Eid al-Adha has come and passed, what have learnt?
“Those who go to Mecca for obligatory and voluntary pilgrimage (Hajj and Umrah) are the guests of Allah (swt), and His gift to them is Forgiveness.” Imam Ali (as)1
Every year as soon as the holy month of Dhul Hijjah approaches, a silent buzz begins to vibrate. As the first, second, and third of Dhul Hijjah passes, the buzz becomes a hum. The sixth of Dhul Hijjah arrives and the hustle begins of individuals trying to send money abroad so a goat or cow can be secured for Eid slaughter. Customers start packing up Eid bazaars in anticipation to snag the perfect outfit, fragrance, or home decor for their Eid parties. As ninth Dhul Hijjah approaches, a mesmerizing chant is vocalized by all – from pilgrims in Mecca, participants in mock hajj programs at their local mosques, to Youtube viewers watching bloggers, documentaries, news reporters, and live feeds.
The chant buzzes in the air with a hum on every believer’s lips-
Labaik Allahuma Labaik. Here I am at Your Service, O Lord, here I am.
As quickly as the month of Dhul Hijjah appeared, Eid al-Adha came and went. The festivities, feasts, friends- all the merries of life are complete. We settle into our routine lives of work, school, parents, and/or children. The oh-so-limited hours of Eid are spent in such a hustle and bustle, that it never dawns on one what the chant of Hajj truly means to us. Or rather, should mean to us all.
This declaration we repeat all day on 10th Zilhajj, simply narrates that we are present.
Where are we present? What is it to be truly in the presence of the Creator?
The Holy Quran states that the purpose of jinn and human creation is to worship Him2. Worshipping Him is by following His commandments, His rules, His religion of Islam, which itself is divided into three dimensions of jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (aqaid) and spirituality (akhlaq)3. Implementing the theories of these dimensions within one’s daily life restores and creates balance in and around oneself. It is within these dimensions that we must discover God’s presence and it is here that we must declare on a daily basis “Here I am at Your Service, O Lord, here I am.”.
The Labaik Allahuma Labaik from the tongue needs to send its frequency to the heart, mind, and soul and create a vibration strong enough so that its effect ripples to every limb, organ, and cell of our body causing movement and the need for action.
A famous quote from Imam Ali (a) reveals the linear connection of Islam being a religion that is based upon action. He states, “I am defining Islam as none has defined it before me: Islam is submission, submission is conviction, conviction is affirmation, affirmation is acknowledgment, acknowledgment is carrying out (of obligations) and carrying out obligations is action.”4 Thus, with the vibrations of zikr (recitation), one is submitting to the presence of Allah (swt).
Submission to the laws of Allah (swt) is one of the ways to be in presence. In my opinion, there are three levels and responsibilities of submission- individual, societal, and communal. For the individual, it is one’s personal journey to take one’s soul to that exalted height where the Creator’s presence is felt every moment.
Waking up in the morning and the first thought of saying Alhamdulillah, God has granted me another day on Earth, then stretching in bed thanking Him for having a healthy and able-body, shows being aware of His presence. Within the first five minutes of waking up, one can list over twelve occurrences to acknowledge the presence of God. The rush to prayers knowing that Allah (swt)’s Zoom meet is commencing.
In the framework of societal growth, personal responsibility as a duty to oneself becomes a reasonable discourse. Regardless of background or indoctrination, it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that their good character and behavior are reflective. Social interactions will mirror this way of thinking if each person accepts responsibility for the decisions they make. Since acts will be performed positively to produce personal good deeds when a person acknowledges that they are morally obligated and accountable for them. A society will advance and prosper if all of its members behave morally and within the parameters of their responsibilities and others rights5.
Islam has laid preliminary foundational bricks on ensuring that communities are supported and grow in a prosperous and healthy way. This is found within the branches of religion – amr bil ma’rouf and nahi anil munkir – to enjoin others to do good and forbid them to do bad. Once again, this is transpired through understanding and fulfilling the responsibilities to oneself which then ripples into the community. Al-Quran eloquently states that success is when there is a moral compass actively navigating and guiding for it states that when a nation “invite [others] to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful”.6
For every major and minor moral conduct, whether it be on a community-based level or that of oneself, all actions encircle around one concrete statement- Labaik Allahuma labaik, for having the presence of the Lord circumscribed around ones aura is just as equivalent of doing tawaf around the House of Allah (swt) during Hajj.
How do you walk your talk of Labaik Allahuma Labaik?
- Al-Khisal, pg. 630, no. 10
- Al-Quran, 51:56
- https://www.duas.org/pdfs/Nahjul-Balagha.pdf, saying 125, (p.854)
- Ekanem, S. A. (2014). Personal Responsibility and Social Development: Implication for Global Ethics. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. https://doi.org/10.5901/ajis.2014.v3n4p479
- Al-Quran, 3:104