Imagine that it’s your only brother getting married. Excitement is in the air and all are eagerly anticipating the marriage. The day of the waleemah arrives and you sit surrounded by your beloved family on this most joyous occasion. As the food arrives, however, your heart sinks and your face drops.

“Oh No!” you think in dismay. The caterers, as usual, have made the food literally ‘swim’ in oil. In fact, it seems that they were even more liberal with the oil than usual. The word ‘swimming’ didn’t do justice; the food was drowning in oil. After four months of intense dieting and strict discipline, you had finally begun shedding those extra kilos of puppy fat that had always haunted you. You did not want four months of effort to be spoilt by a weekend bingeing on biryani.

But then you think to yourself, “It’s not an everyday event, let me not be the one to ruin the happiness. My poor brother will feel hurt if I don’t eat anything,” and in honour of your brother, out of happiness for the occasion, you make sure you eat the food.

The days of qurbaani are days in which the normally meritorious deed of fasting actually becomes haraam. This is because they are the days in which Allah Ta‘ala extends an invitation to every single Believer. Allah Ta‘ala is the most generous of hosts and so serves his guests (us) only the best – the meat of the qurbaani animals.

When we are invited to somebody’s home, we ensure that we eat at least a little from every dish prepared so that the host feels that all the food was eaten and appreciated. On the occasion of the farewell hajj, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had no less than one hundred camels sacrificed for qurbaani. He wished to honour the invitation of Allah Ta‘ala and also gain the tremendous blessings contained in the meat of the animals – but how could he eat from a hundred camels?

Not wanting to be deprived of the blessings and showing his appreciation to Allah Ta‘ala, he ordered that a piece of meat of every one of the hundred camels be placed in a pot and cooked. He thereafter ate from and sipped the gravy in the pot. (Saheeh Muslim #2950) In this way, he secured in just a few morsels, the blessings of one hundred camels and also showed Allah Ta‘ala how eager he was to eat of the meal Allah Ta‘ala Himself had chosen for the occasion. (Sharhun Nawawi – Saheeh Muslim vol. 1, pg. 399)

Can we ever imagine attending the function of a prominent member of society and taking our own food along to the table? If he questions us, could we ever tell him that his food “has a smell” and so we prefer our own food? Absolutely never!

Allah Ta‘ala deserves more honour than any member of society. Let us eat at least some of the qurbaani meat and understand that it is what Allah Ta‘ala himself is feeding us on the Days of ‘Eid.

How sad it is when we ‘take our own food’ to the invitation of Allah Ta‘ala and don’t eat any of the qurbaani meat! Actions speak louder than words. What are our actions telling Allah Ta‘ala?