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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reason and meaning of Eid Al Adha ( Festival of Sacrifice)

Even though i have spent considerable amount of time in Gulf i have never ever given a thought about the Eid Al Adha and there is so much to the history and traditions of the lands in Middle East. In fact yesterday I saw the English movie " The Message " on the TV which got me thinking about this festival. Holidays are announced here from the 15th November on account of Eid Al Adha ( Bakrid as we know it) for 5 days.... and it has given me lots of time to relax and  think about the various aspects of life and my surrounding.So I decided to know more about Eil Al Adha and started reading few blogs i follow and on the net and also share with you all.

Are you aware that this is Eid is being celebrated to mark Ibrahim's( Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his first born son Ismail ( Ismael)  to the god as an act of obedience and devotion. God then seeing that Ibrahim was bent upon carrying out his order was pleased and requested Ibrahim to substitute the son with a ram. Hence Muslims all over the world would sacrifice a goat on this day to commemorate the ultimate act of sacrifice by Ibrahim by laying down the life of the dearest and loved one to please Allah.The meat from the sacrificed lamb is divided in three portions... one for family, one for friends and relatives and the third for poor and needy.

Muslims from world over undertake pilgrimage to Mecca during this time( between 8th day and 12 days of the last month of Islamic calender Dhu Al Hijja)  and these have been undertaken for thousands of years from the time of Ibrahim. Traditionally a devotee has to go around the Kaaba several times,run back and forth between the hills of Al Safa and Al Marwa, drink water from Zamzam spring ( It is said that Angel Gabriel struck the ground and the spring Zamzam rushed out when Ibrahim was coming to Mecca from Palestine and Ismail was dying of thirst),got to the plains of Mount Arafat and stand vigil and then throw stones at the pillar symbolizing the stoning of the devil. Pilgrims then have to shave their heads and conduct the ritual sacrifice on the day of the Eid.

I was watching BBC yesterday and i was told that over 2 million devotee have assembled to conduct the above rituals and because of such a huge crowd most of the rituals would have been shortened  for it would be near to impossible for everyone to carry out the ritual as practiced in the earlier times.

Date of Eid varies each year as per the Gregorian calender since the Islamic calender is based on a lunar month and each month starts only after siting of the moon.... hence it advances each year by 10-12 days as per Gregorian calender. One thing has always puzzled me as regards to different dates on which Eid al Fitr or Eid Al Adha is celebrated in various countries. These are modern times with instant communication through telephony or through internet and the moon sighting can be shared between countries and the festival could be celebrated the same day world over.... but no generally you would see that Eid is celebrated one day later in India..... reason given is that the moon sighting committee has to personally see the moon quadrant.

Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friend !!!!!!

Well i think i have written nothing new this festival , for scores of people, historians and blogger's have written almost identically but the only thing is that my friend would now the meaning and tradition behind the Eid celebration !!
An interesting fact i read on the net is that there is a  similar story in Christianity and Judaism but then Abraham selects his second son Isaac not the elder son Ishmael.So interlinked are these three religion which only proves that there is one God !!