x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The celebrations and sacrifices of Eid Al Adha

During the celebration of “the big Eid” or Eid Al Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember the Prophet Ibrahim’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel or goat.

Dear Ali: What do Muslims do when celebrating Eid Al Adha? And is it different from one emirate to another? AB, Abu Dhabi

Dear AB: A happy and blessed Eid to all of us. When it comes to the celebration of the festivity, on the first morning, Muslims around the world will attend a morning prayer. This will be followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings. There are no major differences from one emirate to another, nor from one Muslim country to another, in terms of the celebration itself. But it may differ when it comes to each family – some of them give money to the little children, and some even exchange gifts. Many Emirati families make sure to greet all their family members on the first day of Eid Al Adha, and the second and third day of the holidays are used for hanging out with friends or to go on picnics, to hotels, or, since the weather is getting better, many families spend time at the desert.

Dear Ali: Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal for Ed Al Adha? And does the act symbolise anything specifically? WY, Al Ain

Dear WY: During the celebration of “the big Eid” or Eid Al Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember the Prophet Ibrahim’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith. Allah has given Muslims power over animals and allowed them to eat meat, but only if Muslims pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah – “Bismillah al rahman al rahim” (“In the name of Allah the most gracious and merciful”) – at the time of slaughter, Muslims are reminded that life is sacred. That is one of the main reasons how Muslims consider any food halal, meaning it’s considered “lawful”. Many people don’t know this, but most of the meat that is received from the slaughtering from the sacrifice of Eid Al Adha is given away to those who are in need. This act symbolises Muslims’ willingness to give up things that are of benefit to them in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolises our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. Muslims recognise that all blessings come from Allah, and that Muslims should open their hearts and share with others. This act has nothing to do with atoning for Muslims’ sins or using the blood to wash them from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations. The symbolism of this act is in Muslims’ attitude, basically showing and proving the willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the straight path. A real and true Muslim is someone who submits his or herself completely to the almighty Allah. To be willing to accept and abide by Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It’s this strength of heart, purity in faith and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.

Ali Al Saloom is a cultural adviser and public speaker from the UAE. Follow @AskAli on Twitter, and visit www.ask-ali.com to ask him a question and to find his guidebooks to the UAE, priced at Dh50.

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