Eid al-Adha, also known as the "Festival of Sacrifice," is one of the most significant Islamic holidays Image Credit: Devadasan K P/Gulf News

The day of Eid al-Adha is a significant religious observance in Islam. It reminds us of the sacrifices and hardships faced by the Prophet Ibrahim (may peace be upon him) and his son, the Prophet Ismail (may peace be upon him). The day serves as a historical recollection and a profound spiritual exercise that revitalises believers’ dedication to leading a virtuous life. This annual observance underscores the enduring power of faith and emphasises that the quintessence of sacrifice is found in submission to a higher, transcendent purpose.

This Eid encourages believers to surrender their worldly desires and ambitions to serve a higher purpose, echoing the teachings found in the Quran and Hadith. This concept of surrender nurtures a sense of inner peace and tranquillity. It reassures believers of a divine plan, fostering trust and solace in the guidance and protection offered by a higher power.

According to tradition, the path on which God ordained Prophet Ibrahim and his family was full of trials and tribulations. Still, they never complained, even in the most challenging moments. The journey of Hajj and the day of Eid al-Adha reminds every believer to tread the path of faith that Prophet Ibrahim and his family followed.

The spirit of Eid eemphasises the importance of gratitude for the blessings one has received, which include the ability to share wealth, time, and resources with those less fortunate. This act of giving is not confined to material possessions but extends to acts of forgiveness and compassion. Believers are encouraged to heal broken relationships, reconcile with estranged family members or friends, and cultivate an environment of love and harmony, embodying the prophetic teachings of mercy and unity.

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Introspection, transformation and renewal

The festival reminds believers of their responsibilities towards nature and society and advocates for life beyond mere ceremonial observance. Ibn Khaldun highlighted this perspective in his work “Muqaddimah” (Introduction), emphasising the cyclical nature of human existence and the importance of communal and spiritual renewal. It provides an annual opportunity for introspection, transformation, and renewal.

Eid al-Adha urges believers to adopt a broader perspective on life, recognising the transient nature of worldly possessions and the inevitability of mortality. This acknowledgement prompts individuals to invest in cultivating lasting virtues, nurturing meaningful relationships, and performing acts of kindness and service to others.

Moreover, the socio-economic aspect of Eid al-Adha is significant. By giving the sacrificed animal’s meat to the economically weaker section of society, the festival addresses issues of poverty and hunger, promoting social equity. This practice reinforces the concept that wealth is a trust from God to be used for the benefit of all humanity, thus fostering a sense of community and solidarity among believers.

In conclusion, Eid al-Adha transcends mere ritualistic practice, offering a reminder of higher purpose and calling. By embracing the festival’s teachings, the faithful are encouraged to renew their commitment to lives imbued with meaning, purpose, and spiritual growth.

As a powerful agent of transformation, Eid al-Adha inspires individuals to embody the values of faith, sacrifice, and generosity throughout the year, thereby contributing to a more compassionate and harmonious world. This holistic approach to understanding and practising Eid al-Adha ensures that its spiritual, ethical, and social dimensions are fully integrated into the daily lives of believers.

Raamish Siddiqui is a lawyer, author and scholar. X: @raamishs