I am pleased to be extending Eid greetings to all Guyanese, especially to my Muslim brothers and sisters. I pray that the lessons and traditions associated with Eid-ul-Adha will inspire an outpouring of support and love for our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
Eid-ul-Adha is a time to honour the example of faithfulness demonstrated by the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). His willingness to submit to total obedience to the will of God represents the true test of spiritual devotion.
Our country today is marking Eid-ul-Adha in extraordinary circumstances. We are still combatting the deadly and dangerous COVID-19 coronavirus. The pandemic has affected the way Muslims observe the Festival of Sacrifice not only in Guyana but across the globe. The inevitable restrictions on movement on travel have limited the number of those performing Hajj, and it has curtailed the traditional visits and social interactions associated with Eid.
I take this opportunity to urge all to continue to adhere to the guidelines and protocols advised by our Ministry of Health. The short-term sacrifices we are prepared to make for our long-term good will determine how fast and how well we exit this pandemic.
True devotion is what God Almighty requires from us. Eid-ul-Adha embodies the spirit of the devotion which we now recall and celebrate with Qurbani. Today, many of our countrymen and women are suffering from hardship due to the recent floods. Many have lost their means of livelihood, and others have suffered material losses. We ask God to grant relief to those who are affected and to bless those who are assisting them. May we too, stretch our hands to those in need at this time.
Qurbani is an expression of gratitude and a manifestation of our willingness to utilise the favours of God in obedience to Him and for the benefit of His creation. The animal that is sacrificed symbolises the animal in man himself – his evil desires, envy, jealousy, greed and hatred. It is these vices that are sacrificed for the love of God.
As we observe Eid-ul-Adha, let us remember that it is not the meat or the blood that reaches Almighty God but rather the sincerity of our intentions to obey Him as the Prophets Ibrahim did.
The everlasting reward of Paradise cannot be accomplished by the animal sacrifice alone. Sacrifice involves our entire life. The greatest charity is when someone sacrifices his or her comforts for the comfort of others.
The Prophet Ibrahim was not prepared to sacrifice his dignity, the principles of truth and morality for personal interests. He remained steadfast and patient.
Unfortunately, some have sacrificed their morals for material gains. Some sacrifice their honour and dignity because of lust for wealth and power, and some willingly sacrifice the collective interest to further their selfish desire.
The benefits accrued from these acts are short-lived and will not avail us on the Day of Judgment. Let us remove the barriers of love for those things which threaten our closeness with God and eternal happiness.
I pray that God Almighty accepts our good deeds and causes our sacrifice to be a means through which we will attain nearness to him, his creation and to succeed in both worlds.
I urge all Guyanese to take from the lessons of sacrifice and commitment and to apply it as I too take lessons from sacrifice and commitment, so all of us can work harder each day to be better towards each other; to be more caring towards each other; to give a bit more of ourselves to each other. And to work together until all of us enjoy the essential elements that binds us as humanity – love for country, community, and family.