Following on from the footsteps of the father of monotheism, the Prophet Ibrahim (May God be please with him), sacrificing for the sake of God became an Islamic duty. The well narrated incident when God command Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, testing the words of the Prophet to actual deeds. The attempt of Ibrahim to do what his lord commanded, determine to proof his obedience to the only God, the unique.
Ibrahim’s symbolism prevent mankind from adopting the ultimate of sacrifices: the sacrificing of man instead of lower being animals. Man is the highest of all God’s creation, under whose care other living beings are left charge of. Although, believers are commanded to have animals as food (of which are the ones permissible to us), man can domesticate any animal it has access to.
The Abrahmic tradition which is a manifestation of obeying God and tasking oneself to dutifully undertake what a true believer will always do. The prophet Muhammad continued on the Abrahmic tradition of sacrificing for the sake of Allah.
Christians unlike Muslims don’t observe any sacrifice deeming it unnecessary as they are exempted from doing any such act. The Christian reasoning of not doing animal sacrifice which can be eaten is the incidence of much higher spiritual journey.
The Christian God, the begotten son of God, Jesus Christ was sacrificed on the cross. Since Jesus is a perfect man and also of God’s stock, his death on the cross replaces any form of lower being sacrifices. Paul preaches that, Christians are exempted from male circumcision and practising animal sacrifice because Jesus’ death, his blood spilled suffices all future sacrifice for mankind. The only qualifying grounds to benefit from Jesus’ death and his blood is to believe in him as your personal saviour and lord. In short as co-equal with God.
Muslims on the other hand, carry on the sacrifice of edible animals which the Sunnah recommends for us. The act of sacrifice which some modernist Muslims avoid or down play indicates the lack of deeper understanding of the reason why the act is undertaken.
The virtues attached to observing Eidul Adha is of high merit and religiously fundamental. In Surah Al-Baqarah 2:196 God states “if any one wishes to continue the umrah on to the Hajj, he must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all.” The sacrifice of animal (hadi) comes after the fifth pillar of Islam is done with. So sacrificing for sake of Allah is not a light matter in Islam as some of us now think.
Allah further states that we should “eat of them and feed the poor and the beggar...” quran (22:36). The verse further bring to sharp focus the importance of understanding that, God does not have any need of the blood or the meat of the animals, but the piety of the worshippers that what he is interested in. This also dismisses the voodoo practise slaughtering animals for idols. The idols are said to be interested in the blood of the carcass.
The event of sacrifice (eidul-Adha) Tobaski in Senegambia is a day of thanks giving, remembrance, forgiving, friends and family reunion and a day of happiness. Therefore attending the eid prayer is a highly recommended act of Sunnah. Any Muslim who willfully abstains from it, should look into him/herself for scrutiny. Also if one attend eid congregational prayer; it becomes obligatory to listen to sermon after the two units of prayers.
The animal can be sacrifice on the day of eid after the prayers not before and also three days after the eid. Eid is a day of remembering the greatness of God. He gave us mankind the ability and the right to eat of lawful animals; therefore he should be thank for giving us that privilege. We shouldn’t engage in acts of disobedience on the day of eid like it is in some places.
Man or Animal:
Since man is the higher being in the animal kingdom. The Christians rely on the death of the sinless man, whilst in primitive cultures human sacrifice is utilise for very important rituals. Although the distinction between the Christian abstinence from animal sacrifice was a one-off bloodletting of the Son of God, which fulfill the rites to all Christians in all generation. In comparison, that singular event doesn’t eliminate the similitude with ancient human sacrifices.
God on the other hand, don’t accept the life of man to be a sacrificial ornament, we as Muslims don’t condone that. Sacrificing one’s life for the good of others can be in other avenues, i.e. defending ones country, family, own life etc but not as similar with taking the lamb to the slaughter. This is why suicide is grossly forbidden in Islam.
Animal sacrifice has much more benefit and reward. The meat is eaten, we have less ties with animals than human and the atmosphere will be jolly not sad.
Also we as Muslims don’t believe that, God sacrifice his own Son for the sin of others to come. Sin even lay people like myself can tell is ever increasing, therefore God sacrificing his only Son for us make little sense.
The virtues of eidul Adha is also enhancing an Islamic identity and also acting as a corner stone of Muslim unity. A departure from pagan festivals during the early days of the Islamic religion. Increase brotherhood among Muslims by sharing the meat; greet each other and gaining reward. A further test as to whether men of religion will use their wealth in acts of worship. Spending on the family, friends, the poor, the love of material versus the love of God.
May God accept our efforts and forgive us the sins committed. Amen.
Happy Eidul Adha in advance.