Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eid al-Adha

Imagine looking around and seeing millions of individuals with the same faith performing alongside you the exact same rites. Imagine wearing a simple white garment and praying with others all dressed in the same modest attire, and not knowing whether the person next to you is the CEO of a multibillion-dollar corporation or the poorest, welfare dependent individual who saved his fortunes for this occasion.

This is only a part of the Hajj experience, the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah. The rituals that Muslims perform on Hajj symbolize many of the experiences of the Prophet Abraham. Muslims for example, on the 10th day of the pilgrimage, throw seven pebbles at a stone pillar that represents the devil. This act recalls Abraham’s throwing of stones at Satan when he tried to dissuade Abraham from sacrificing his son. After this rite, the pilgrims sacrifice a sheep, reenacting the story of Abraham, who, in place of his son, sacrificed a sheep that God had provided as a substitute. It is on this tenth day of pilgrimage that Muslims conclude the hajj, and it is on this day, that Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha is the second of the two Muslim annual holidays and it commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Throughout the world, Muslims after an early-morning prayer, slaughter an animal and distribute the meat among family, friends, poor and needy people in the community. On this day, Muslims meet with their family and friends, and greet them (or Facebookwall them) with “Eid-Mubarak” or Happy Eid. Because the Muslim calendar is lunar-based, Eid can occur at any time throughout the course of one’s life (it’s only a coincidence that this years Eid occurred alongside Hanukah or Christmas-by 2020 for example, Muslims will be performing Eid around the end of July) In any case, regardless of when Eid al-Adha occurs, expect the Muslims to get loose, possibly wearing some traditional clothes, chilling with their friends and families, and uncorking all the fake-wine you can imagine.

-Umar Qadri

3 comments:

bakra said...

Fake wine rocks.

Aside from that, is the Jewish story of Abraham similar?

Jeremy Avins said...

As for fake wine, the Manischewitz wine Jews often drink at holiday time is so sweet and has such a low alcohol content that it might as well be considered fake.

As for Abraham, I believe the stories have a lot of similarities, with the main exception being that in the Torah the focus is on Isaac rather than Ishmael (though G-d does promise to make a great nation from Ishmael). I tried to find the story of the sacrifice in the Quran, but didn't have much luck. If someone could help direct me where to look that would be great.

A couple questions:
What is Isaac's role in the Quran and Islam in general?

Is Ishmael considered to be the forerunner of the Muslims or the Arabs? If it's the latter, how do non-Arab Muslims relate to him?

Merry Christmas to all those eating Chinese food and watching movies!

Skhan said...

@Jeremy: Peace be unto you. In the Holy Qur'an, Abraham and both his sons Ishaq (Isaac) and Ismail (Ishmael), peace be upon them are prophets. Ishaq's descendents are the Jews and Ismail's are the Arabs. From Ishaq's line came many fine prophets (Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus-the Messiah in Islam, peace be upon them). From Ismail's line came Muhammad, peace be upon him, the final prophet who came to bring the world back to G-d's true religion. Because both Ishaq and Ismail are seen as prophets, we as Muslims, whether Arab or not must follow both of them. In fact, there is a mosque in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. It's not like the Jews or Arabs are some sort of holy race, no. What sets the Jews apart is that G-d sent so many prophets to them, and blessed the Jews so much. What sets the Arabs apart is that the final prophet, Muhammad peace be upon him, was one of their people and was sent to bring the message of G-d to the whole world, not just the Jews.