Yesterday, the 10th day of Zhul Hijja in the Islamic calendar, was Eid-el-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. Following the directive by the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto, government declared today Monday and Tuesday as public holidays to mark the Sallah celebration.
The Eid el Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) is a symbolic act denoting Allah’s benevolence, mercies and guidance. For the scripture says “ Allah is One, He does not delight in flesh or blood but a symbol of thanksgiving to Almighty by sharing meat with fellow men”. It is incumbent on the person offering sacrifice to distribute the meat among relatives, neighbors and friends, and the poor who cannot afford.
He further says “It is not their meat, nor their blood that reaches Allah, it is your piety that reaches Him”. Q 22:337
The animal sacrifice made by Muslims is a preservation of the Sunnah (tradition) of Prophet Abraham. It was one of Abraham’s trial, the command, through a dream, from Allah to sacrifice his only son, and he proceeded to submit to Allah’s will and command. And this is the true essence of Islam, submission to Allah SWT.
“And We called out to him, O Abraham! Thou has already fulfilled the dream. Thus do We reward those who do right. For this was a trial, and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice”.
Through the act of sacrifice we are reminded that life is sacred. It also symbolizes that we are ready to give up things that are dear to us, out of faith and sincerity, in order to heed to Allah’s command.
As Muslims endeavor to fulfill this obligation we all should be mindful of those who are hungry in our community, the deprived, widows and less privileged. We are aware of the harsh economic situation threatening to frustrate intention of many Muslims to perform this sacrificial rite.
The recession has affected the price of rams, just like it has affected all other economic activities in the country. Many markets were devoid of the usual crowd as there were fewer buyers. But Islam does not enforce yearly sacrifice of rams; it is only for those who can afford it.
We pray that all Muslims will benefit from these sacred days by reflecting and embracing the lessons of commitment and sacrifice from the life of Prophet Abraham.
Muslims should pray for the unity of Nigerians, more so at this trying times when we are faced with issues of ethnic and religious division. What we need now are not calls that tend to disunite us.
What we need are hard work and a change of mindset. We must have faith and continue to pray for our country so that we witness an end to kidnappings, violence and other vices bedeviling our land.
As we are in the Eid festive season, we should remember the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW’s exhortation in his last sermon, “Beware of Shaytan for the safety of your religion. He has lost hope of leading you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things”.
We pray Muslims will continue to fear Allah and His commands because everyone will one inevitable day give account of his or her deeds on the Day of Judgment.
While calling on government to be more determined in its resolve to provide dividends of democracy, we wish all our brothers and sisters of the Muslim faith a happy Barka da Sallah!