By Donny Syofyan
October 14 2013
More than two million Muslims from every corner of the globe will gather on Mount Arafat as they complete one of the five pillars of Islam, the Haj, this week.
It is a ritual that creates a bond between Muslims as they are temporarily stripped of their worldly possessions, wearing only the white cloth.
Meanwhile, other Muslims can still share in the event by sacrificing a goat or a cow and distribute the meat to the poor the following day, Eid ul Adha, or the Islamic Day of Sacrifice.
The Day of Sacrifice is a special time as Muslims show their concern for the less fortunate. Thousands of animals will be slaughtered throughout the country with the meat being distributed to those unable to afford meat on a daily basis.
Being a public holiday and an annual celebration, the festivities should be drawn into a more strategic interpretation in response to Indonesia’s latest problem — entrenched corruption.
Those knowledgeable about the spirit of Eid ul Adha see that their possessions, including power, are gifts from God, which humans are entitled to use for a while. Knowing that what one has is a mandate of the Lord, which a true Muslim would never misuse.
Stealing public funds contradicts God’s message that power must not be for self-interest but for public benefit.
Getting entangled in graft, therefore, runs counter to the laudable lesson behind Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his own beloved son, Ishmael, in the name of God.
Abraham gave up his most beloved possession and his individual interest for the sake of God’s command, while rotten politicians and state officials have sacrificed the public interest and enjoyed their personal luxuries by means of corruption.
The celebration of Eid ul Adha should be influential in curbing graft since it sets the scene for increased altruism. An altruistic attitude, marked by unselfish concern for the welfare of others, is the key to replacing corrupt mentality.
The distribution of meat from the sacrificed animals to family, friends and the needy is a clear sign of altruism.
The moral message of Eid ul Adha in prioritizing unselfishness can inspire all Muslims to reflect on the numerous problems that require us to make sacrifices to reach a common resolution.
Thus, more people surrendering their individual interests or urges for the greater good are needed, just as Abraham was ready to give up his own son. Yet many do the opposite. They instead sacrifice the best interests of the public to indulge in personal luxuries.
Combating graft should also be inspired by the moral message of Eid ul Adha in alleviating poverty. Muslims are encouraged to be philanthropists. But philanthropy and corruption cannot be merged in a Muslim personality. Stealing public money and providing donations at the same time, as many public officials found guilty of corruption have done, is hypocritical.
The essence of Eid ul Adha is to mingle transcendental significance (an act of submission to God’s will as in the story of Abraham) and social relations (distribution of the meat from the sacrificed animals to assist the less fortunate).
Therefore, anyone who steals public money to enrich themselves or others never catches the very essence of the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice.
To my brothers and sisters-in-faith, I wish you a blessed Eid ul Adha!
Donny Syofyan is a lecturer at the School of Cultural Sciences at Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra.
Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/10/14/Eid ul-adha-and-graft-eradication.html