The Festival of Sacrifice


One of the most distinctive features of the various acts of worship prescribed by Islam is that they, like Islam itself, represent an ideal balance between the spiritual and the material, the mundane and the other-worldly. These acts of worship exquisitely combine in themselves physical, moral and spiritual benefits although the spiritual dimension is the most crucial and determines the contours of all other dimensions. Salat, for instance, is primarily a solemn way of remembering Allah (SWT) and purifying oneself through his remembrance but incidentally it also ensures cleanliness of the body and its health through a comprehensive physical exercise. Fasting too is essentially meant for inculcation of continual God-consciousness (taqwa) but has a certain incidental medical value as well. Similarly zakat is fundamentally an act of worship meant for the spiritual purification of the giver but at the same time it ensures the economic welfare of the society through voluntary distribution of wealth.
This is also true of the practice of sacrifice that has been made obligatory not only for the Hajis but also for those who celebrate Eid al-Adha at their homes. The beloved Prophet (SAW) used to offer sacrifice regularly on this occasion and this sunnah has been followed by the Ummah ever since.
The practice of sacrifice has an obvious spiritual aspect. It links us up with the most luminous saga of sacrifice in human history – Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his life, his homeland and his son for God’s sake. As we relive this saga we use the very same words while reciting the prayers on the occasion of sacrifice which were used by Abraham. We are also conscious of the fact that our act of sacrifice is symbolic of our total dedication and surrender to Allah (SWT) who says in the holy Quran:
It is not their (that of the sacrificial animals) flesh and blood that reaches Allah; what reaches Him is your piety and God-consciousness. (22:36)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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