Thursday, January 20, 2005


Eid-ul-Adha ("Celebration of Sacrifice'), also known as the Eid-ul-Zuha, is one of the two most important festivals (Eid) in the Muslim calendar. It marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca). It takes place on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

Eid-ul-Adha is the celebration of sacrifice, and it is important for two reasons:

First, during Eid-ul-Adha we remember the spirit of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (peace be upon him) andhow he was willing to sacrifice his loving son, because it was Allah's (SWT) command. Eid-ul-Adha iscelebrate to commemorate the occasion when Allah conveyed to Ibrahim through a dream that he has to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, Allah intervened and instead, Allah provided a lamb as the sacrifice.
When Allah asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his own son Isma'il, Ibrahim didn't even once think "why" or didn't say "no" and it was because of his pure faith and belief in Allah. His faith was rewarded when his son's life was spared by Allah at the very last minute. Just as the knife was coming down, there was a lamb in the place of Isma'il and that's what Ibrahim actually sacrificed.

Second, Eid-ul-Adha ends the period of Hajj (the 5th pillar of Islam). Every year, about 3 million people go to Mecca and perform the pilgrimage together. Everyone is dressed the same, nobody is better than anybody else. For muslims, seeing the Kabah is like a homecoming - the place on earth where they can be closest to Allah. This is the spot they face everyday at home when they do their prayers. They forget about everything else in the world except what they are doing at that moment. Even the people who do not perform the Hajj that year think about what it symbolizes and celebrate that.

Celebrating Eid-ul-Adha with family and friends strengthens the emotional bonding. In the morning, muslims go for a short congregational prayer and then they celebrate. Muslims who can afford, sacrifice animals (like goats or lambs) on this occasion in the memory of prophet Ibrahim. When this is done, 1/3 of the meat goes to the needy people, 1/3 is given to neighbors, relatives and friends, and 1/3 stays with one's family. This way, the needy and poor can really enjoy the festival, too.

In the end, I would like to quote a sher from the legendary poet, Sir Mohammad Iqbal.

Ye faizan-e-nazar tha ya ke maktab ki karamat thi
sikhaya kisne Ismail ko adab-e-farzandi

This couplet talks about the obedience of Isma'il, son of Ibrahim (PBUT) with which he wholeheartedly got ready to be sacrificed for Allah. Which son in this creation could be more obedient than Isma'il (PBUH).

With this, I wish you all a very Happy Eid.



At January 25, 2005 12:37 AM, Blogger Kashif said...

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