trans by Kabir Chowdhury, Ed. By Mohammad Nurul Huda, Poetry of Kazi Nazrul Islam in English translation, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, March 2014
--- 'The Martyr's Eid', Trans by Kabir Chowdhury, Ed. By Rashid Haider, Selected Islamic Writings of Kazi Nazrul Islam, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, March 2014
Rashid Haider Ed., Selected Islamic Writings of Kazi Nazrul Islam, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, March 2014
Mohammad Nurul Huda Ed., Poetry of Kazi Nazrul Islam in English translation, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, February 2012
Sajed Kamal Trans and Ed, Kazi Nazrul Islam Selected Works, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, June 2000
F.M Denny, 'Islamic Ritual: Perspectives and Theories' in Martin, R.C., ed (1985), Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies, Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. 1985
A. Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, Vol.1, London: Rutledge. 1990
Sheik Mustapha Ibrahim  "Sacrifice: The spirit of Eid-Ul Adha", 22 September 2015
'Ibadat' in Encyclopedia of Islam, new edition
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