Eid brings a flood of joy in the lives of all Muslims, rich and poor, young and old, men and women alike. Even people of other religions in our country are touched by the joy of Eid. The wonderful and unique light of human equality, sacrifice and compassion is manifested in the celebration of Eid, which is a symbol of the greatness and universality of Islam. Eid-ul-Azha, the biggest religious festival of the followers of Islam, is knocking on the door just when the whole world is in the grip of a terrible epidemic of coronavirus.
For devout Muslims, it is a day of absolute joy manifested in the glory of sacrifice. On Eid-ul-Azha, the spirit of self-sacrifice and sacrifice in the way of Allah becomes radiant. Efforts to gain nearness to God by slaughtering animals have been going on since the birth of human history. Muslims all over the world offer animal sacrifices on Eid-ul-Azha to gain the pleasure and mercy of God Almighty. Holy Eid-ul-Azha is associated with the memory of the complete surrender of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) to the Almighty and the glorious sacrifice of Ishmael (AS). In this case, the importance and significance of the sacrifice increased. In continuation of this, sacrificing one’s life for the love of God has been considered as a virtuous act of worship. Sacrifice is a dignified thing that contains the greatest elements of both self-formation and building a healthy society. In the eyes of Islam, there is no difference between people. The only difference is in the fear of God, between the honest and the dishonest, between the believer and the unbeliever. The significance can be deduced from this point of view.
The glory of sacrifice washes away the narrowness of our inner world. By embracing this great spirit of Islam, we can glorify the individual, family, society and national life in the teachings of becoming a full human being through sacrifice, patience and forbearance.
The teachings of Eid are to enjoy happiness through equality, brotherhood and oneness and to expand mutual help and cooperation. Islam has instructed that the poor and needy people of the society can also join in this great joy. This system of uniting the rich and the poor is really rare. The demands of Eid are pervasive in personal, family, social, cultural, political, national, international and otherworldly matters. Unlike other ethnic festivals, it is not a temporary cheap pleasure, joke or meaningless celebration. Idealism, elegant taste and decency are manifested in this festival. The main significance of Eid is to elevate social good and eradicate social bad, and harness sense of humanity without deviating from religious solemnity. Therefore, the multi-faceted educational consciousness and significance of Eid-ul-Azha is immense.
The word Muslim means one who surrenders. Unconditional obedience to the rules and regulations of God Almighty is the essence of Islam. It is not possible to become a Muslim if one has the attitude of ‘I will obey any provision if it is reasonable, otherwise I will not obey it’. Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) has set the best example of this obedience and surrender for humanity. He took the initiative to slaughter his son at the behest of Almighty God and taught the whole of humanity the true lesson of obedience. In this case, many people would have argued that this step was unjust and abominable if people were consulted. But Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) did not follow the argument. “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds” ((Quran, 6:162)
The importance and joy of Eid-ul-Azha is immense in the life of Muslims. Sacred religious feeling as a festival is associated with it. The life and religion of Islam are tied in the same thread. Therefore, Eid is not only a source of joy but also a sense of duty, compassion and brotherhood. The idea of harmony among people from all walks of life is especially significant here. People here gather at specific Eidgahs for Eid prayers. It shows unity and harmony among all – all are inspired by the great brotherhood of Islam. Through hugging each other, all differences are forgotten and accepted as brothers. The gap between rich and poor does not prevail then. Everyone shares the joy of Eid. As a result, rich-poor, enemies-friends, relatives, all are inspired by the spirit of brotherhood. Eid brings the message of absolute reunion for people to forget their differences, to create a bond of love between people. The sacrifice offered on Eid-ul-Azha tests the human mind, the blood and flesh of the sacrifice never reaches Allah. Only the human heart is seen. It’s the Taqwa in our hearts that provide these simple physical rituals a special meaning in the eyes of Allah.
For example, when mentioning the ritual of sacrificing animals (in Allah’s name) in the Quran, Allah says, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwa (piety, etc.) from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you so that you may glorify Allah for His guidance to you.” (Surah Al-Haj: 37)
In fact, the one who offers sacrifice not only stabs the animal in the neck, but he also stabs all the instincts in the love of God. This is the main controlling, vitality and spiritual value of sacrifice. The sacrifice that is made without this feeling is not the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him), it is just a ritual.
Before sacrificing, it is necessary to acquire taqwa. One has to be aware of the fact that the aspect of gaining fame or formalism cannot be imagined. Before performing this act of worship, it is necessary to survive from stinginess and narrow-mindedness. A believer has to practice taqwa from the time he intends to sacrifice. Then when the worship is done with devotion, the various benefits of Allah’s satisfaction and piety are obtained. So it is clear that through sacrifice we get the opportunity to practice sincerity and taqwa.
Eid has the message of equality, the identity of a compassionate heart. The human mind is inspired by the great ideals of benevolence and sacrifice. Sacrifice reduces the lure of worldly wealth and life. Because slaughtering the sacrificial animal apparently reduces the wealth of the person. This loss of wealth is accepted for the purpose of gaining the pleasure of Allah Almighty. As a result, the lust for wealth of the servant is reduced through sacrifice like zakat and the spirit of sacrificing one’s life and property in the way of Allah is revived. Through animal sacrifices we remember that obedience and sacrifice of the Prophet Ibrahim. Many people think that it is logical to distribute cash among the helpless people without spending money on the purchase of sacrificial animals. This idea is the result of ignorance and stupidity. Because Islam is not just a name of logic. Islam is the name of obedience to God Almighty and submission to His provisions. Although all the provisions of Islam are logical, scientific and beneficial, man cannot comprehend them in many cases with his small conscience. Therefore, the process of worship prescribed by the Beloved Prophet (S) by the command of Allah the Almighty must be performed in that process. If the fabrication is done in a different way by reasoning, it will not be accepted. In addition he will have to suffer the punishment of disobedience. There are clear descriptions of this in various places in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith.
But a question is normal: what to do if it is not possible to sacrifice during this pandemic? I want to add a point here, it will be clearer to everyone. According to the Sharia Council, “the people upon whom the act of Qurbani is obligatory, if they are unable to offer it, despite their desire and requisite efforts due to governmental restrictions and other impediments, then they should try to get their Qurbani done at a different place. If this is not possible, then after the prescribed ‘days of sacrifice’, they should give charity (Sadaqah) to the poor, an amount equivalent to the cost of sacrifice.”
Donors are encouraged to distribute a portion of the sacrificial meat among relatives, neighbors and the poor of the society. In this way, everyone in the society gets a chance to enjoy a non-discriminatory joy on the same day. The miserable, the poor, the helpless people – those who can’t afford to have meat on their own at any time of the year, get a little better food because of the sacrifice. As a result, there is a feeling among the able-bodied that kindness should be done to the poor and needy throughout the year. Thus sacrifice also teaches us to build a society without discrimination.
The Eid or Eid-ul-Azha of Qurbani comes to us every year with a noble message of self-purification, self-satisfaction and self-sacrifice. If we are inspired by the teachings of Eid-ul-Azha, we will be able to protect ourselves from all sins, deprivation, social injustice. Therefore, through the animal sacrifice of Eid-ul-Azha, in fact, the animal power, lust, anger, greed, delusion, slander, envy, etc. that exist among human beings have to be sacrificed. And it is manifested through animal sacrifices acquired in the halal sense.
Eid ul-Adha is the time for Qurbani, and Muslims in many more prosperous parts of the world choose to give their Qurbani in the form of a financial donation. This is used to pay for the provision of a sacrificial animal in a more poverty-stricken part of the world, allowing all in the Ummah to take part in this important celebration.
The spirit of charity is crucial to Islam. It is a key expression of Allah’s (SWT) love for us and we are privileged to be able to celebrate with our brothers and sisters around the world.
In a word, Eid has elevated the universality of Islam. It contains the essence of Islam as well as the elements of world brotherhood.
We want all uncertainties in individual, family, social and state life to be removed. Let us forget the violence and hatred and join in the joy of the holy Eid-ul-Azha one by one and awaken the spirit of equality and compassion among all.
In the golden days of Islam, people used to give more and more on the day of Eid, look for the deprived and destitute people, and spend a long time in the worship of Allah. So we also have to wake up in a new way by realizing the real meaning of Eid. Effective measures have to be taken to make the needy and miserable people of the society happy and self-reliant.