Accra Mail (Accra)

12 February 2003

Ghana: The Significance of Eid-Ul-Adha in Islam

opinion

Accra — Once again the Islamic calendar is getting to an end and Muslims the world over are celebrating Eid-Ul-Adha, which simply translated means the feast of sacrifice.

The Eid-Ul-Adha prayers are very important for Muslims. It has the merits of the five daily prayers and the Friday prayers called Jumu'ah. It is also the annual reunion between Muslims all over the world.

This reunion manifests itself in the annual pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina where over two million Muslims are gathered to perform the prescribed religious rites ordained by the Almighty Allah.

Eid-Ul-Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu-I-hijah, the last month of the Muslim year following completion of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), an extremely devotional journey.

The celebration of Eid-Ul-Adha is in commemoration of the command give by Allah to Prophet Abraham (may Allah be pleased with him) to sacrifice his first born son Ishmael to Him. The fulfilment of this noble command of Allah by Abraham signifies his faith in Allah.

Eid-Ul-Adha is therefore a unique occasion in every way. There is no similarity in any other religion or any other socio-political system. Besides its highly spiritual and moral characteristic, it has matchless qualities.

Each festival is a celebration of remarkable achievement of the individual Muslim in the service of Allah. Unlike the Eid-Ul-Fitr, which comes after one month of absolute fasting in the month of Ramadan, Eid-Ul-Adha marks the completion of pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca (Hajj), through which Muslims demonstrate their renouncing of mundane concerns and hearken to the eternal voice of Allah.

Eid-Ul-Adha is a day of remembrance. Even in the most joyful times, the Muslim makes a fresh start of the day by a session of congregational prayers to Allah in an open space.

Muslims use the occasion to pray to Allah and to glorify His name to demonstrate the remembrance of His grace and favours. Muslims also remember the deceased by praying for their souls to rest in peace. The needy and vulnerable in society are also remembered by showing them sympathy and consolation.

Eid-Ul-Adha marks a day of victory for the Muslim. The individual Muslim who succeeds in securing his spiritual rights and growth receives the Eid- with a victorious spirit. The Muslim who faithfully observes the duties which are associated with Eid, is a triumphant one. He proves that he holds a strong command over his desires, exercises self-control and enjoys the test of disciplinary life. And once a person acquires these qualities, he has achieved his greatest victory, because the person who knows how to control himself and disciplines his passion, is free from sin and wrong, from fear and cowardice, from vice and indecency, from jealousy and greed, from humiliation and all other causes of enslavement.

Eid-Ul-Adah is also a harvest day. All good works in the service of Allah, all the faithful believers reap the fruits of their good deeds on the day as Allah grants his mercy and blessing abundantly.

The day is also a day of forgiveness. When Muslims assemble in the congregation of the day, they whole-heartedly pray for forgiveness and strength of faith. And God has assured those who approach Him with sincerity of His mercy and forgiveness. In that pure assembly and highly spiritual congregation any true Muslim will feel ashamed of himself before God to hold any enmity or ill feeling towards his brother. A true Muslim would be deeply impressed by this brotherly and spiritual assembly, and would overcome his ill feeling if he has been exposed to any.

Consequently, he would find himself moving along with others responding to the spirit of the day to purify his heart and soul.

It is hoped that this year's Eid-Ul-Adha will bring peace in Ghana and the world at large.

It is also hoped that our brothers and sisters of Dagbon will reflect soberly in this festive occasion, bury their individual and collective differences and give peace a chance.

Peace be unto you and the love of God.

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