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The Feast of Sacrifice

The 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah is ‘Eid’ul Adha’ or ‘The Feast of Sacrifice’, occurring on 11.8.18 this year.

It says in the Quran, “When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Abraham, he said, ‘My son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you think?’ He said, ‘Father do as you are commanded and, God willing, you will find me steadfast.’ When they had both submitted to God, and he had laid his son down on the side of his face, We called out to him, ‘Abraham, you have fulfilled the dream.’ This is how we reward those who do good – it was a test to prove their true characters – We ransomed his son with a momentous sacrifice, and We let him be praised by succeeding generations: ‘Peace be upon Abraham!’ This is how We reward those who do good: truly they were among Our faithful servants. (Quran 37:102-111)

On this day, Muslims and Sufis remember Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God. Abraham was then instructed by God to sacrifice a sheep instead, the same being done for the pilgrims on Hajj and then distributed to the needy. Likewise Muslims around the world sacrifice a sheep, which are also distributed amongst the poor.

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham says, “On the spiritual level, this sacrifice signifies slaughtering one’s self desires with the knife of courage against heart diseases such as hatred, jealousy, pride, greed, animosity and love for this world. The reward for such sacrifice comes from God Himself and cannot be counted.”

“The flesh and blood of the animals does not reach Allah, but what reaches Him is the spirit of your piety.” (Quran 22:37)

The pilgrims on Hajj complete the rites of the day by stoning the Jamarat, three stone pillars erected in the same place where the devil tried to tempt Abraham, who in response threw stones at him. The men performing Hajj also have their heads shaved on this day.

In his Farewell Hajj, on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, standing between the Jamarat, the Prophet said, “This is the greatest day.” And then said repeatedly, “O Allah. Be witness that I have conveyed your message.”

In reality this is the sacrifice of one’s own self. At the beginning, the pigrim is prepared to sacrifice their health, wealth, strength and time on Hajj, but now their Hajj is drawing to an end, the pilgrim symbolically sacrifices their most precious possession – their life, for God.

For Muslims and Sufis not on Hajj around the world, this is a happy time to eat and celebrate together.