Last month, Muslims all over the world celebrated the festival of sacrifice, known as Eid ul-Adha, to commemorate the devotion of Prophet Ibrahim to his Lord.
Two months, 10 days before that also, they celebrated the end of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is characterised by a month-long period of fasting and piety.
I want to, in the light of life and business, discuss some lessons we can take from them.
A principle of life is to accomplish the task each of us is given. Our lives will lose their meaning if we do not work on this important task.
However, as we live, we have challenges. The ideas we hold, the ideals on which we want to build our lives, our convictions, and our drives will be tested. Sometimes, we question the principles we know.
Muhammad Ali stated that “all through my life I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested. Every step of the way I believe God has been with me……..”
A lesson we take from the Eid Ul-ul-Adha is the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God's command.
That is a testament to letting go of something important in order to attain something pristine.
You will have to leave your comfort and trust in Him. We should not sacrifice only when we do not have an option.
There are two types of sacrifices; I believe. There is the sacrifice we undertake because we do not have an option. There is also the other we undertake because we choose to surrender.
In a world with so much distraction, let us choose subservience and sacrifice our ego and heart desires for the sake of God.
Another lesson we learn is the development of the capacity for true altruism, that makes us appreciate those above us and not forget those below us in life. And also we should work diligently to make our homes sanctuaries of tranquillity, prosperity and spirituality.
It is easy for us to look at those above us, as competition has become the order of the day. But what if you choose gratitude for what we are able to do for ourselves and what others are able to do for themselves?
To scale in your business, acknowledge your progress and growth, while striving to reach the highest potential, while offering support to smaller businesses, when you can.
Resources are unlimited and there is something for everyone.
Nourishing of minds
Another important lesson from these festivals is not to forget to nourish our minds. Our minds are the grasslands given to us to produce our needs.
Either we keep it fertile or sterile is up to us. Oliver Wendell Holmes states that “the mind once stretched with an idea never returns to its original dimension.” Let’s endeavour then to sharpen our intellect and brighten our corner.
Our country will be far better off when we have a nation of more enlightened men and women.
An enlightened citizenry is definitely an empowered citizenry. There is no better way to get enlightenment than burying your head in a book to read. Reading opens up the mind and creates room for imagination and critical thinking.
When readers apply what they read to public discourse, they sound mature and are able to bring different perspectives to a discussion.
There is no better way of enriching national discourse than the contribution from reading minds.
Love for one another
In the book, Healthy Muslim marriage, a scholar attempts to define love, stating that it cannot be defined but it can only be felt.
But true love is the love of God. A profound teaching of the Prophet of Islam dictates that to love God is to love His creation, for His sake only and not for any benefit that comes from them.
Let’s use these joyous festivals to scale through this hurly burly that the world finds itself in and make it better.