This past Thursday and Friday was a holiday for Muslim’s around the world. Eid al-Adha is one of the largest Holiday’s for Muslims. To get a little background information it is a festival of sacrifice that began on Thursday evening and continues until the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. The festival begins on the 10th day of the last Islamic month on the calendar, Dhu al-Hjjjah. This holiday is meant to honor Abraham’s sacrifice of his only son Ishmael to Allah as an act of obedience. Allah (God) spared Ishmael after seeing Abraham’s devotion and instead gave him a sheep to kill this is according to stories in the Bible’s Old Testament. The three-day festival also marks the end of Hajj, the annual journey to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to Prophet Muhammad’s birthplace.
On the Eid, many Muslims celebrate and pay tribute to Allah, going to a mosque for morning prayers followed by slaughtering animals. Much of the meat is given away to others, which is a symbol of Muslim’s willingness to give up on behalf of Allah’s authority. The sacrificed animal is cut into thirds, with one third eaten in a celebratory dinner by family, one third offered to friends, and the remaining portion donated to those less fortunate. Many people sacrifice sheep, from which the meat is then sent to poor families as an act of charity.
Even though some people such as college students can’t be with their families during the holiday they still celebrate in their own ways. Muslim students at the University of Massachusetts took part in Eid celebrations by performing group prayers at a nearby mosque. Also, their Muslim Students Association will be hosting a dinner celebration on Saturday Nov. 3rd in the Campus Center where hundreds of people from around the area with gather for an event with food, speakers, student performances, and fundraising for Syrian relief. The most important part of the holiday is sacrifice whether through an animal or fasting everyone has to sacrifice something. Sacrifice, submission, and humility are all combined as an effort to worship God and become stronger in their faith. As a Christian reading about this Muslim holiday what I find most interesting is their devotion to their faith. Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter have turned more into family gatherings to give gifts and eat, the true meaning lost. It seems as if Muslim’s have more devotion to their faith through the willingness to sacrifice something on behalf of Allah.