Image credit: http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/17/10-thoughts-every-young-muslim-has-during-eid-5299928/
So guess what? The “greater” Eid has arrived – even though we spent 30 days fasting to earn the other one!
Eid Al-Adha or Eid Qurbani, meaning the Eid of Sacrifice, is at the heart of Islam, central to the pilgrimage of hajj, and momentous on the Islamic calendar. Some of our friends and family will be lucky enough to be in the holy city of Mecca right about now, while we’re raiding the high streets and supermarkets in Britain in preparation for the special occasion.
If your parents are from South Asia you’ll probably be getting ready to share samosas and jalabi, and confronting the massive queues at your local Ambala branch to buy sweets for neighbours whose names you still don’t quite know. If you’re from the Middle East, you might be sharing lamb dishes and baqlawa in and around town. If you’re Turkish, your shopping endeavours will take you towards ingredients for kebab, haleem and kurma in grocery shops across the road. Not to mention, Egyptians will be dishing out pasta, syrup and cream for a delicious konafeh, while Pakistanis will be dyeing their rice yellow for the zarda recipe.
As Eid is a time for fresh chances and renewed hope, Muslims all over the world are encouraged to buy new clean clothing for the occasion, which was a sunnah, or practice of the Prophet Mohammed – perfect excuse for a bit of retail therapy! The patient among us will have saved their pennies for this moment, buying new garments and fabrics for Eid clothing. Tailors and sewing machines will be particularly active this week.
So where did it all come from? The story of Prophet Ibraheem. Prophet Ibraheem, or Abraham, is described in the Qur’an as being a kind, gentle and humble person, opening and welcoming even to strangers. There’s something beautiful to take from this back-story; Ibraheem opened his heart and home to others and invited them to the message of One God – something we can emulate in the melting pots we’re living in.
God tested Ibraheem with many difficult trials and he overcame each one with patience and devotion. The last of these trials was when God asked Ibraheem to sacrifice his only son Isma’eel. But God told him to stop the moment that Ibraheem showed intent to fulfil the command, and a sheep was sacrificed instead. Ibraheem showed God that he was willing to give up even his most prized possession in wholehearted devotion.
Millions of Muslims re-enact the trials of Ibraheem and his family in the city of Mecca every year during hajj. On the day of sacrifice, a designated animal is slaughtered and its meat distributed to the poor. The pilgrims then head to Mina and Mecca for the closing rituals.
The story of Ibraheem teaches us lessons in how to be curious but kind, logical but devoted. These are universal qualities that we can implement in our daily lives. In addition to the occasional feasting of course!
From all of us at Ummahsonic: Merry Eid and Eid Mubarak.