Sunday, December 31, 2006

Eid Mubarak | Blessed be the Eid

Today is one of the largest Muslims festivals, Eid-ul-Adha (or Festival of Sacrifice), here in Singapore. I wish you all a blessed Eid. Eid Mubarak!

Eid-ul-Adha marks the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca. This Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish willingness even to sacrificing his own son Ishmael to God.

History | The history behind Eid-ul-Adha follows the story of the faithful Abraham, who was instructed by God in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, a black stone and house for God, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which the Muslims face during their prayers (salat). Immediately responding to the Lord’s call, Abraham set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael. At that time, Mecca was a desolate and barren desert and Abraham had to face a lot of hardships. However, he supplicated God’s commands uncomplaining.

In a divine dream, he also saw himself sacrificing his son Ishmael for God’s sake. When he told this to Ishmael, the latter immediately asked his father to carry out Lord’s commands without faltering and assured that he was completely ready to give up his life for God. But miraculously enough, when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, God spared the boy’s life and replaced him with a lamb. And this is what Abraham ultimately sacrificed.

To commemorate this outstanding act of sacrifice (qurbani) by Prophet Abraham, people sacrifice a lamb, goat, ram or any other animal on Eid-ul-Adha and give the meat to friends, neighbors, relatives and the needy. People who are away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this traditional sacrifice. Hence Eid-ul-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Day of Sacrifice.
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