Who is the Sacrifice?
Yesterday, Ebrahim Alayhis Salaam stood ready, with knife in hand, to sacrifice his only child to secure Allah's pleasure. Today, we sacrifice every command of Allah for the happiness of our kids.
Affluenza! Affluenza is a term that describes a mental illness that develops in a child by a parent's excessive molly coddling which translates into reckless behaviour and an inability to understand the consequences of one's actions. This very condition was used in the recent defence of a 16 year old American youth who while drunk and stealing his father's vehicle killed four people and injured twelve others in a horrific collision.
While the prosecution was pushing for a 20 year imprisonment, the defence mellowed the judgement down to ten years in a psychiatric facility. The defence argued that due to the pampered lifestyle afforded to him by his wealthy parents who gave him everything and never set any limits, the teenager never learned that he was responsible for his actions and that his actions have consequences. Hence, he was not fully responsible for his actions.
This type of mentality surely rings a bell when one considers many of the youth in our own community. Many are the parents who instead of parenting the child, dote on his/her every wish and encourage a lifestyle of indulgence. Flashy cell phones are given to kids still in primary school, expensive vehicles as soon as they can drive and plentiful cash to throw around. If the kids get into trouble, even if they are at fault, the parents throw their power and influence around so that he/she gets away scot-free, instead of using such opportunities to teach the kids responsibility. One wonders if these parents realise that they are sowing the seeds of destruction for those they love the most.
The following Hadith imparts a most powerful lesson, “Whoever seeks Allah's Pleasure at the expense of the people's displeasure, will win Allah's Pleasure and Allah will then cause the people to be pleased with him. And whoever seeks to please others at the expense of Allah's Displeasure, will draw the Displeasure of Allah and Allah will then cause the people to be displeased with him." (Ibn Hibban)
Is it then any surprise, that the very kids that were doted upon later become their parents’ greatest nightmares causing untold pain and grief? The time of Qurbani should be a moment of deep reflection in the upbringing of our kids. Yesterday, Ebrahim Alayhis Salaam stood ready, with knife in hand, to sacrifice his only child to secure Allah's pleasure. Today, we sacrifice every command of Allah for the happiness of our kids.
The Hadith teaches us, “No father has given his child a gift better than good character.”(Tirmizi)
Unfortunately for many, the idea of gifts have been restricted to objects of material value, yet the Hadith, time and again, informs us that real wealth is the wealth of the soul. Have we not witnessed, with our very eyes, people whose monetary value is in the millions but who are valueless as human beings? It is hard to imagine that loving parents would wish the same internal bankruptcy for their kids. Reality is sometimes stranger than fantasy.
This year when we put the knife on the animal's throat that we sacrifice to please Allah, reflect on the rest of your life. Are we sacrificing for Allah or are we sacrificing Allah for others?
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians
Council of Muslim Theologians