Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Eid ul Azha to everyone across the globe

The Muslims all over the world celebrate the Eid ul Azha (or Adha) on the 10th of last Islamic month of Zil Hajjah. Eidain or the two Eids that is the Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Azha are the two festivities of the Muslim world which are celebrated with religious fervor and zeal. The Eid ul Fitr is celebrated just after the month of Ramadan (during the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast for 29-30 days and abstain themselves from eating from dawn to dusk beside some other conditions) on the 1st day of the Shawal.

The word “Eid” is an Arabic word that means “festival” and Eid-ul-Azha means the Greater Festival as it is celebrated to remember the sacrifice of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), who in obedience to the command of the Almighty took his beloved son to sacrifice in the name of his Creator. While he blindfolded himself so that his son’s blood doesn’t distract him from the supreme sacrifice, the Allah Almighty acknowledging his sacrifice and willingness to obey His command replaced Ismail with a ram. And since that day, Muslims all over the world sacrifice an animal (goat, ram, cow or even camel) to commemorate the greatest sacrifice ever.

Like many who could afford to sacrifice, I (by the grace of Almighty) also went to the animal market with my son and a friend. There were lot of buyers and animals. Every buyer was trying to purchase a good animal for a lesser cost while the sellers were trying to pocket huge profits. After lot of survey and negotiations, we finally purchased one at a cost that my pocket allowed. We took the goats home in a taxi and my sons straightaway started to feed the goat as it was our guest for one night only.

Today after the Eid prayers, we took the goat to a central place with requisite facilities and had our goat sacrificed by the butcher, which my friend had arranged. On Eid days, everyone who has the slightest knowhow of using a knife becomes a butcher and charge a very high labour to do the goat. This “butcher” happened to be a grill maker, who was doing a part time this morning. I don’t have to tell you what he did to our goat, but at least he did what he could.

The aim of sacrifice, like all other fundamentals of Islam, is to lead one to self righteousness. To explicate its purpose, Allah says in the Quran, "It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches Allah; it is their piety that reaches Him."

Besides following the footsteps of the Prophet Ibrahim, the aim of sacrifice has greater meanings. Each sacrificial animal’s meat is to be divided into three portions; one is to be kept for own family, while of the other two, one part is to be distributed among the poor who cannot afford to sacrifice and thus including them in our own festivities and making them feel part of the whole. The third portion is to be distributed among the relatives, but starting from the lower level of financial well being thereby also providing them a chance to celebrate the festivities.

So back home, we divided the meat into three portions and distributed as per the teachings. While we were distributing, we were also receiving meat from friends and neighbours. So while I am writing the post after having distributed the two shares, now my doorbell is constantly ringing as others are sending in. This is the spirit of the day as everyone remembers the poor and the friends and neighbours.


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