Eid-ul-Adha and obedience of Prophet Abraham

  • 1 year ago
  • 10762

The Muslim calendar holds two Eid festivals. The first, Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The second, known as the Eid al-Adha, commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim A.s to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Allah.

Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice), which is the tenth day of the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah. It comes after the completion of the Hajj, for when the Muslims complete their Hajj.

Time for offering the sacrifice begins after the Eid prayer on Eid al-Adha and ends when the sun sets on the thirteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. So there are four days of sacrifice: the day of Eid al-Adha and the three days after it. 

History of Eid ul-Adha

The history behind Eid-ul-Adha follows the story of the faithful Abraham a.s , who was instructed by Allah in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, a black stone, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which the Muslims face during their prayers (salat). Immediately responding to the Lord's call, Abraham a.s  set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael. 

"Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous." (Qur'an 16:120-121)

At that time, Mecca was a desolate and barren desert and Abraham had to face a lot of hardships. However, he supplicated Allah's commands uncomplaining. In a divine dream, he also saw himself sacrificing his son Ishmael for Allah's sake. When he told this to Ishmael, the latter immediately asked his father to carry out Lord's commands without faltering and assured that he was completely ready to give up his life for God. But miraculously enough, when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah spared the boy's life and replaced him with a lamb. And this is what Abraham ultimately sacrificed.

 

To commemorate this outstanding act of sacrifice by Prophet Abraham, people sacrifice a lamb, goat, camel or any other animal on Eid-ul-Adha and give the meat to friends, neighbors, relatives and the needy. People who are away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this traditional sacrifice. 

Hence Eid-ul-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Day of Sacrifice.

Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?

During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as camel, sheep or goat. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah's commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: "It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)

On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.

The day is a public holiday in Qatar, and the festival's Arabic title has connotations of a period of rejoicing that comes back time and again.

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