During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims honour and remember prophet Ibrahim’s (may Allah be pleased with him) trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, cow or goat. After the five pillars of Islam, Sunnat-e-Ibrahimi (sacrifice) is the most important activity. This sacrifice is the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim who taught us the true meaning of sacrifice when he was willing to kill his own son for the sake if Allah. The festival therefore acts as a symbol of unflinching loyalty and faith towards Allah.
Allah has given man authority over animals, and has granted us the right to consume some of them. However,this act is most effective if we pronounce His name (SWT) at the time of taking life. By invoking the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we’re reminded that life is sacred,and must be valued with utmost act of piety and respect. Most of the meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is given away as charity to the needy. It is very important to note that this act of sacrifice by Muslims has absolutely nothing to do with cleansing sins. Allah does not need the meat or blood either. Allah says in the Quran: “Their flesh reaches not Allah, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to you, that you may glorify Allah for His guiding you. And give glad tidings to those who do good.” (Al Quran 22:38)
In short,Sacrifice is an act of submission to Allah. It is to submit to the will of the Almighty. Sometimes Allah asks us to sacrifice something important to us in order to learn that there is something greater than that. But sadly, we fail to translate the essence of its sacrificial values in our life. We overlook its impact on our spiritual and moral development, forgetting that every act done solely and sincerely for Allah carries a great reward. Furthermore, we have to practice the spiritual act of sacrifice so as to learn to rely on Allah’s provisions rather than the things we have built for ourselves.
Buying a ram or cow or goat,slaughtering it and distributing it amongst family and the needy – sincerely for the sake of Allah- is not exactly an easy task. It requires tolerance,strength,determination and patience. Certainly, the reward is huge,and we must never shy away from such a strong religious practice.