I had no idea there is a Festival of Sacrifice until I learned about Eid al-Adha. I had heard of it but didn’t pay much attention to it because it didn’t sound familiar. Statistically, I am a Christian, and Eid al-Adha is a Muslim holiday. In my home country, the Philippines, our government declares Eid al-Adha to be a public holiday. It is primarily intended to demonstrate respect and promote tolerance within our country, particularly among our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Eid al-Adha was exposed to me while I was in the Middle East! As a believer, I was astounded by what it was all about, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you today.
Festival of Sacrifice – Abraham’s Sacrifice
What is Eid al-Adha, and how is it being celebrated?
I found that Eid al-Adha is a feast honoring and remembering Abraham’s sacrifice of his beloved son to our Almighty God. This story appears in the Bible in Genesis chapter 22 when Abraham was tested. I was super intrigued because we are familiar with this story as Christians but do not celebrate it.
Eid al-Adha is the second most significant Muslim festival, following Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. In Islam, it is believed that Almighty God tested Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) by commanding him to sacrifice his first-born son, Ismail (Ishmael). Ibrahim unquestionably obeyed this commandment. And because Almighty God saw Ibrahim’s pure humility and submission to Him, Almighty God provided him with a lamb to sacrifice instead.
In remembrance of this significant account, Muslims observe Eid al-Adha. Muslims offer extra prayers in the morning, mosques are visited by worshippers who attend sermons and pray, and animals – goat, sheep, or cow – are sacrificed. In addition, sacrificed animals are used in festive dinners and as gifts or charity to those in need.
Pondering about Eid al-Adha and the meaning of Abraham’s offering
As a believer, I began to consider Abraham’s offering. Why will God tell him to do it? What is the point of testing him? What does it mean for humanity? Is it necessary for me to celebrate it as a Christian? These were just a few of the questions that ran through my mind. Two beautiful Bible passages came into my mind:
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I was humbled that these two Bible passages explained the meaning and significance of Abraham’s offering. It was a clear presentation of our Almighty God’s love for His creations – humanity. Our God Almighty’s faithfulness, loyalty, and passion for us, His servants, His children is immeasurable. Yet, because of God’s unconditional love to us, He sacrificed Jesus so that we could have the best access and right towards Him.
Yes! When we discuss Eid al-Adha (Abraham’s Sacrifice) in terms of Quranic and Biblical aspects, there are significant differences in theological concepts and ideas. As a result, we can end up in a never-ending debate. But, instead, going to that route, it is much better to focus on the message. The question, “How much sacrifice are you willing to make for your Lord?”
It’s time for us to offer sacrifices to our Lord, God Almighty. Every day, we are allowed to be in His presence. To be better and to renew ourselves. Every day is an excellent opportunity to serve others. Let us seize this opportunity! Let us continue to strive, seek His words, fight our lower selves, and obey His commands. It may appear to be difficult work, and it is! It’s not going to be easy. But, with the help of our Lord, I am confident that WE CAN AND WILL DO IT.
My heartfelt greetings to our brothers and sisters in Islam. All the blessings of Allah be with us always and forever! Alasam Alaikum Wallahi Wa-Barakatuh!
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