Today was Eid. Since “life doesn’t stop for anyone” (especially if you are a college student), I went to school regardless of the fact that it was Eid today. Even though Islam is the second largest religion practised in the world today, few people know of Eid or its significance. Questions like “Didn’t you have Eid this past summer?” and “Why are there two Eid’s?”So today I will share a story that my first-grade teacher shared with me a long long time ago. The story of why we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice”.
One day, Prophet Ibrahim A.S. (Abraham) had a dream. In this dream, he was told by Allah to sacrifice the thing that is nearest and dearest to his heart. He thought long and hard about what was nearest and dearest to his heart and decided that his son was, in fact, nearest and dearest to his heart. Prophet Ibrahim A.S. did not hesitate a single moment and went forth to tell his son, Ismail, about Allah’s command. Being a believer, Ismail did not hesitate either and they set forth for the sacrifice. Ibliis (Satan) was there every step of the way, trying to mislead Ismail and scare him into disobeying God’s command. Ismail’s faith did not shatter, however.
They went to the man who was to sacrifice Ismail and Ismail lay down on the table, ready to die for Allah. The man blindfolded Ibrahim so he would not have to see his son suffer and brought down the knife as hard as he could to Ismail’s throat, but the knife just would not cut through. He tried again. He could not bring the knife down. Then he tried once more and the knife did go down all the through. Ibrahim removed his blindfold and found that instead of his son, there was a dead ram on the table. He was afraid that he had somehow disobeyed Allah. But then came a voice that told them that it had just been a test for Ismail and Ibrahim to test their faith and they had passed. From that day onwards, we sacrifice an animal, such as a lamb, goat, or cow and human sacrifice was forever forbidden.
To me, this is a story of faith. It is a story of Islam, of submission. It is not a story of violence, nor is it a story of killing blindly. And it breaks my heart when people make it out to be one.
I have had FREINDS who have argued with me that it shows the violence that Islam is “deeprooted” in when I have told them this story of faith that I learned as a first grader. Perhaps it is because of that itself that I am afraid to tell them that it’s Eid anymore. But I want us all to be aware, of holidays and traditions all around the world that those around us celebrate.
Eid-ul-Adha is not celebrated right after Ramadan but after the first ten days of the holiest month. It is often accompanied by Hajj, which has another story behind it that I encourage everyone to look up if they can. I apologise if I have gotten any part of the story telling wrong but I strongly feel the need to share the story of Eid.
I felt like I met my people whenever someone smiled and said “Eid Mubarak”. Heck, I contemplated starting wearing a hijab so that more people would be able to tell that I am Muslim when Hijabis would greet each other and not realise that I too am Muslim. I wanted to claim my identity.
I want to say “thank you” to everyone who took the time to stop and wish me Eid Mubarak today. I want to especially thank the two girls in the bathroom who went so far as to stop me and give me a hug. I may not remember your names but that gesture meant a lot to me.
I hope to see a world someday where more people are aware of religious holidays and festivals that those of other cultures and religions around them might be celebrating. Eid Mubarak.