Eid Al Adha: Commemorating the spirit of sacrifice

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Eid Al Adha: Commemorating the spirit of sacrifice
Distributing meat of sacrificial animal is a ritual during Eid.

Dubai - Eid Al Adha is the commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's complete submission to the will of God.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Mon 12 Sep 2016, 12:50 PM

Festivals come and go, but sadly most of the times we fail to even look into the direction of what and why are we really observing. Eid for many of us means vacations, shopping, fun, food and free parking.
So what is Eid Al Adha all about? To make the festival more meaningful, one needs to know the facts, the trials and tribulations, the pain and turmoil that Prophet Ibrahim went through to emerge triumphant. Eid Al Adha is the commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's complete submission to the will of God.
The celebration marks the willingness of Ibrahim to accept the command of God, who in order to test his obedience asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his dearest possession, his only son, Ismail. Such was the unconditional love, devotion and sincerity of Ibrahim towards God that upon hearing the command, he prepared to submit to God's will. When he was all set for the sacrifice, God revealed to him that his "sacrifice" had already been fulfilled. Ibrahim was surprised to see that Ismail was unharmed and instead, he found a slaughtered ram in front of him. Ibrahim had passed the test by demonstrating his willingness to carry out God's command. This is not merely about history, it's about the lessons we can take from it for our daily lives.
Time for self-reflection
Fast-forward to the present day. How obedient are we as Muslims, the very meaning of which is one who submits to Allah? Can we sacrifice our dearest possessions for the love of Allah? Are we obedient enough to call ourselves Muslims? At times during these very festivals we end up doing things that are completely forbidden by Islam. These could include acting conceited, showing off your wealth by overindulgence in food and clothes, backbiting....
Explaining the essence of these blessed days of Eid, Islamic teacher Sadaf Ather said: "We celebrate Eid twice a year, but we never think of the difference between the two Eids. We simply know that eating delicious foods and wearing new clothes are the only way of celebrations. That's why both celebrations feel similar. In fact, Eid ul Fitr is the way of showing gratitude to Allah, and Eid Al Adha is a time to show how much we sacrifice for Allah. Sacrifice means surrendering your possession to Allah. I feel we should think about those things that are most valuable in our lives. I am too possessive about my respect. If someone disgraces me, then can I forgive him? Our possession can be our belongings, habits or relationships. Are we ready to sacrifice them?
The unmatched level of submission of Ibrahim and Ismail was accepted by God and it pleased Him to such a supreme degree that Allah made it a tradition to be practised till the end of times. To commemorate the sacrifice, Muslims across the world slaughter an animal, such as a sheep or a goat and the day centres around Eid prayers, animal sacrifice, giving charity and meeting up family and friends. Muslims are encouraged to include the less fortunate in the celebration.
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.
"Eid is a day of happiness and rejoice. One should share as much happiness as possible. And the best ways to distribute happiness are by gathering with family, meeting people, embracing them whole hearted, visiting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts, giving charity, feeding the poor and above all, remembering Allah by doing Dhikr (rememberance of Allah)," Mohammed Al Hasan Khan, Imam of Port Saeed East Mosque.
saman@khaleejtimes.com


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