The word ‘eid’ in Arabic means festivities, a celebration or an occasion. Eid Al Adha is the celebration of the sacrifice, signifying the end of the Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims all over the world not just those in Mecca will slaughter of a lamb on such an occasion.
The Story of Ibrahim
The story goes that when the father of humanity, Ibrahim (PBUH) was getting old and yet to have a child, he prayed hard and long asking the Lord for his blessings. Sure enough, his prayers were answered when his wife Hager bore him a son. That son was named Ismail. A few years later, Ibrahim (PBUH) dreamed he slaughtered his son. It was a very disturbing dream, but knowing about prophets, their dream is an order and he knew he had to adhere. The Lord says: “I shall test you to see if your faith is true, in your health, wealth and family.” Ibrahim (PBUH) told his son: “I dreamed I slaughtered you.” The son, Ismail (PBUH), replied: “Is that an order from the Lord, dad?” The son knew his dad was a prophet and his dream was no nightmare, so he listened to his father’s reply: “Yes dear.” Ismail said: “Then do as you are ordered.” Ibrahim (PBUH) took his son Ismail (PBUH) and prepared to adhere to the order. Just as he was about to execute his son, a sheep appeared, sent by the Lord to praise them both for their complete submission and adherence to his commands.Then Ibrahim (PBUH) was ordered to sacrifice the sheep instead. Of course, what a moment, what a feeling of relief! But here is the lesson: to accept whether the Lord exists or not is negotiable. It’s for you to search, ponder and reflect, and decide whether to accept. Once you have accepted, then you adhere.
During Eid Al Adha, we dress in new clothes and go to prayer, but afterwards it’s off to the slaughterhouse – no slaughtering is done at home. We commemorate the example of obedience from the human to his Lord and son to father, which is much needed in our lives nowadays. The meat of the lamb goes one third to the poor, one third to close friends and family and one third for us, the family, to eat. We hope that everyone in the world has food on the table that day. The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives and friends. Please visit your Muslim friends this Eid and say ‘Eid Mubarak’.