Refugee solidarity and the spirit of Eid al-Adha - YASIN AKTAY

Refugee solidarity and the spirit of Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha (The Feat of the Sacrifice) is in fact a pilgrimage celebration. Eid al-Adha, the sacrifice, in addition to all the acts of worship involved in the pilgrimage, represents so many aspects such as getting closer to God through worship, and moving away from evils while getting closer to the Creator. Through the choices one makes during the pilgrimage journey, every moment, every scene, every act of worship which represents a different test, worshippers get closer to God, to His guides, goodness, mercy, vastness, embracing, brotherhood, compassion, while they move away from His enemies, from evils, bigotry, racism, and narrow-mindedness. Or they may fail the test and, as a result, head towards the opposite direction of that which is intended. 


Every supplication, every sacrifice requires moving away from certain other things. We are tested every day, every moment. What do we choose, what is our sacrifice towards? 


This year due to Covid-19 we are even more able to experience and understand the sacrifice aspect of Eid al-Adha rather than the pilgrimage one. 


We learn through every opportunity and know that whatever happened when Prophet Adam’s two children were first tested with sacrifice, almost the same events are experienced in every sacrifice case since that time. Sacrifice continues to exist in human history solely as a form of worship. However, the sentiments, the discussions, the uneasiness, and the temptations accompanying every sacrifice as an act of worship, are staged once more every year upon Eid al-Adha. 


Those who have no knowledge of the sacrifice, who do not recognize it, and who completely refuse to experience it aside. Nothing is requested from them other than to keep complete distance from this act of worship. However, they often have an attitude towards it, and thus, they play the part they are meant to play in some part of this test. They continue to act as the devil’s advocate through their uneasiness and temptation operations. 


Each time we witness a superb variety of people between those will desire to get through the sacrifice test at the least cost, with their least valued property – like Cane – and those who try to duly fulfill this duty – like Able. 


We witnessed years ago those who tried to make chicken and rooster sacrifices valid. Those who whispered the temptation to donate money equal to the value of the animal instead of sacrificing it never ceased to exist on this stage. They did the same this year as well. A colleague, İsmail Kılıçarslan, wrote about the subject yesterday. He mentioned that someone who was so against to the idea of the sacrifice called on Muslims to “donate their money to SMA patients, and therefore they would be helping humans live rather than killing animals.” God forbid, if anyone were to answer this call, would they be moving away from making a sacrifice? Or would they be getting closer to the servant instead of God, the Creator, and sacrificing for them? 


The story about Prophet Abraham and his son Prophet Ismael is, without doubt, a very unique story in the history of the sacrifice, and in a sense, it is this story that determines the history and format of Eid al-Adha. It is possible to decipher and understand humanity’s existence on earth simply by looking at that story. 


This anecdote about Prophet Abraham also includes the secrets to who will understand whom and to what extent or not. It also shows why those who are unable to sacrifice what they love for the love of God are inclined to all sorts of temptations. Additionally, it shows us that the sacrifice is a choice made with freewill, and that while this choice brings one closer to one destination, it inevitably requires moving away from another. 


If there is a choice, there will always be the devil and his temptation as well. At every station, at every stage of the journey, there will always be those who claim that the path and the choice are wrong. Sometimes very convincing, philosophical, humanitarian or opportunist arguments are made to sow doubts that the choice that was made was wrong. 


Those who embrace the path of the sacrifice as the way of life persevere that the choice they made is worthy of numerous other preferences they did not make. The sacrifice is an act that involves simultaneously discarding other choices when making one preference. In this respect, it sheds light on the existential aspect that shapes and builds individuals. 


Prophet Abraham lived in this region. He stood up against Nimrod in this region; while his own father was an idol-maker, he destroyed the idols he made. As a result, he was thrown into the fire. It was witnessed on these soils during that event that unless the fire receives the command to burn from God Almighty, it has no effect itself, and thus provided coolness to Prophet Abraham. 


Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice test also took place in this region. Of course, this does not prevent his test and the meaning underlying what he experienced during it from being universal. Yet, there is no doubt that the relationship between what we have been experiencing in this region for years and the sacrifice event and test seems much more active. 


The varying opinions regarding the approach we need to adopt towards refugees who have recently been forced to take shelter in Turkey to save their lives alone show how even such a simple matter can turn into a tough trial. 


There are those in this country who cannot tolerate the opportunities provided to these refugees. Worse still, there are those provoking others against the opportunities provided to them, and these others are politicians who need to take responsibility. These intolerant people use the ignorant excuse that these refugees are taking away our livelihood. Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is preaching this ignorance to others, making them embrace this opinion without any hesitation or remorse. Let us not forget that ignorance is a skill that is learned, taught, and can be transferred to others. 


For example, you can indoctrinate and teach ignorance by asking the following questions: How much longer are we going to host them? Should we pay attention or not to who the refugees are, from whom they fled? Refugees are in need, but what about their destroying our whole life order, begging on the streets, preventing “our own people” from getting employed because they provide cheap labor? 


The list of questions can go on. 


Let us not answer these questions without a moment’s contemplation over the meaning of Eid al-Adha. Let us do this so we can truly comprehend the meaning of Eid al-Adha in the most appropriate manner. 


Let us thus celebrate Eid al-Adha. Let us get closer to the truth and move away from falsity. Let us move away from the wrongdoers, regardless of whom they are, and move closer to the oppressed, regardless of whom they are. 


Have a blessed eid. 


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