Eid Al-Adha: The Festival of Sacrifice

“Neither their meat nor blood reaches Allah. Rather, it is your piety that reaches Him…” (22:37)

Eid Al Adha, known as the Festival of Sacrifice, is a celebration of Ibrahim’s (PBUH) dedication to Allah. To tell in short, Allah told Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismael, to prove his faith. Ibrahim followed Allah’s command although the devil tried to convince him to disobey. He threw pebbles at the devil to make him leave. Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son but he found that Allah had replaced Ismael with a two-horned ram. Ibrahim had proved his devotion to Allah, so his son was spared. As in the verse above, neither the ram’s meat nor its blood would reach Allah. It was Ibrahim’s intention and faith that mattered.
The festival is known for sacrificing animals for Allah’s sake. This is true, we sacrifice animals that already belong to their creator, Allah. There are other important messages that the festival carries though.

  1. Gurban, قُرْبَان means getting close in the Persian language. Sacrificing gets people close to Allah. We remember that all the creatures belong to the Creator. This acceptance and sacrifice from what we have leads to an increase in our iman and gets us closer to Allah.
    Also, celebrating Eid together, sharing what we have, getting together in the mosques, and visiting each other get people closer to each other as well.
  2. Eid Al-Adha encourages people to share. At least one-third of the meat from the animal must go to poor or vulnerable people. Traditionally, a Muslim would keep one-third of the meat for their family and give the final third to their neighbors. By doing so, we get to know people in need around us, learn about their situations and needs, and build life-long brotherhood.
  3. Eid-al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, is celebrated during the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, known as Dhul Hijjah –which means “Lord of the Pilgrimage”. It is during this month that pilgrims travel to Mecca in order to visit the Kaaba. Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth, and tenth days of the lunar month. Eid ul-Adha begins on the tenth and ends on the 13th. So, this festival is also about one of the pillars of Islam, Hajj.

Islam is a religion of peace. The festival of sacrifice is a holy event to celebrate Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah and his giving up on all the earthly things for Allah, including the most beloved ones. While telling our kids about this special festival, we should keep in mind that this is also a good opportunity to mention how important sharing is and how it affects society in a good way.

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