Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
On my behalf, I wish all the Muslims all over the world and all my Muslim followers a Happy Eid Mubarak, and for people of other faiths, I wish you all a happy life. May all your good deeds be accepted.
For those of you who don’t know, Eid is one of the most important days of the Islamic Calendar. There are two types of Eid:
Eid-ul-Fitr, that is celebrated in the first few days of the month of Shawwal after the blessed month* of Ramadan, where Muslims fast the entire month (if they are physically able to) and engage in every form of worship the entire day.
Eid-ul-Azha, that is celebrated in the 12th of the month of Zil Hajj, another blessed month* where pilgrims perform Hajj (sacred pilgrimage) in the Holy City of Makkah and its surrounding cities (Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifa). Muslims have been ordered by Allah to perform Hajj once in their lifetime. Along with many practices, the one practice Muslims perform, whether they are at home or in pilgrimage, is sacrifice of animals in the name of Allah. I will be telling you about the history and significance of this practice.
The history of this practice goes back many years, before even our calendar started, to the lifetime of Hazrat Ibrahim/Abraham (A.S). He was commanded by Allah through an angel (Jibrael if I’m correct) to sacrifice his own son, Ismael (A.S) in the name of Allah. Hazrat Ibrahim was under a severe state of anxiety and fear as he didn’t want to disobey the command of Allah. However, he was an old man (perhaps in his 90s or older) who was granted two sons by Allah even when he felt he was barren. Now, having been ordered to sacrifice his own son, who was an innocent boy at that time…….who could imagine doing something as terrible and traumatic as that?
When he was on his way to fulfill Allah’s command, it is stated according to certain sources that Shaitan (Satan) tried to mislead and stop him in three places. On those places, he threw stones at Shaitan thus in those places, three Jumurats (pillars) are placed where pilgrims throw seven stones at each pillar for 3 days chanting:
“In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, most Merciful. Allah is Great”
When he reached, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) consulted Ismael (A.S) about what he had been ordered to do. Ismael (A.S) proudly said to his father, “If that is what Allah commanded, then that is what you must do.” (or words similar to this)
So Hazrat Ibrahim tied his son and he tied a cloth around his own eyes when preparing for the sacrifice. When he was about to attack, he was told that his sacrifice had been accepted. When he removed the cloth from his eyes, he saw an animal in front of him.
The significance of this event is that it reminds Muslims to not doubt any command of Allah. Muslims should not complain, spring up arguments and blatantly disobey the commands of Allah, demanding an explanation (they can question but not go into negativity and disagreement at the first response). They should understand that Allah is All-Knowledgable. When He gives a command, He doesn’t give it to spite or punish us. Those commands are for our benefit only, whether we understand it or not. The One who is the Creator of all creations, Who Created Man, is the only One who is aware of our strengths and our weaknesses, our joys and sadnesses, what we have ease in doing and our struggles and much more that we humans are not aware of. If Allah knows so much, there is surely a reason for it, a reason we will understand in the future in this life or the next.
Such commands may be so bizarre and shocking as killing your son. You’d wonder how can Allah ask such a thing from a person. However, in your life you may come across many things that Allah has prevented you from doing, for e.g lying, drinking alcohol, eating pork, homosexuality, that many people will find bizarre or illogical as time passes but Muslims are meant to obey it. You can go search deeply and question each ayat, do your research, etc. but in the end you’ll probably come to the same conclusion Allah came up with. However, being Muslim means submitting to Allah’s will. It means trusting in Allah completely, knowing that whatever Allah has asked of me has an underlying logical reason to it that I may not understand now but I will in the future. Hence, I should trust in Him. I shouldn’t follow any glimpse of command blindly without understanding what it’s trying to say but I should know that in comparison to the knowledge Allah possesses, I am blind.
So if I’ll have to sacrifice my son, for e.g if he murdered someone, raped someone, attempted a burglary, reverted from his faith and is carrying out a protest or attack against my faith, etc. I’ll do it; because according to Allah, right is right even if nobody is doing it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it and that will never exclude my family. One Sahabah (companion of RasulAllah(SAW) ) killed his own son in battle who was a non-Muslim and part of the army that plotted against and attacked Muslims in Madinah to protect his faith and his people. However, we are not asked to kill our parents, siblings, friends or children. I probably wouldn’t kill my son. That test was for Ibrahim (A.S) so that we can understand how important Allah’s commandments are with our own desires, and that Allah tested him much much more than He tests us and he completed his test successfully without any remorse or doubt.
That is the essence of my faith; trusting in the One Who knows me better than my own self, and that’s what Muslims need to remind themselves of every Eid.
In Eid-ul-Azha, Muslims sacrifice animals in the memory of Hazrat Ibrahim’s sacrifice. After slaughtering animals in the name of Allah, the meat is divided where one portion is kept to themselves, the other to the neighbors and finally to the needy so this comes in the form of Zakat as we believe in the spirit of Zakat every Eid that no one should miss the blessings of this holy month. This is very important but I believe the lessons I mention above is more important and one Muslims tend to forget.
May we Muslims strive to trust in Allah, strengthen our faith and never despair of the greatness and mercy of Allah.
Happy Eid Mubarak!
(*There are four blessed months in the Islamic Calendar; Muharram, Rabi-ul-Awwal, Ramadan and Zil Hajj)