Thousands of Guyanese across the country will today celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, or the “Festival of Sacrifice”, which also marks the end of the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. This period celebrates Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice after Allah (God) appeared to him in a dream and asked that he sacrifice his son, Ishmael, to show his devotion to the Creator.
According to religious texts, Ibrahim had bounded his son before he put him on the altar. The story is now seen as a test, since the text added that Allah sent his angel to prevent the sacrifice of Ishmael and a lamb was used as the sacrifice instead. Further, the story is used to reaffirm the principle of “thou shall not kill” as it is believed that the Almighty would not require the killing of an innocent soul.
The observance is celebrated by a large prayer gathering where participants are decked out in their finest apparel. This is followed by the sacrifice of animals usually sheep, bulls or goats. According to tradition, the meat from the sacrificed animal is often divided into three parts – one for family members, another part for relatives, friends and neighbours, while the other part is distributed to the poor and those in need.
Later in the day, Muslims use the opportunity to visit family and friends and may give gifts and money to one another. Additionally, some believers set aside certain amounts of money to prepare food and also to buy clothes for those who are in need.
The Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (COIG), at its Muslim Youth Organisation of Guyana (MYOG) complex, will sacrifice 80 bulls and 40 sheep for today’s Eid-ul-Adha observance. This will be preceded by a prayer session around 06:15h. When Guyana Times visited the Woolford Avenue site on Sunday, persons had been seen making the final preparations to mark the event. The leaders expressed great anticipation for today’s event which seeks to remind followers of their devotion to God.
“It is not their meat, nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your devotion that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)