The Eid el-Kabir celebration: A reflection 

The highlight of Eid el-Kabir, which was celebrated on Sunday, June 16, 2024, by Muslims around the world, is the sacrificial killing of rams, which holds deep religious significance for Muslims. It also commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) in obedience to God’s command.

This demonstration of faith and submission is a vital part of Islamic worship and devotion. It represents a profound act of faith and a commitment to the will of God, symbolising the ultimate test of obedience and trust.

For those who can afford it, performing this sacrifice is considered a highly recommended act (Sunnah Mu’akkadah). The Eid celebration fosters harmony and peaceful coexistence, beyond its religious importance. It serves as a reminder of the values of sacrifice, devotion, and the importance of adhering to religious obligations.

The ritual also underscores the communal aspects of Islam, where the meat from the sacrificed animal is distributed among family, friends, and the less fortunate, promoting the spirit of sharing and generousity. Eid el-Kabir, also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice,” is one of two major Islamic festivals; the other being Eid el-Fitr.

It marks the culmination of Hajj (the fifth pillar of Islam) and is celebrated by Muslims worldwide. The festival is an integral part of the Islamic faith, which highlights the spirit of giving, sharing, and remembering those less fortunate. It is a time when Muslims worldwide come together to celebrate their faith, while reflecting on the teachings of Islam.

The period is observed with Eid prayers, charity, social gatherings, festive meals, and gift sharing. It is a time that signifies sacrifice, faith, and obedience to the will of Almighty Allah. Families and friends come together to celebrate, share meals, and exchange gifts, in a way that reinforces the bonds of community and kinship.

The festive meals are often elaborate, featuring various traditional dishes that bring joy and a sense of togetherness. According to the Holy Quran, the Eid celebration is not merely a fanfare but a reminder to practice forbearance and show compassion in every situation.

The message of Eid-ul-Adha encourages love, peaceful interpersonal relationships, and trust in Almighty Allah, even during challenging times. It emphasizes the importance of empathy, generosity, and the spirit of togetherness. The teachings of Eid al-Adha inspire Muslims to reflect on their actions and strive to be better individuals, contributing positively to their communities.

In the spirit of the season, we must extend support and charity to those in need, intensify our prayers for the nation, and rededicate ourselves to the service of God and humanity. Let’s use this occasion to pray for continued peace and prosperity in Nigeria. It is an opportunity to reflect on our blessings and reach out to those who are struggling, offering them support and compassion.

Acts of kindness and charity during this time can have a profound impact, providing much-needed relief to those in distress. It is crucial that we embrace the lessons of love and sacrifice symbolized by the Eid. Reflecting on the significance of the sacrifice performed in the festival promotes the virtues of Islam.

The story of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son teaches us about unwavering faith, obedience, and the rewards of steadfastness. It is a story that has been passed down through generations, carrying with it lessons of faith, perseverance, and the importance of submitting to the will of God.

We should learn from Prophet Ibrahim, who obeyed Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. This test of faith, which turned a potential loss into a great gain, teaches that sacrifices made in good faith yield positive results. It reminds us that true devotion and commitment to God can lead to immense blessings and rewards.

The narrative of Ibrahim and Ismail serves as a powerful metaphor for the trials and triumphs of faith, encouraging Muslims to remain steadfast and trusting in Allah’s plan.

Now, more than ever, prioritizing spiritual well-being over worldly desires, and embodying selflessness, compassion, and a willingness to make sacrifices for faith and humanity’s betterment, holds profound importance. In a world increasingly driven by materialism, the values of Eid serve as a poignant reminder of what truly matters.

The essence of Eid calls for a return to fundamental human values, emphasizing the need for empathy, generosity, and the pursuit of spiritual growth. Nigerian Muslims should use this occasion – which has almost ended – to live according to the tenets of Islam through acts of charity, peaceful coexistence, and obedience to all divine injunctions.

They should strive to revive the values of patience, tolerance, and prayerfulness, as exemplified by the story of the Eid-ul-Adha’s advent. The faithfulness, sacrifice, and obedience of Ibrahim, and the submission and patience of Ismail, together form a profound guide for personal and national development at all times.

The prevailing economic hardship faced by many Nigerians prior to, and during this recent Eid should inspire a collective sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It is a time to reach out to those in need, offering them our support and kindness.

The political elite, community leaders, religious organisations, and spirited individuals should take this opportunity to mobilise resources and provide assistance to those struggling to make ends meet.

Acts of solidarity and support can help alleviate the burdens faced by many citizens now. And in the long run, help to foster a sense of unity and collective well-being.

It is instructive to assert that the essence of the Eid el-Kabir festivity remains lucid, regardless of the challenges many Nigerians are facing. As always, it is a celebration of faith, sacrifice, and communal harmony. The economic turmoil in our land, while significant, cannot overshadow the deep spiritual and social significance of the festival.

Therefore, this special period should afford us the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the service of God and for doing good to humanity. Let’s use the occasion to make more supplications to Allah for continued peace and prosperity in our beloved Nigeria. It is a time to come together as a community, support one another, and strengthen the bonds that unite us.

Our collective prayers and efforts can help foster a sense of hope and optimism for the future. Again, the Eid occasion, which many citizens are still basking in its euphoria, serves as a poignant reminder of the values of sacrifice, compassion, and unwavering trust in Almighty Allah.

Therefore, let us embody these principles in our daily lives, fostering unity, empathy, and selflessness, as we reflect on the profound lessons of the Big Sallah. Happy Eid-el-Kabir in arrears.

Mahmud, deputy editor of PRNigeria writes via [email protected].