By Dur E Shahwar Hidayat.
Eid-ul-Adha means to celebrate the great sacrifice which is being celebrated in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, Dhul Hijjah. It is the month that contains one of the greatest pillars of Islam – Hajj along with the Islamic reoccurring festival. This Eid is celebrated in commemoration of the loyal act of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice His son Ismail for the good will of Allah Almighty. To commemorate this outstanding act by Prophet Ibrahim, people sacrifice a lamb, goat, bull or any other animal and give its meat to friends, neighbors, relatives and the needy.
The meaning behind the festival of sacrifice is Tauhid. The Eid is more than a celebration, it is a reminder. We are reminded of our own submission to the will of Allah. The real purpose of Muslims in sacrificing an animal is to pledge that we will dedicate ourselves to the peaceful divine mission just as the Prophet Ismail dedicated himself. This Eid tells us that Allah does not need human sacrifice, but trust and obedience as a basis for fellowship with Him. The symbolism is in the attitude – a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Giving up something big for the sake of God, having complete trust in Allah, knowing with certainty that Allah knows and wants what is best for us is often difficult, but it should not be.
Throughout the world Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Adha with great religious fervor and enthusiasm. After performing Eid prayer slaughtering (Qurbani) of animals take place which involves few rules to be followed. As Qurbani is Waajib for every Muslim male and Muslim female who has attained puberty, is of sound mind and is financially competent. Furthermore the animals for Qurbani in the Name of Almighty Allah shall be in prime condition of health and free from defects. Distributing meat among people is considered as an essential part of the festival during this period, as well as chanting Takbir out loud before the Eid prayer on the first day and after prayers throughout the three days of Eid. Muslims must distribute 1/3 portion of the animal’s meat among relatives, 1/3 among the needy and can keep 1/3 for themselves. In this way meat is accessible to every Muslim irrespective of class and race where feeling of unity, love and brotherhood spreads all over.
On Eid-ud-Adha God tests Muslims’ free will when they spend money in buying animal, sacrifice the animal in order to fulfill Allah’s command and then distribute that meat among relatives, neighbor and the poor ones. A true Muslim is one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us. 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. “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37). Allah needs not flesh and blood of animals but He examines our faith and willingness in order to fulfill His commands.
Writer is Peshawar based and a student of English literature.