Eid ul Adha – The Sacrifice Feast


 

Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid-ul-Adha annually which is also called as a sacrifice feast. The date of this festival depends on sighting of the moon. Eid-ul-Adha also marks the end of annual pilgrimage of Hajj.

Eid-ul-Azha dawns with the Eid prayers followed by the sacrifice of animals, visits with family and friends, exchange of greetings and gifts and meat feasts.

Eid-ul-Azha has a particular significance for the pilgrims performing Hajj. Each of the Manasik (prescribed acts) is a step in the pilgrim’s arduous journey towards one’s spiritual cleansing. When the pilgrim successfully performs all these acts with humility, sincerity and honesty all his/her prior sins are forgiven by Allah Almighty. The final ritual that pilgrims must perform, signifying the completion of all manasik, is the sacrifice of an animal.

In addition to denoting the completion of Hajj, Eid-ul-Adha honors Prophet Abraham’s monumental sacrifice. During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. The Holy Qur’an describes him as follows:

“Surely, Ibrahim (Abraham) was an Umma ([Community] in himself), exclusively obedient to Allah, turning away from all falsehood (ever inclined and given to Him alone) and was not of those who associate partners with Allah, Grateful to (Allah) for His blessings. Allah chose him (and exalted him to a high office in His presence) and guided him to the straight path.”

Translation: The Glorious Qura’n: (16:120)

Abraham’s biggest trial was to fulfill Allah’s command to kill his only son, Ishmael, as a test of obedience. Upon hearing this command, Abraham prepared to submit to Allah’s will. And then Allah, by His Mercy, replaced Ishmael at the moment of sacrifice with a lamb. Abraham’s selfless act of obedience is commemorated by the sacrifice of a domestic animal such as a lamb, sheep, cow, or goat at Eid-ul-Adha. The meat of the sacrificial offerings is distributed to relatives, neighbors, and mainly the poor.

This act symbolizes our willingness to give up our possessions, goods or things that we hold dear and close to follow Allah’s commands. We believe that all the blessings come from Almighty Allah and we must share them with the poor and needy and this charitable instinct is the central theme of the sacrificial ritual.

In parts of the world where Muslims are not allowed to personally sacrificing an animal, they donate equal amount of money to charitable organizations, which then sacrifice the animal on their behalf and distribute the meat to the poor.

Sadaf Alvi
Team Operation Pakistan

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