Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Understanding the “Essence of Eid-ul-Adha”

During the annual Hajj in Mecca, Muslims all over the globe commemorate the trials and triumphs of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham PBUH). However, the misinformed people carry on with unwanted practices such as attempting to purchase the most expensive sacrificial animals in competition with others just to show off followed by unjust distribution of meat among the recipients.

Greed and sacrifice can’t go together: The misinformed or the most ignorant ones among the Muslim community tend to be materialistic enough to keep the best portion (goat thighs) for self or giving it away to the IN LAWS of daughters in many instances. The Muslims should know: "It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)

Muslims keep debating when to celebrate. ‘Different groups different answers’ is the ongoing attitude mainly responsible for the “Muslims’ disunity. Ridiculously, a huge divide among 1.7 billion Muslims is a laughing matter for “the non-Muslim world against Muslims.”

In fact, the regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which start at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. Since, the Islamic calendar is lunar and the days start at the sunset, so there is usually one-day error depending on when the New Moon is first seen.
According to the Fiqh Council of North America, Eid ul-Adha will be celebrated on October the 4th (based on astronomical calculations).Some Canadian Muslims follow Fiqh Council, while some follow Saudi Arabia. Others who stress upon local moon sighting are likely to celebrate on Sunday, the 5th Oct. India and Pakistan are celebrating on 6th Oct.

Like others, for the Canadian Muslims, Eid-ul-Adha is an annual Islamic observance of immense significance. It is also known as the feast of sacrifice or festival of sacrifice as it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to Allah the Almighty.
Furthermore, Eid is celebrated by the Muslims throughout Canada around the 10th to the 13th days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja). It is a time marked by special prayers and many Muslims gather together for special prayers. Many Muslims also visit family and friends, exchange greetings and gifts, and make donations to the poor and the needy generously.

No doubt, Eid-ul-Adha offers the best opportunity for forgiveness and compassion.
Performing the Hajj applies to all physically and financially able Muslims worldwide at least once in lifetime. Some Muslims from Canada have gone for performing Hajj.
The Qur'an further describes Prophet Ibrahim as follows:
"Surely Abrahim was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for OUR bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous." (Qur'an 16:120-121)
Indeed, one of Abrahim's main trials was to face the command of Allah to sacrifice his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah's will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his "sacrifice" had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for Allah superseded all others, as he was sincerely prepared to lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God. This symbolizes obedience to Allah. And, the fair distribution of meat of the sacrifice to others is an expression of generosity; it’s one of the essential pillars of Islam. 
In short, Eid ul Adha reminds us of Prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to obey God right after having envisioned that he was to sacrifice his only son.
Although, Eid-al-Adha is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada, yet the devout Muslims take time off from work in order to perform sacrifice after Eid prayer in the AM hours. The symbolism is in the “attitude of willingness” to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the righteous path.

Lesson/ message here is each one of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. And a true Muslim is the one who submits completely to the will of Allah the Almighty and remains willing to follow His commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willingness in obedience that Allah wants from us.

During the Hajj, Muslims refresh memories of the trials and triumphs of Prophet Abraham. The Qur'an describes Abraham as follows: An-Nahl (The Bee) 16:120 -- "Verily, Abraham was a man who combined within himself all virtues, devoutly obeying God's will, turning away from all that is false, and not being of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God." Hence, the tradition of symbolic sacrifice began.
The non believers need to know: During the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials by sacrificing an animal such as a sheep, camel, or a goat. As this action is very often misunderstood by the non believers, it’s our obligation to fully explain the essence of sacrifice.

Importantly, after the slaughter of the sacrificial animal, all meat of sacrifice must be mixed up to be distributed in three ways; self, relatives and the poor. It is a symbolic act of sharing with people who are malnourished and are below poverty line.

Indeed, Allah loves our purity in faith and our unconditional obedience of HIM. 

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