Eid-ul-Adha, literally means ‘festival of sacrifice’. Here, animal sacrifice is only symbolic. Real sacrifice is to be made by the people of faith themselves.. The Quran refers to a historical event, as a role model for this act of sacrifice. Prophet Abraham sacrificed an animal, but it was a symbolic sacrifice. The real sacrifice, on his part, was that he dedicated his son, for a peaceful mission. This mission is referred in the Quran as zibh azeem (37:107). It means GREAT SACRIFICE, but Prophet Abraham never slaughtered his son; he only dedicated his son for a purpose, that is, to live in a desert and to produce a new peaceful generation that is called Banu Ismail (Children of Ismail). Celebrating this event annually, means that the faithful should pledge to follow the example of Ismail.
Muslims ritually sacrifice an animal, but the real purpose is to pledge that we will dedicate ourselves to a peaceful divine mission. Eid-ul-Adha is a day of pledge for a dedicated life rather than a day of some ritual act. At present, the greatest need for the divine mission , is to remove the misunderstandings developed about the religion of Islam, that is, thinking Islam to be a religion of violence. This is the zibh azeem for the present times.
Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated at the end of a full month of fasting —- Ramzan. The purpose is to train Muslims to live a self-restrained life. After the completion of this period, they celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr as SHUKR; that is to acknowledge God’s help for being able to complete this month of training. On the other hand, Eid-ul-Adha is for inculcating the spirit of dedication for the peaceful Islamic cause. In Eid-ul-Fitr, the role model is Prophet Muhammad. And the model of Eid-ul-Adha is Prophet Abraham. Eid-ul-Fitr reflects the spirit of SABR (patience), while Eid-ul-Adha reflects the spirit of SACRIFICE. Both are equally important for the daily life of a faithful person.
The Quran refers to Prophet Abraham, as an exemplary character for the faithful. The Quran reminds Muslims of how Prophet Abraham, along with his family, dedicated his life for the peaceful divine mission. Muslims are required to remember this example of Eid-ul-Adha every year and pledge to follow it. ——–Maulana Wahiuddin Khan.
M. Rajaque Rahman writes, “Prophet Abraham was ready to sacrifice something very dear to him. For Ibrahim (Abraham) Ismail was not just a son, but the most loved possession of an old father. Ibrahim was confronted with an internal conflict to choose between God and his only son. The moment he overcame his attachment and selfish feelings, God saved Ismail and sent a male sheep instead. And that marks the tradition of animal sacrifice around Eid-ul-Adha. –Sacrificing an animal was and is just physical symbolism. It’s important to ask ourselves if we are giving up something of intense value as Ibrahim did. Ibrahim’s act of submission was only a symbolism for genuine surrender to the will of God, which is clearly revealed in the Quran : ‘It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him (22:37). The essence of qurbani is of sacrificing something we really love, of letting go of what we think is the most important thing to us. It could be anything that stops us from remaining God-conscious, anything we are attached to or entangled with, like our family, job, power, position, ego, anger and arrogance, greed or jealousy or obsession. This Eid, let us identify and sacrifice something with which we have the same type of emotional and mental attachment that Ibrahim had with his son.’