Eid-ul-Adha was celebrated on Aug. 11, 2019 after the completion of Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid is celebrated to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s (peace be on him) submission to God’s command to sacrifice his son Prophet Ishmael (peace be on him). Muslims emulate this act by offering sacrifice of an animal, such as goat, cow, or sheep.
Through Eid God instills the virtue of sacrifice, social equity, and animal rights.
The Holy Quran states, “Their flesh reaches not God, nor does their blood, but it is your righteousness that reaches Him. Thus, He subjected them to you, that you may glorify God for His guiding you. So, give glad tidings to those who do good” [22:38].
Eid-ul-Adha bears lessons that benefit our spiritual and social lives. First, Eid fosters submission and steadfastness. Through remembering God’s mercy to replace Prophet Ishmael with a lamb at the moment of the slaughter, reminds one to remain steadfast. Also, his deference for his father is a phenomenal example of selflessness. Thus, Eid encourages submission and self-sacrifice for human beings as well as for God. Second, Eid-ul-Adha promotes social equity within community as the meat of the sacrificed animal is meant to be shared among relatives, neighbors, and the less privileged. Third, the stringent rules of Zabiha (Islamic way of animal slaughter) promote animal health and safety, humane ways of animal slaughter, and reduce the slaughter of animals during other times of the year. Moreover, when vegetarianism is a trending lifestyle, there is a direction from God that the nutritional needs of humans take precedence over the present-day definition of animal rights.
The author is a Lecturer at George Washington University and George Mason University