Isma’il was born to Prophet Ibrahim and Hajra (Hagar), in his old age. Eid-ul-Adha celebrates Father Ibrahim’s absolute faith in God. His devotion and faith resonate in the existence of man as a temporary life, and acceptance that God is the preserver of the substance of man. Ibrahim (AS) had been a devoted servant of the Lord even though his wife Sarah couldn’t bear a child for most of their lifetime, yet his patience and contentment with his Creator never faded. After decades of faithful service to Allah (SWT), he finally became a father and named his son, Isma’il (AS).
God’s command to Ibrahim to sacrifice his beloved son was not questioned by either of them, and their faith in their Lord and their submission to his command was rewarded, because God intervened through his angel Jibra’il (Gabriel) and informed Ibrahim that his sacrifice had already been accepted. God stayed Ibrahim’s hand at the last moment and ordered him to slaughter a ram that was caught in some bushes nearby instead. This was a clear message to humanity that sacrificing humans is strictly prohibited, and was the genesis of Qurbani and Eid-ul-Adha – the Festival of Sacrifice.
Qurbani means sacrifice. Every year, Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated by Muslims around the world by slaughtering an animal – a goat, sheep, cow or camel – to reflect Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isma’il, at God’s command and to commemorate a testament of God’s mercy to the faithful.
Traditionally, one-third of the meat from the animal must go to poor or vulnerable people; one-third for neighbours, associates and friends and one-third for family.
According to Islam Now: “Eid-ul-Adha is the latter of the two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year, with the other being Eid-ul-Fitr, which comes after the auspicious month of Ramadan (Eid-ul-Fitr – small Eid) and the second during Qurbani (Eid-ul-Adha – big Eid). The second of these two Eids represents the most sacred time of the year for Muslims as it marks the Hajj pilgrimage.
“Hajj is a religious duty that should be carried out by all able Muslims at least once during their lifetime. Millions of Muslims travel to Mecca every year for Hajj, retracing the steps of Ibrahim (AS) as he left his wife, Hajra, and his son, Isma’il, in the desert of ancient Mecca by the command of Allah (SWT). The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) later established Hajj as an annual pilgrimage.
“The Hajj pilgrimage is regarded as an honour for Muslims, with all those who complete it allowed to adopt the title of Hajji (men) or Hajjah (women) for life. Those who feature such titles in Islamic culture are thought to hold more wisdom, thus earning greater respect from their peers.
“The first pilgrimage, called Hijrah, was the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) migration from Mecca to Medina, then called Yathrib, and this is when the tradition as we know it today came into fruition. Hajj, which takes places over three days, runs into Eid-ul-Adha (Qurbani), and thus Muslims on the pilgrimage carry out the traditional sacrifice of livestock as per the Quran’s ruling.”
A prominent Guyanese Muslim elucidated that once the Eid prayers and sermon are over, the Qurbani sacrifice may begin and the meat of the sacrificed animal is shared three ways (one for the person making the sacrifice, another for friends and family and one for the poor and needy). Following this, Muslims come together to celebrate the Festival of Sacrifice, which sees the exchanging of gifts and greetings.
According to Wikipedia, “Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a messenger of God: It is the world’s second-largest religion with 1.9 billion followers or 24.9 per cent of the world’s population, known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 51 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humanity through prophets.”
Islam, according to Quranic texts, means to achieve peace – peace with God, peace within oneself, and peace with the creations of God – through wholly submitting oneself to God and accepting His guidance. The term Islam derives from the three-letter Arabic root, S (?)- L (?)- M (?), which generates words with interrelated meanings, including “surrender” and “submission”. This correlates with Prophet Ibrahim’s acceptance of God’s will.
Eid-ul-Adha greetings to all our readers, the Guyanese people, and the global community from the management and staff of Times Media Group.