PEACETALK: Here’s to our faiths

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 02 Sept) — Every Eid season, I always get asked about the dates and declaration of long weekends, but almost never about the meaning of Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha.

And every year, I post about these days hoping that people will eventually remember that the Eid is more than just a wish for a long weekend.

So today I write again about Eid’l Adha, AKA my favorite day on the Islamic calendar.

The story of sacrifice that is at the core of Eid’l Adha is one that is familiar not only to Muslims but to Christians as well. This is because both the Bible and the Quran tell us the story of a father’s sacrifice — Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, as Ibrahim is asked to sacrifice his son Ishmael.

These two stories are similar, but not quite.

What sets these two stories apart (aside from which son was sacrificed) is what each son knew of their father’s sacrifice. On their way up the mountain which God has shown Abraham, Isaac asked his father about the absence of offering.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:6)

This is a question that Ishmael never had to ask because he knew he was the sacrifice to be offered, an important detail that was revealed to him early on by his father.

“O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient,” (37:102) Ishmael said as he submitted himself to his father’s hand and the will of Allah.

Armed with nothing but faith, this willingness to knowingly sacrifice as one heeds an unbearable demand is what resonates with me deeply every year as my Muslim friends and colleagues celebrate Eid’l Adha. To always trust that faith will not fail the faithful and to always find comfort in sacrifice made out of one’s firm belief is not easy, and yet we must do continue to do both as we live our lives of struggle.

Know that today is a day of faith – if not in God, then in something that drives our existence – and how we must strive to act according to a faith that will not go untested by our shared struggles.

To my Muslim brothers and sisters, Eid Mubarak from your favorite Christian friend (lam niyo ‘yan).  Here’s to our faiths, and the many sacrifices we made and will continue to faithfully make, not against each other, but for each other. (Marrian Pio Roda Ching is a feminist from the Southern Tagalog Region who relocated to the Bangsamoro in 2012. She works as a writer, editor, and human rights advocate who strongly supports the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination)