I woke up at ten o’clock this morning, feeling exhausted from the previous day. As I checked my email, I received a message from the organization I work with, informing me that my salary had been transferred to my account.
Upon reviewing my bank account, a surge of joy filled my heart as I realized that the children’s clothes, shoes, and household expenses had already been taken care of. However, a lingering concern weighed on me. Since my unmarried life, I had never missed following the tradition of Ibrahim (Sunnah Ibrahimi) during Eid-ul-Adha.
This year, due to financial constraints, it seemed that I might not be able to fulfill this important ritual. But Allah, the great Sustainer, works in mysterious ways. Just in time, the funds arrived, resolving this predicament and allowing me to faithfully observe the Sunnah Ibrahimi.
After having lunch, I decided to take my nephew with me and head to the animal market. Along the way, we hired a rickshaw, whose driver happened to be an elderly man. Due to the sweltering heat, he was perspiring profusely. Being a social worker, I always engage in conversations with people I come across, whether on the road or elsewhere. I believe it is the responsibility of every social worker to initiate such interactions. With respect, I addressed the elderly driver, asking, “Baba, where are you from?”
He replied, “I am from a village.”
Curious, I continued, “So you drive a rickshaw in the city every day?”
Baba replied, “No, I live in a rented house in the city.”
I inquired further, “Uncle, how many children do you have?”
Baba sighed, “My first wife passed away, and I was left childless. After 26 years, I remarried. Now, my second wife and I have three children. Two daughters are studying, and we have a two-year-old son.”
Moved by his story, I expressed my condolences, saying, “May God bless your first wife! It must be challenging for you to navigate life at this age without any support.”
Baba replied, “Yes, Earning enough for two meals a day is sufficient. The rest is in Allah’s hands.”
After this exchange, we fell silent. Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind, and I asked hesitantly, “Have you bought Eid clothes for the children?”
Baba replied, “No! Inflation is high, and it isn’t easy to make ends meet. Moreover, with school expenses, we cannot afford any additional costs.”
Listening to the old man’s struggles, my conscience couldn’t bear it. I made up my mind to contact my organization and do something for Baba. However, to my disappointment, when I reached out to my friends, they informed me that the funds had already been distributed. If I had contacted them a few days earlier, they could have helped. Anxiety started to creep into my heart, wondering what would happen now.
Initially, I had planned to fulfill the Sunnah of Ibrahim’s sacrifice with the money I had. However, my heart felt restless. Without a second thought, I said to the rickshaw driver, “Let’s go to the Sadar Bazaar!” and we proceeded there together.
Upon reaching Sadar Bazaar, I instructed him to wait for me, assuring him that it would only take an hour. I wandered through the market streets, spending about half an hour selecting clothes and shoes for Baba’s two daughters and the young child.
Baba had shared with me the distressing condition of his children, suffering from the harsh effects of the scorching heat. They had experienced heat rashes and even bouts of cholera on multiple occasions. Moved by their plight, I exclaimed, “Baba, I want to get a high-quality air cooler for them. Let’s go and purchase one.” And so, without hesitation, I acquired a suitable air cooler to provide relief for his children.
While I couldn’t fully comprehend my actions, I felt no regret or concern about how my money was being spent. I approached the rickshaw and settled in, while the rickshaw driver stood nearby. As he saw me, he climbed back into the rickshaw and asked, “Where are you heading now?”
I responded from the backseat, “Baba, where is your home?”
Surprised, he questioned, “Why, daughter?”
With a smile, I replied, “I bought some things for the kids. Let’s go to your house and give them to them.”
Even more astonished, Baba exclaimed, “What are you saying, daughter?”
I assured him, “Yes, it’s true. Let’s go home.”
Upon reaching the rickshaw driver’s house, I witnessed the humble conditions they lived in—a true reflection of someone in need. As I entered, the old man’s wife warmly welcomed me, and I had the chance to meet their children. We engaged in small talk, and each child received their share of shoes and clothes. The love and gratitude from their family filled the room. I turned to Baba and said, “After you drop me off at home, please get yourself that air cooler from the vendor.”
After spending some time there, I bid farewell and embarked on my journey back home. The rickshaw driver glanced at me with eyes full of gratitude as he dropped me off in front of my house.
Upon my arrival, my mother anxiously inquired about my day. She asked if I had purchased a sacrificial animal and contributed to the sacrifice. Sadly, I shook my head. Instead, I sat before my mother and narrated the entire story, tears streaming down her face. At that moment, I felt an indescribable sense of fulfillment, as if I had accomplished the greatest feat in the world. Deep inside, a voice resonated, affirming that I had fulfilled the duty of “Eid Qurban” and the spirit of “Sunnah Ibrahimi.”
Now, you may perceive these arguments as personal justifications for my own comfort, or you may truly understand that Qurbani and Sunnah take different forms in different situations. I find solace in believing that I have indeed performed my “Eid Qurban.”