Eid-ul-Azha, an annual Islamic festival, is not just about purchasing animals for mere enjoyment, neither is it all about storing the meat and cooking delicacies for days. There is a lot more to Eid-ul-Azha that is meant to bring out the best virtues in us as Muslims.
more to Eid-ul-Azha that is meant to bring out the best virtues in us as Muslims.
Faith in Allah and submission to Allah’s Will
On Eid-ul-Azha, we remember the trial Allah put Prophet Ibrahim and his family through four thousand years ago. Prophet Ibrahim and his family had
unwavering faith that Allah knows best and they did not question His orders even once, not when Allah told Prophet Ibrahim to leave his wife and young
son in the far flung desert of Mecca and not even when Allah ordered Prophet Ibrahim to slay his beloved son in His path.
The essence of Eid-ul-Azha is beyond sacrificing an animal and feasting
Prophet Ibrahim always submitted to Allah’s will without hesitation and Allah always rewarded him for his obedience and faith.
By following the steps of Prophet Ibrahim, Muslims revive the same feeling of faith and submission in Allah’s will.
A spiritual, mental, physical and financial exercise
Muslims sacrifice a halal animal every year at the end of Haj, the holy pilgrimage of Muslims, a journey in which Muslims spend the best of their mental, spiritual and physical efforts, time and money.
On the last day of Haj, Muslim pilgrims purchase the best animal they can afford, sacrifice it in the way of Allah, distribute the meat and also celebrate the occasion by feasting upon it.
Muslims around the world slaughters a sacrificial animal in their respective hometowns.
Compassion for animals
In order to offer sacrifice, Muslims buy an animal, preferably a goat, ram, camel or bull, and take good care of the animal, thus grow attached to it.
They learn compassion and realise that animals must be treated with affection and care too. It softens their hearts and makes them appreciate the creatures of Allah.
When people sacrifice in the way of Allah the animal they’ve grown fond of and would rather keep as a pet, they reach an entirely new divine level. They form a bond with God, proving that they can sacrifice something they love because Allah ordered it, just like Prophet Ibrahim did.
Even if somebody doesn’t love the animal they have bought, they love the money they would have spent. And they would’ve spent it on something else but they choose to spend the money they love on an animal to please Allah. This practice teaches one to be generous in the path of Allah and not grow too attached to temporary worldly things.
Boost to economy
The economic aspect of the ritual of sacrifice is that the people who can afford to buy an animal do so and make payment to the sellers who are usually shepherds and farmers who make their living by rearing animals to be sold on Eid.
In this way money flows from the wealthier section of society to the poor. Also, people distribute meat among the poor who get to eat meat as a result of the sacrifice offered by others. The skin of the animal is usually donated to charitable organisations. In this manner, the people who are less fortunate financially are taken care of.
The social aspect of the ritual of sacrifice is that people gather for Eid prayer and greet each other, feel a sense of camaraderie with their Muslim brethren, perform the ritual of sacrifice and distribute meat among friends and family.
They learn to care for their neighbours, friends and relatives when they share the meat with them instead of keeping it all for themselves. They meet with their friends and family, and celebrate the occasion by preparing a hearty meal and having it together. It is a good opportunity for mingling with people and enjoying their company.
Even the poor who could not afford to offer any sacrifice of their own, they receive meat from others and in turn share it with their family and friends.
Each command of Allah is not just important for us, but it also contains a wealth of wisdom. So as you spend time taking care of your sacrificial animal and sacrifice it on any of the three Eid-ul-Azha days, keep all these lessons in mind and you will find a special enjoyment and spiritual satisfaction that you would have never felt before.
Have a wonderful Eid.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 18th, 2018