The Concept Of Eid Ul Azha In Urdu Poetry

Professor. DR Saadat SAEED

Urdu and Pakistan studies chair Ankara University Turkey




In the month of Zilhajj the intention for going to Makkah with a goal of seeing Ka'aba (Ziarat Ka'aba) and performing various duties attached to this practice is called hajj. The Muslim pilgrimages from various countries,  who have the means of performing this duty, gather every year in Makkah and perform hajj. They perform various functions of Hajj e.g. Tawaf, kissing of Hajr-e-Aswad, praying on  Mussala-e-Abrahim, drinking Zamzam, performing Sa'ae, kissing of Ka'aba veil, staying at Arafat and Manna and sacrifice.

Iqbal writes about Ka'aba

It is God's first house among the idol-temples of the world, we (Muslims) protect it, it protects us.

Ka'aba was constructed in the period of Hazrat Ibrahim Iqbal says “The A'zar's progeny constructed Ka'aba. He with the impact of his soul made this clay panacea alchemy (sovereign remedy)

Iqbal, rightly points out "hajj teaches true Muslims, the practice of natural living. It inspires them to leave and forget their countries. Iqbal further declares.

When they disregarded "Jihad" and "hajj" as religious duty, their fasting and praying became lifeless. Spiritless ness in fasting and praying made an individual unbalanced and a nation anarchic. No one can expect altruism from those people who forgot the kind message of Quran. the Muslim surrendered his self. O Khizr help him he has completely ruined himself.

The festival of Eid ul azha like, few other Muslim ceremonies such as Eid ul Fitr and Shab-e-Baarat is religious in nature.

In one of his celebrated books entitled Hindostan Kay Musalman Hukmarnoon Kay A'had Kay Tamaddani Jalway (The cultural efflorescence in the period of Muslim kings in India), Sayed Sabah-ud-Din Abdur Rehman writes: Muslims, in the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to celebrate only two festivals known as Eid -ul- Fitr and Eid - ul - Azha. After sometimes Shab-e-Baraat, too, got the status of a festival.

The tradition of writing poetry in Urdu about various festivals and celebrations in the forms of lyrics, songs, poems, Qasidas, Qata'at and Masnavis is very powerful. From Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutab Shah,the first Urdu poet having a poetic collection to his credit, to Majeed Amjad, the poet of modern age, several Urdu poets wrote poetry to express their views and passions relating to various cultural and religious ceremonies. We even with a bird eye view can trace in various phases of southern and northern Urdu poetry, a great many poems written about Eids (Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid ul Azha, Eid-e-Ghadir, Eid-e-Nauroz etc). During the periods of their domination over India, the kings, Sufis, Ulemas and common Muslim people used to celebrate Eid ceremonies as their religious duty. Expressing his views over the subject of Eid- ul -fitr Shah Wali ullah writes in his famous books “Hujatulah- al- Baligha" people do express their  happiness on Eid's day because they feel they successfully have passed through the hardships of the month of Ramazan. They feel relaxed because they think that after performing their religious duties in connection with the month of Ramazan ul Mubarik, they have achieved holy prosperities and religious virtues. They pray God who has given them another year to live. Besides the reward of its happiness God also has ordered Muslims to uphold the flag of their religious way of life and voice boldly the truth, of course about Islamic values. They turn to Allah for his help and kindness. God has also ordered them to gather to offer Eid prayer on a central place. These gatherings in various cities and countries show the glory and superiority of Islam. To show the strength and charisma of Islam at various places, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to take different paths for coming in and going out from, the Eidgaah. 

Muslims are famous for their cleanliness, tasteful decorations and gentle clothing’s. That is why well dressing and even playing with grand musical instruments is fully allowed on this occasion".

The same criterion with a slight difference is true for Eid-ul-Azha celebrations. On this occasion after performing Eid prayer people sacrifice animals in the name of God. This sacrifice reminds us the old religious incident. It is said that God asked Hazrat Abrahim to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail. When Hazrat Abrahim was near to sacrifice his son God terminated the practice of human sacrifice for ever and sent a goat for that purpose. We sacrifice animals on the occasion of Eid ul Azha to commemorate the sacrifice of Hazrat Abrahim and his religious practice.

 In his book the philosophical and religious Aspect of Urdu poetry Dr A.D.Nasim writes "The abundance and fondness of religious ceremonies and rituals in a nation indicate the deep affiliations of that nation with its religion. Ceremonies and rituals, in reality, are easy and effective sources of generating relationships and links among people and religions. To give significance to various ceremonious matters at that historical juncture in India, when every nation seemed to be fully alert about the protection, preservation and progression of its religion and culture, was a great necessity. That is the main reason of observing, with a great zeal and faith during the first half of the current century, the various religious observances such as Eid, Muharram, Ramazan, Dusehra, Dewali, Basant, Laialt al Qadr, Shab-e-Brat, Miraj, the birthdays of religious people, and other religious remembrances. A great many poems are written about Eid and Muharram. Iqbal, Zafar Ali Khan, Waqar Ambalivi, Aziz Lukhnawi, Khan Ahmed Hussain Khan, Ravish Siddiqi, Bekhud Delhvi, Khawaja Dil Muhammad, Mahir- al -Qadri, Azhar Amratsari, Asad Multani, Akhtar Sherani, Josh Milihabadi and many other poets wrote poems on national ad religious matters. During this period a new form of Urdu poetry known as Eidi was created. Research scholars can search Eidis in the poetic collections by many poets of that period. For example flip through the poetic collection by Abdullah Beg Hosh you will find besides his Ghazals few Eidis which Akhwand Ji used to give boys on Eid day. WE also find poems about Eids in the poetic collection of Shah A'alam, Nazir Akbar Abadi, Mirza Rafi Sauda, Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi,Aseer,Mirza Asadullah Ghalib, Kazim Ali Khan Jawan, Nawab Mirza Dagh, Hakim Maula Bakhsh Qalaq, Rind, Shaifta, and many other Urdu poets.


Rind says: Murderer, you don't care even if people become sad

You are celebrating Eid with a great satisfaction

Azurda writes

This is the Eid's day, If you are angry come and be friend

please don't refuse my desire, embrace me

Shaifta states

O saint don't you know today is Eid's day

you are prohibiting wine for us even today.

Mushafi says

What a strange ritual we have noticed that on the Eid's day

A man who slaughters, takes

sanctimonious reward instead of punishment

In one of his verses Jalal ud Din Aseer writes:

Murderer, believe it the day I will surrender my head to your moon-like

sword, will be my Eid's day

In his poem The slaughter house Majeed Amjad explores the matter of slaughtering in the vast metaphysical and philosophical perspective. He says :

In this slaughter house they cut everyday piles of meat

Piles of meat in this big platter of our earth.

Leaving aside these poetic ideas we conclude this article on a message, delivered by those Muslim poets of our age who have written many verses about Islamic way of life. They say

'Muslims should perform hajj as a religious mission, If they want to win the hearts of other peoples the spirit within their prays, fasts and Jehad should be dynamic, They have to make their religious and worldly way of life balanced. If Muslim nations want to compete the progress made by western countries, they must evolve proper Islamic political order in their countries. This order with all of its duties such as Kalima, Namaz, Roza, Zakawt, and hajj, teaches sacrifice and humanism. They should re-embrace the message given to them through their great book Quran. If a Muslim desires to re-gain his self he should learn lesson from Abrahim's passion of great sacrifice.