1439 Al-Hijri of the Islamic calendar is coming to an end and Muslims, all over the world, are celebrating Eid ul-Adha , the “Feast of the Sacrifice”. There are traditions incorporated into the celebrations, but for many it is a time for holiness and spirituality. It constitutes an opportunity to reflect on achievements by by demonstrating gratitude and extending a helping hand to others who need it. Eid ul-Adha is also about striving to become a better person.
This blissful day is lit up with the radiance of refreshed spirituality that lights up every parched soul. The sea of worshippers at the Eidgah, the sounds of Takbeer, Tahmeed and Tahleel (words of praises to God) reverberate. The mutuality between complete strangers when they greet one another like brothers enlivens the soul and adds to the spirituality of the day. What with getting ready for the prayers, dressing up in new clothes, visiting the Eid-Gah and offering prayers in congregation with family and friends, purchasing cattle from the cattle market, slaughtering the animal, distributing a part of the meat to the poor and the needy and carrying the rest to home where it is further fractionated and distributed amongst close friends and relatives.
The Holy Quran repeatedly emphasizes the obedience shown by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to God’s commandments as Prophet Ibrahim (AS) emerges successful through every test that God places for him before honoring him with the title of “leader of mankind”. A Muslim is reminded of his “father” who chooses to be exiled from his home and hometown but refuses the unholy calls to worship other than the one true God. The pure monotheistic words of his “father” resound in his ears “Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah (SWT), “The Lord of the world” whilst running his knife across the neck of the animal. Muslims, through the act, remind themselves of their submission to God. They do not seek to slaughter animals solely for the sake of satisfying the whims of their tummy, but also care for the less privileged members of the society for who meat is a luxury.
Eid ul Adha mentions the honor of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), and his willingness to sacrifice his son to show submission to Allah’s command. When Prophet Ibrahim (RA) was about to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ishmael (AS), Allah (SWT) sent his angel Gabriel who replaced Hazrat Ishmael (AS) with a ram. During Eid-ul-Adha, the community also loves to showcase some fantastic, often colourful, clothing. “It’s a chance for everyone to put on our best outfits and wear something new. The significance of this day is purely spiritual which brings rejoicing and happiness. However the rejoicing is not at the departure of the day of Eid; it is the happiness which man feels after successfully completing an important task of sacrifice.
We are all familiar with the fact that the Kashmir valley had witnessed the dangerous “Othering”, and scores of protests and clashes have erupted in various towns and villages across valley, leading to loss of many lives and various families have lost their bread owners. The present conflict, daunting, chaos, uncertainty, and strife torn situation among the people of Jammu and Kashmir is a major concern. But, the gracious occasion of Eid-ul-Adha provides a platinum opportunity to overcome the miserable situation.
The message of Eid ul Adha is to seek forgiveness of sins from Almighty Allah (SWT). So, it is the time for the people to pledge to sacrifice something more like morsel of food to feed a widow, an orphan and so on. Let it be a small toy for a crying orphan, so the celebrations of this auspicious occasion become meaningful. We all should go to the destitute to offer Eid greetings to them and those who have lost their loved ones because of the conflict. There are two main messages enshrined in the philosophy of Eid ul Adha: worship of Allah, and the feeling of the pain and sorrow of other human beings.
There are many people in the world who have to suffer the pangs of thirst and hunger on a regular basis. This realization should make a believer empathize and sympathize with the less fortunate, and should make a believer spend more of his money in charity, in order to benefit those who are less fortunate. Eid is a continuation of this message , and a reminder that the philosophy of the month of this day needs to be adopted and incorporated throughout the rest of the year.
This auspicious occasion is defined by spiritual renewal, a sense of fulfillment, and other moral themes. It is not a formal custom; it is instead an auspicious day and a divine gift from Almighty Allah (SWT). Eid-ul-Adha is a time of joy, reflection, sacrifice and contemplation. Let us forget about differences, forge unity and jointly celebrate this Eid with religious fervor with those who have suffered most.
—The author is a freelance Journalist. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org