Significance of SACRIFICES Related To Eid-ul-Adha
May I first wish the Muslims world over EID-UL-MUBARAK, on this auspicious day of Eid-ul-Adha.
10th day of the Muslim lunar month of Zulhijjah marks the day of Eid-ul-Adha celebration, in Malay the Hariraya Haji, one of the two MAJOR religious celebrations in Islam. The other MAJOR religious celebration is the Eid-ul-Fitri, in Malay the Hariraya Puasa, was celebrated just over two months ago, to mark the first day after the fasting month of Ramadan.
The festive atmosphere associated with Eid-ul-Adha is not as VIBRANT as the Eid-ul-Fitri, as the CENTRE OF ACTIVITY related to the former takes place in Mecca and Medina, both in Saudi Arabia. Mecca was the birthplace of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, while Medina , a city about 300 km north of Mecca, was where Muhammad migrated to and accepted as leader in the first ISLAMIC STATE.
Apart from the HAJ RITUALS being performed by over 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world in Mecca, and other locations around Mecca, including Arafah, Muzdalifa and Mina, Eid-ul-Adha has traditionally been associated more with one of the HAJ RITUALS, the sacrifice of animals, the only ritual which is carried out even by by those who are not performing the HAJ in Mecca. In Malaysia, the ritual of SLAUGHTERING OF SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS is the most important activity on the day of Eid-ul-Adha, after the performance of congregational Eid Prayers in mosgues.
The ritual of SLAUGHTERING OF SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS became part of the Islamic religious rituals, although the practice dated back to the times of Abraham(In Arabic, Ibrahim) and Ishmael(In Arabic, Ismail), both the Messengers of Allah. Abraham, the Messenger of Allah, was the common forefather of both the Arabs and the Jews. Abraham had two wives, with Sarah giving birth to Isaac, and Hajar giving birth to Ishmael. The descendents of his son Ishmael became the Arabs, while the descendents of his other son Isaac(In Arabic, Ishak) became the Jews.
By the will of Allah, Abraham took Hajar and Ishmael to settle down in a remote desert settlement now known as Mecca. Infact Abraham was known to be the FOUNDER OF MECCA, where he and Ishmael built the original building of the KAABAH, also known as ‘Baitullah’ or the ‘House of Allah’.
It was during Ishmael’s younger days that Abraham was TESTED with commandment from Allah to SACRIFICE his beloved son, which he faithfully obeyed. As the traditions go, at a point when Abrahan was about to commit the SACRIFICE, by the will of Allah, Ishmael was replaced by a sheep. The episode symbolised the the FAITHFULNESS of both Abraham and Ishmael in obeying commandments of Allah. This was the episode which became the origin of the ANIMAL SACRIFICES associated with the HAJ RITUALS and the Eid-ul-Adha celebrations.
The sacrifice of SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS has much deeper meaning than just to emulate what was practised by Abraham and Ishmael. The act actually signifies the willingness of Muslims to sacrifice ALL at their disposal, including their belongings, and even their lives, in the fulfilment of the commandments of Allah, the God Almighty.