Aidiladha – The meaning and its significance
Aidiladha or Eid al-Adha, or “Festival of Sacrifice”, is celebrated by Muslims to mark the occasion when Allah (God) appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, to demonstrate his devotion to the Almighty.
Ignoring the advice of the Devil, who tried to tempt Ibrahim into disobeying God by saying he should spare Ishmael, Ibrahim was about to press ahead with the sacrifice when Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to kill instead.
The story is designed to demonstrate how Ibrahim’s devotion passed even the sternest test, and is told in similar fashion in the Jewish Torah and Christian Old Testament, where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. It is hard to give up things that are close to our hearts, but that is what sacrifice is all about.
When is Aidiladha or Eid al-Adha celebrated?
MUSLIMS in Malaysia and most of their brethern around the world will observe Aidiladha, which means the “Feast of the Sacrifice” on 31st August, 2017. The day is a public holiday in Muslim countries, and the festival’s Arabic title has connotations of a period of rejoicing that comes back time and again.
Aidiladha also marks the end of the haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, when millions of Muslims make the mandatory journey to the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Muslims will sacrifice cows, goats, lambs, among other animals in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah and, after that, distribute the meat to family and neighbours as well as the needy. They begin the day with morning prayers at the mosque, followed by visits to family and friends and the exchange of food. Prophet Ibrahim’s act of faith conveys a powerful message : making sacrifices should be a part of our everyday activities and not merely a once-a-year occurrence.
When Muslims assemble in the congregation of prayer on this day, they will pray for forgiveness and strength of faith. They will find themselves responding to the spirit of the day to purify their hearts and souls. Aidiladha urges Muslims to fully grasp the spiritual meaning of sacrificing in the name of Allah and for the good of mankind.
Aidiladha or Eid al-Adha is not to be confused with the other major festival, Eid al-Fitr, or festival of breaking of the fast, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.