Over the years, Eid ul Azha has become an occasion to show off—the bigger the sacrificial animal and the more elaborate and extravagant the sacrifice the better the Muslim—or so it is believed. It has become apparent that the understanding of religion and the spirit of sacrifice or giving to the less fortunate is superficial. The meat may satiate hunger for a while but does little for the betterment of the poor and while it is an Abrahamic tradition that should ideally be practiced on the festival, we must also look towards ensuring that if we have the resources, we contribute by providing more than just food to the hungry. How about keeping expenditures on the sacrificial process limited to a reasonable level and using that extra money on things that will change the life of the needy? How about contributing by funding a child’s education or helping a person in need set up a source of livelihood? Not only will such measures touch lives, they will provide peace of mind—we can sleep well at night knowing that we have contributed in some shape or form to help the less fortunate.
This Eid, let’s be more sensitive to the needs of the less affluent and try to help them in ways other than just feeding them. Let’s understand the root of their afflictions and try to provide solutions that will enable them to become productive members of society and lead happy and fulfilling lives. Religion has for too long been treated in a shallow manner. Let’s look for redemption by taking routes that aren’t travelled all that often. We might be surprised.