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> Eid-al-Adha Sermon by Imam Kalamazad
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There are two major festival in Islam: Id-ul-Fitr or Eid-ul-Fitr (the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast), which comes after the month of Fasting, and Id-ul-Adha or Eid-ul-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice), which is performed by pilgrims as part of the devotions pertaining to the Hajj (Pilgrimage) and which is replicated by Muslims all over the world to coincide with this great event. This festival commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to obey the command of Allah to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, and the sons readiness to submit.
As regards Id-ul-Adha, which is called the Greater Id, Ghulam Sarwar states:
"Id-ul-Adha begins on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah and continues until the 12th day of the month. It is celebrated to commemorate Prophet Abrahams readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the command of Allah. Allah accepted Abrahams devotion and obedience and asked him to sacrifice a lamb instead" (Islam, Beliefs and Teachings, p. 184).
An account of this incident is given to us in the Holy Quran in chapter 37. After escaping from his idolatrous tribe who had thrown him into a fire for his refusal to worship anyone or anything except Allah, the one true God, Prophet Abraham turned to his Maker for refuge and guidance. The following verses give us the rest of the narrative:
And he said: Surely I flee to my Lord He will guide me. My Lord, grant me a doer of good deeds. So We gave him the good news of a forbearing son. But when he became of age to work with him, he said: O my son, I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice thee; so consider what thou seest. He said: O my father, do as thou art commanded: if Allah please, thou wilt find me patient. So when they both submitted and he had thrown him down upon his forehead, and We called out to him saying, O Abraham, thou hast indeed fulfilled the vision. Thus do We reward the doers of good. Surely this is a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (37:99-107).
The writer continues:
"This occasion of great importance comes every year during the days of Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) and is observed by offering congregational prayer, as in Id-ul-Fitr.
In this regard, the Holy Quran informs us:
And for every nation We appointed acts of devotion that they might mention the name of Allah on what He has given them of the cattle quadrupeds. So your God is One God, therefore to Him should you submit. And give good news to the humble, whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, and who are patient in their afflictions, and who keep up prayer, and spend of what We have given them. And the camels, We have made them of the signs appointed by Allah for you for you therein is much good. So mention the name of Allah on them standing in a row. Then when they fall down on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented one and the beggar. Thus have We made them subservient to you that you may be grateful. Not their flesh, nor their blood, reaches Allah, but to Him is acceptable observance of duty on your part. Thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah for guiding you aright. And give good news to those who do good to others (22:34-37).
According to Maulana Muhammad Ali:
"It will thus be seen that Islam has invested the principle of sacrifice with a new meaning. The institution of sacrifice has been accepted in one form or another by all the nations of the world. Like all other religious principles which are universally recognised, the principle of sacrifice finds a deeper meaning in Islam. The outward act is still there as of old, but it no longer conveys the meaning attached to it in some ancient religions, namely, that of appeasing an offended deity or serving as an atonement for sin. In Islam it signifies the sacrifice of the sacrificer himself, and thus becomes an outward symbol of his readiness to lay down his life, and to sacrifice all his interests and desires in the cause of truth. The animal that is sacrificed really stands for the animal in man, so that the outward sacrifice of the animal reminds man of the necessity for the sacrifice of the animal within him. And one day, and one particular moment on that day, is chosen so that all Muslim hearts from one end of the world to the other may pulsate with one idea at a particular moment, and thus lead to the development of the idea of self-sacrifice in the community as a whole (The Religion of Islam, p. 365).