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Eid al-Adha: Celebrating the Faith and Sacrifice of Prophet Abraham

– Nazeer Ahmed Kazi 

Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, is a profound observance that commemorates the unwavering faith and devotion of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), one of the mightiest messengers of God. Over 4,000 years ago, in the town of Ur, Babil (modern-day Iraq), a young boy named Ibrahim stood against the prevailing practices of idol worshipers, questioning their beliefs and advocating for the worship of one true God.

The Holy Quran (19:41-45) recounts Ibrahim’s plea to his father: “O dear father! Why do you worship what can neither hear nor see, nor benefit you at all? O dear father! I have certainly received some knowledge from God which you have not received, so follow me, and I will guide you to the straight path.”

Even as a young man, standing in the court of King Nimrod, Ibrahim faced numerous trials to prove his faith. His firmness in faith, combined with divine assistance, enabled him to overcome every challenge. After winning a significant debate, instead of receiving rewards, Ibrahim was condemned to be burned alive. The blazing fire was so immense that he had to be catapulted into it. Yet, with the strongest trust in his Lord, Ibrahim emerged unscathed, demonstrating his unwavering belief in the Unicity of God (Tawheed).

Scholars explain that trials either bring forgiveness for sins or elevate one’s status. Since prophets are innocent of sin, their trials serve to raise their status. Ibrahim (Abraham) was tested repeatedly, and these trials elevated him to the status of “Khaleel” (friend of God), as stated in the Quran (4:125).

Eid al-Adha specifically honors Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail, in obedience to God’s command. Recognizing Ibrahim’s profound faith, God intervened, instructing the Angel Gabriel (Jibrail) to replace Ismail with a lamb for the sacrifice. This act of divine mercy and Ibrahim’s devotion are commemorated by Muslims worldwide during Eid al-Adha.

On this day, Muslims celebrate by performing charitable acts, such as giving food and clothes to the homeless and the poor, in remembrance of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice. The celebration is a reminder of the universal values of faith, devotion, and brotherhood.

Prophet Ibrahim is revered as the patriarch of all Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His legacy, along with that of the last prophet Muhammad ﷺ, endures in the daily prayers of millions, underscoring the significance of his life and sacrifices.

Eid al-Adha is not just a traditional observance but a time for spiritual reawakening. It reminds the faithful of the importance of sacrifice and the need to apply these principles in their lives. In today’s materialistic world, plagued by political instability, racial violence, greed, and consumerism, the festival calls for a renewed commitment to faith and the spirit of sacrifice demonstrated by Prophet Abraham.

As we celebrate Eid al-Adha, we are reminded to purify our souls, refine our faith in God, and embrace the values of sacrifice, devotion, and universal brotherhood that Prophet Abraham embodied.

[The writer is Lecturer, Secab, Vijaypur]

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