Clipper Staff Writer
The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha is a festival of sacrifice, and one which Christians can identify with, especially this time of year, when thoughts turn to helping those in need.
At the end of the Hajj (the annual pilgrimage to Mecca) Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice), which involves slaughtering an animal, one-third of which is given to the poor. Eid al-Adha begins on Dec. 8 this year and lasts for three days.
The festival commemorates Abraham’s trials, especially of his willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command. by slaughtering an animal, an action which is often misunderstood outside the faith.
According to Islam.about.com, Allah (God) has given Muslims power over animals and allows them to eat meat, but only if his name is pronounced at the solemn act of taking life.
In a ritual which is performed the same throughout the year, those killing an animal will say the name of Allah, being reminded that life is sacred.
During Eid al-Adha, the immediate family eats one-third of the meat from the sacrifice, another third is given to friends, and the other third to the poor.
“The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts in order to follow Allah’s commands,” the article states. “It also symbolizes our willingness to give up one of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.”
The article explains the sacrifice has nothing to do with atoning for sin or using the blood to wash sin away, but demonstrates an attitude to make sacrifices in one’s life to stay on the straight path.
The festival takes part on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijja, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
The calendar has about 354 days. Because this lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, Islamic holy days, although celebrated on fixed dates in their own calendar, usually shift 11 days earlier each successive solar year, so Eid al-Adha is not celebrated in December every year. However, it is always celebrated following the Hajj.