By Naeem Baig
“Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) is the second celebration of the year according to Islamic Calendar (called Hijri) for Muslims all over the world. This Eid comes right after the end of ‘Hajj” (the Pilgrimage). The Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and is obligatory on both male and female adult Muslims who have the health and financial means to perform this important duty.
According to Islamic teachings, the rituals of the Hajj and the Eid al-Adha commemorate the sacrifices made by Prophet Abraham and his family in seeking the closeness and mercy of God, Almighty. Muslims learn how Abraham who grew up in a respectable family was unhappy with the corruption in his society. Once he recognized and found God, Almighty then his whole life was served in seeking His Love and Mercy.
During Hajj, men wearing only two white sheets and women dressed in simple modest clothes are seeking only the Love of God, Almighty. Rich and poor dressed the same and standing together in worship. Walking in circles around the Kaa’ba (the house of God in Makkah, Saudi Arabia) reciting His Praise with their hearts beating in rhythm with the words and the steps. A state of immense spiritual experience where the human is all alone in his conversation with His God, reciting:
Labbayk Allahumma labbayk, labbayk la shareeka laka labbayk, innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal-mulk, la shareeka lak.
“I respond to Your call, O Allah I respond to Your call. I respond to Your call, You have no partner. I respond to Your call. Indeed, the praise and grace are yours as well as sovereignty. You have no partner.”
On the 10th day of the last month (Zul Hijjah) of the Islamic Calendar, Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid al-Adha. The day starts with the special Eid prayers. Imams in their sermons remind the worshippers to remember the example of Abraham.
“Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, does good and follows the way of Abraham, the true in Faith? For God did take Abraham for a friend.” Quran (4:125)
Eid is a day of sharing and caring. On this Eid, Muslims who can afford to offer a sacrifice of an animal (sheep, goat, cow or camel) are required to do it and then distribute the meat in 3 portions. One for the poor, one for the family and friends and one to keep at home. This is a lesson to be practiced throughout our lives. Seek happiness in sharing, take care of those whom you know and whom you do not know. And by doing that find what Abraham found, “friendship of God”.”
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.