Eidul Adha, a Muslim global holiday By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong Imam, Masjid AlKhairi, Manila, Philippines [Originally posted at http://dimapunong.sulekha.com ] December 30, 2006, was a Muslim holiday. The exact date is the corresponding date in the lunar Hijrah calendar which is the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. This holiday is called Eidul Adha to the Arabs, Eid-e Qurban for Persians and Kurban Bayrami for Turkish. The exact spelling is the corresponding Arabic script. If one has to search the Internet about it, the spelling in English could be Eidl Adha, Eid ul Adha, Eid al-Adha, or Eidul Adha. In my country, the Philippines, Eidul Adha is recognized officially by the Government as a Muslim holiday. By virtue of a law which was recently signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Eidul Adha is now a National Holiday in this country. It is among regular holidays under the Administrative Code. Before the law was signed, Eidul Adha used to be just a holiday for the Muslims only. Witnessed by Muslim legislators and diplomatic personalities from the Organization of Islamic Countries, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the law last November 13, 2002 at Malacanang Palace. The law also proclaims Eidul Fitr as a Muslim regular holiday in the same way as Eidul Adha. The Eidul Fitr takes its name from the Fitrah which is an obligatory religious Tax (Zakat) to be paid by all financially able Muslims. Fitra becomes due and obligatory upon sighting of the moon of the month of Shawwal and in the Hijrah calendar. Fitra is recommended to be paid before the prayer of Eidul Fitr. Eidul Adha marks the completion of the annual hajj, the pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. On this occasion, I wish every Muslim a great holiday and I congratulate all who perform the annual hajj this year. At the end of the Hajj, Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eidul Adha. Eidul Adha is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice. The sacrifice is called Qurban. It lasts for three days and commemorates Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to obey God-Allah by offering to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. It was with a heavy heart that Abraham agreed to sacrifice his son but he was ready to show his loyalty to his Lord. The feeling of Abraham's son, Ishmael, was also the same as that of his father. Both of them were committed to follow the commandment of God-Allah. Abraham drew his knife to slaughter his son but just as the knife drew near, God-Allah intervened and Ibrahim's son was replaced by a sheep. Ibrahim and Ishmael were was so happy that they were relieved when they saw that it was a sheep that was slaughtered. Ishmael was safe. God-Allah had asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his son to test his faith in Islam and when Abraham proved that he was willing to do it, God-Allah did not need him to commit the slaughter of his beloved son. Being obedient to God-Allah, Ibrahim is described in the Holy Quran as follows: "Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous." (Qur'an 16:120-121) The Feast of Sacrifice re-enacts Ibrahim's obedience to God-Allah. It is done by pilgrims and all Muslims by sacrificing a cow, a ram, or a goat. The family eats about a third of the meal and donates the rest to the poor. During the Hajj, the pilgrims perform rituals in remembrance and in commemoration of the trials and triumphs of Prophet Ibrahim, peace is on him. Ibrahim’s trial was to face the command of Allah to kill his son, Ishmael, as a sacrifice. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah's will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his offer for sacrifice had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord was above all and everything else, that he would lay down his own life or his son in order to submit to God-Allah. During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, all Muslims commemorate Ibrahim's trial by slaughtering an animal such as a cow, sheep, camel, or goat. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One- third is for the family and relatives, two-thirds for others, especially to the poor. The act symbolizes a Muslim’s willingness to give certain things, in order to follow Allah's commands. It also symbolizes a Muslim’s willingness to give up one’s own bounties in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. On the morning of every Eidul Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques or any suitable places. Eidul Adha begins with a short prayer (Salat) followed by a sermon (Kutbah) that is delivered by the Imam. For the pilgrims in Makkah, the sermon is delivered from Mount Arafat. For others, prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. The charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eidul Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during this day. On his last pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad, peace is on him, pronounced the final seal on the religion of Islam, coming immediately after the Day of Mount Arafat. The day before Eid al-Adha is the Day of Arafat' or the Day of Hajj when millions of Muslims make the journey to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform a pilgrimage of religious rites known as the Hajj. Virtually all of the rites and rituals of Hajj are based on the actions of Prophet Abraham. These acts were re-implemented by Prophet Muhammad, peace is on him. Even the Kaa'ba, also known as Masjid El Harram, in Makkah was originally built by Abraham and his two sons. Masjid El Harram is now a huge complex. Within this complex Masjid is located a holy plinth to remind pilgrims of Prophet Ibrahim and Ishmael. During Eidul Adha, Muslims greet each other by saying "Eid Mubarak". On this occasion, may I say Eid Mubarak to everyone.