BY HAJJI NSEREKO MUTUMBA
Yesterday, the Muslim community celebrated Eid Al Adhuha (Feast of Sacrifice).
This Eid is one of the most important acts of worship in Islam.
It is celebrated every year on the 10th day of the Islamic Month of Dhul Hijja, and it is observed one day after the holy day of Arafat.
Eid al-Adhuha also known as the greater Eid is observed in remembrance of Ibrahim A.S’s willingness to sacrifice his son out of faith in Allah and Allah’s mercy on humanity.
Ibrahim (A.S) also known as the “grandfather of believers” was a very strong believer in Allah to the extent that he once sacrificed all the animals he had in the name of Allah and committed himself to sacrificing a child if he had one.
After some time, Allah blessed him with a son Ismail and one day, he had a dream in which Allah asked him to fulfill his commitment of sacrificing a child in the name of Allah.
This is how Allah narrates this event in the Holy Quran:
“Then when (the son) Reached (the age of) (Serious) work with him He said: “Oh my son! I see in vision That I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is Thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, If Allah so wills one Practicing patience and constancy!”
So when they had both Submitted their wills (to Allah), And he had laid him Prostrate on his forehead (For sacrifice),
We called out to him, “Oh Abraham!”
“Thou hast already fulfilled The vision!” thus indeed Do We reward Those who do right.
For this was obviously A trial
And We ransomed him With a momentous sacrifice” Quran 37:102-107
In his attempt to sacrifice his son Ismail, the devil/Satan tried to distract him and dissuade him from following Allah’s command.
He stopped him 3 times to try to dissuade him. In each of these spots there is a pillar (more recently replaced by long walls to accommodate large crowds during Hajj) which represents the devil.
The angel Gibril told Ibrahim to pelt Shaitan with pebbles/stones which he did at each of these three spots.
Pilgrims throw stones at the devil in defiance of him and in steadfastness to Allah. They throw them at the pillars of course which represent Shaitan.
The devil had also attempted to incite Ismail and his mother into rebelling against Ibrahim A.S but their faith in Allah could not be weakened by the devil’s maneuvers.
Allah’s replacement of Ismail with a Ram was a clear message that he will only accept animal sacrifices and this is why Muslim slaughter sheep, goats, cows and camels for Eid al-Adhuha.
One of the special things about Eid Al Adhuha is that by sacrificing animals on the Eid day and the following three days, Muslims get great rewards from Allah.
Aisha (R.A) reports that the Prophet (PBUH) said,
“The son of Adam does not perform any actions on the day of sacrifice which is more pleasing to Allah than the shedding of blood. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair, and hooves. The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground – (Tirmizi).
Among the reasons why we sacrifice animals are:
- A way of fearing Allah. This bring us near to Allah and it is a fulfillment of Allah’s command in which we are commanded to pray and sacrifice for Allah’s sake – “So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [to Him alone]” Quran 108:2
- To continue the tradition started by Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) who had been commanded by Allah to slaughter his son Ismail only to be sent a Ram which he slaughtered in Ismail’s place.
- A source of happiness in families. During this day, there is praising Allah, sacrifice and giving charity to the needy.
- Thanking Allah for taming animals for us as he says in the Holy Quran 22:37 that; “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good”.
In addition to the rewards from Allah, we also learn great lessons from the Eid Al Adhuha festival and if applied, our families would be highly prosperous both morally and materially.
Prophet Ibrahim’s family had great and never fading faith in Allah to the extent that they were willing and ready to part with their best belongings including their son if that is what it would take to thank Allah and to earn His Mercy.
Ibrahim A.S may have been Allah’s messenger but was not arrogant as some of today’s leaders or fathers who want to be worshipped like Allah. Before attempting to slaughter his son Ismail as per the dream/vision, he first briefed him about the situation and even sought Ismail’s view on it. This is an attribute that is missing in many families and communities worldwide yet if we adopt it, our families and societies will be stronger and safer.
Attempts by the devils to turn Prophet Ibrahim’s family members against each other and ultimately against Allah, were futile because they were united as a family and they had Allah’s protection courtesy of their strong belief in Allah.
If the young people of today were to be as God fearing and humble as Ismail, the world would be full of peace and prosperity.
Finally, in whatever we do, we should remember that dialogue is paramount at all levels of leadership.