This week’s photo challenge has for its theme – culture. Certainly it is something interesting, not only because it gives us the chance to see how other cultures may look like in photos, but also because it gives us the chance to go a little more creative by depicting how one snapshot may be able to tell us a story of its own – which to me is another interesting dimension of the challenge.
We are told that for this challenge, we go for that little something extra — that piece of the image that makes a viewer want to see more — to delve deeper into the culture we’re photographing.
For my entry, I had thought of posting something that is not only distinctly Muslim but also a religious activity that is an annual festivity in the Islamic world – the celebration of Eid-ul Adha which literally means “day of sacrifice”.
Indeed culture introduces us to the beauty of our differences as people.
The “Day of Sacrifice”, however, is not unique to the Muslim world. This religious event is common in Islam and Christianity. It was a festivity commemorating the day the prophet Abraham saw in his dream that he was commanded by God to offer his son Ismael as a sacrifice. By doing so he has to butcher Ismael just like when animals were offered as sacrifice to the One True God.
Abraham’s trust in Allah and willingness to submit to Him with the sacrifice of his dearest possession was a severe trial turned manifest example. If one sees the esoteric view of this series of events, it is readily evident that when Ibrahim was willing to fulfill Allah’s command of giving up his dear son, Allah did not really need or want his son as Ismail had been granted to him in old age (Holy Quran 11: 69-71), – it was a test. And Ismail, by readily agreeing to his father’s need to obey the command of Allah, relieved the burden Ibrahim must have felt. Both father and son submitted to the Will of Allah.
In reality, blood wasn’t shed, but life was made even more valuable with the knowledge of Allah’s pleasure in their willingness to comply.
This event in history gave birth to Eid-ul Adha – Festival of Sacrifice, where Muslims all over the world remember the tough sacrifice Hazrat Ibrahim had to make and was rewarded by Allah by sparing Ismail and making him an example for us to follow in our lives – when we choose to submit to His will, all ends well.
Trust and sacrifice. They are essential elements to get us through to the journey called LIFE.