This Eid al-Adha comes at a very troubling time for Afghanistan. War has continued and intensified across the country, leaving a trail of deaths, injuries, displacement and damage on all sides. Equally worrying is the widespread uncertainty and fear about what is coming next. At AAN, we sincerely hope this Eid will help to usher in not just a short-lived respite from the war but also renewed efforts to engage seriously in urgently needed meaningful peace talks and for such talks to conclude in good faith. We share today excerpts from the wisdom of Rumi and Saadi to remind those in positions of influence what it means to look to the plight of the distressed and powerless.Tilework at the shrine of the eleventh-century Sufi saint Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, Herat.
Photo: Said Reza Kazemi, 2021.
Again, many Afghans will have little to celebrate this Eid al-Adha. Pilgrimages are still not allowed from outside Saudi Arabia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Far too many families are mourning the deaths or treating the injuries of their loved ones. Those recently displaced will be struggling to find a roof over their heads. Livestock numbers are significantly diminished and many farmers have suffered the loss of their harvests as the country grapples with a severe drought. Those who have lost their livelihoods, their jobs and their savings to the war will be facing economic desperation. Uncertainty about the future and what may be coming next is spreading across the country.
Against this terrifying backdrop of the country seeming to unravel, we sincerely hope that this year’s Eid al-Adha provides not only a brief cessation of the conflict, but also a renewed momentum for meaningful peace negotiations between the government and the Taleban. It is our deeply held wish at AAN that this Feast of the Sacrifice gives a time for reflection that real pilgrimage is, as Rumi says, about shedding one’s arrogance and winning hearts, particularly of those in distress. The Eid is also an occasion for us to remember, in the words of Saadi, that nothing will remain of each of us, particularly those in power, except the good we do, especially to those with far less power.
طواف کعبه دل کن اگر دلی داری
دلست کعبه معنی تو گل چه پنداری
طواف کعبه صورت حقت بدان فرمود
که تا به واسطه آن دلی به دست آری
هزار بار پیاده طواف کعبه کنی
قبول حق نشود گر دلی بیازاری
کمر به خدمت دلها ببند چاکروار
که برگشاید در تو طریق اسراری
گرت سعادت و اقبال گشت مطلوبت
شوی تو طالب دلها و کبر بگذاری
Circle the Kaaba of the heart if you possess a heart
The heart is the true Kaaba, the other is just a stone
God enjoined the ritual of circling the formal Kaaba
As a way for you to find a heart
But if your feet walk around the Kaaba a thousand times
And yet you injure a heart, do you expect to be accepted?
Tie the belt of service and become a servant of hearts
And the way to the Mystery may open up within you
If you yearn for holy felicity
Shed your arrogance and become a seeker of hearts
بس نامور به زیر زمین دفن کردهاند
کز هستیش به روی زمین بر، نشان نماند
خیری کن ای فلان و غنیمت شمار عمر
زان پیشتر که بانگ برآید فلان نماند
Beneath this earth lie men of fame whose days
Existing on this earth have left no trace.
Live well, do good — whoever you are — before
The cry goes out that you are no more.
خدا را بر آن بنده بخشایش است
که خلق از وجودش در آسایش است
کسی نیک بیند بهر دو سرای
که نفع رساند بخلق خدای
That servant from God will forgiveness obtain,
Through the presence of whom people happy remain.
The good of both worlds the kind person enjoys
Who in bettering people, his moments employs.
This article was last updated on 20 Jul 2021