The story of Eid Al Adha is the story of testing Prophet Ibrahim’s faith in Allah. Throughout the life of Prophet Ibrahim, he did not have a son, and only in his old age did Allah bestow him with a son. Prophet Ibrahim dearly loved his son. As Prophet Ismail grew older, Ibrahim had a dream that was sacrificing his beloved son, Ibrahim’s believe that the dream is a message from Allah, a trial
Ibrahim passes the test and a ram was substituted for sacrifice in place of his son. Thus, the father and the son became role models for true Muslims; those who fulfill Allah’s will before their own. Ibrahim, after waiting for so long for an heir promised by Allah, is now required to sacrifice him. Ismail, on the other hand, was asked to make the supreme sacrifice; his own life.
The story was about a trial of the will and the faith of both the father and the son. Ibrahim was tested on the priorities of his faith, love, and trust. Ismail was tested for Allah’s obedience.
As today remind us, our willingness to give up some of our own bounties in order to strengthen and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from God, and we should open our hearts and share with others. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid Al Adha is given away in three ways; self, relatives and the poor. It is a symbolic act of sharing with people who are malnourished and less fortunate then us.
For me, Eid Al Adha was always a time to reflect upon the willing sacrifices that we must make - not just the sacrifices that occur due to adversity. We often find ourselves in situations that require personal sacrifice, but rarely do we make a clear intention to give in sacrifice or to practice the art of sacrifice.
As an adult who is now living in a small town with Muslims who are culturally and ethnically different from myself, my forms of celebration have had to change a bit. Whereas large community gatherings characterized the Eid celebrations of my youth, today celebrations are much more traditional and ritualistic. The emphasis on tradition and ritual in my new community have been of great benefit to me as I seek more integrated ways of instilling a sense of Holy Day vs. holiday in my kids. Although we miss some of the uniquely Malaysian traditions of the Eid, we are beginning to settle into a very comfortable approach to the Eid that is a very spiritually infused form of celebration.