Eid-ul-Adha is the second Eid festival which Muslims celebrate in a year. Eid-ul-Adha marks the completion of the pilgrimage to Mecca also known as Hajj. Muslims from all over the world celebrate this occasion on the tenth day of the Islamic month Dhul Hijjah. Eid-ul-Adha reminds us about the obedience and sacrifice of Prophet Abraham and his son Hadhrat Ishmael, peace be on both of them.
Abraham (peace be upon him) had a sequence of dreams about sacrificing his son Ishmael (peace be upon him). The Holy Qur’an says, “ And when he (Ishmael) was old enough to run along with him (Abraham), he said, `O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I offer thee in sacrifice. So consider what thou thinkest of it!' He replied, `O my father, do as thou art commanded; thou wilt find me, if God please steadfast in my faith.' (37:103)
Submitting to the will of the Lord, Abraham (peace be upon him) decided to sacrifice his beloved son. When he was about to fulfill the commandment of God, He stopped him from doing so and gave the glad tiding that he had fulfilled His commandment by showing faith and devotion to the Lord Almighty. God mentions this in the Holy Qur’an: “And when they both submitted to the Will of God, and Abraham had thrown him down on his forehead, We called to him `O Abraham thou hast indeed fulfilled the dream.' Thus indeed do We reward those who do good.” (37:104-106)
God almighty rewarded him and directed them to sacrifice a lamb instead. On this blessed day Muslims follow Abraham (peace be upon him) and sacrifice animals (sheep, lamb, cow or camel) after offering the Eid Prayer.
God Almighty mentions Abraham (peace be upon him) as one of His rightly guided servants. He expects us to carry out the animal sacrifice with the same spirit of righteousness. The Holy Qur’an states “Their flesh reaches not God, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him. (22:38) Expensive and well fed animals fulfill the requirement of sacrifice but in the sight of God it has no bearing if we lack the spirit of Taqwa (righteousness).This sacrifice has to be done for the sake of God.
Animal sacrifice is the reflection of the sacrifice of one’s soul and spirits. At the time of sacrifice we should realize that if there was an opportunity to present our self in the path of God Almighty, then we are ready to do so. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community explained the philosophy of Eid-ul-Adha by saying that “In the Shariah of Islam God had set models for various commandments. Man is commanded to sacrifice himself in the path of Allah with all its powers, skills and capabilities. As God says flesh and blood of the animal do not reach Him. So, we should fear Allah in such a way that as though we suffered death in the path of God.”
May God enable us to follow the path of rightly guided people and include us among those who try to attain His pleasure. (Amen)