By Hajra Saeed

Eid-ul-Azha takes place on the 10th of Zil-Hajj to commemorate the great incident in our history as well as the event of Hajj itself. Of course Eid has a greater meaning for those who actually perform Hajj, as they visit all those Holy sites while residing in Makkah, and also give sacrifice there. And it is that very sacrifice that connects Muslims all over the world.

If we study Surah Al-Hajj the meaning of Eid-ul-Azha becomes very clear, as in the following ayats the purpose of sacrifice is beautifully described.

“To every people did We appoint rites (of sacrifice) that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food) but your Allah is one Allah: submit then your wills to Him (in Islam) and give thou the Good News to those who humble themselves

To those whose hearts when Allah is mentioned are filled with fear who show patient perseverance over their afflictions keep up regular prayer and spend (in charity) out of what we have bestowed upon them.

The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the Symbols from Allah: in them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter) eat ye thereof and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment and such as beg with due humility: thus have we made animals subject to you that ye may be grateful.

“It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has  thus made them subject to you that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you: and proclaim the Good News to all who do right.” (22:34-37)

We can see that the act of Qurbaani not only teaches us the virtue of benevolence, but it also helps us in practicing charity which is immensely liked by Allah. The Qurbaani must take place on the 10th, 11th or 12th, for after that it becomes immaterial.  The holy Prophet (SAW) said “There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbaani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgement with its horn, hair, and hooves (to be weighed). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart.” – Trimzi. So those who can afford to perform the duty of Qurbaani, should be grateful to Allah that they are able to do so, for they are in the position to share what they have with their fellow beings (some theologians’ say that the distributed portion should be two-third).

While in the light of Hadiths we learn that the first ten days of Zil Hajj are very important in the sight of Allah and that Eid-ul-Azha is its apex. The holy Prophet (SAW) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hajjah).” – Bukhari. Furthermore he said “On no days is the worship of Allah desired more than in the (first) ten days of Dhul Hajjah. The fast of each of these days is equal to the fast of a whole year, and the worship of each of these nights is equal to the worship of Laylatul Qadr.” - Tirmizi. And when asked about fasting on 9th Dhul Hajjah (Yaum-e-Arafa) he said “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year” - Muslim 

There by if we follow the Sunnah, then these days provide us with an excellent opportunity of becoming closer to Allah especially if we practice ‘Taqwa’. This means we should abstain from doing any such thing that would displease Him. It is similar to Hajj and Qurbaani which also symbolize submission of will to Allah the Almighty.

And so we must inculcate that spirit in ourselves, for that is how it will automatically infuse into the preparations and feeling for this blessed occasion. One has always felt that people are not as enthusiastic about Eid-ul-Azha as they are for Eid-ul-Fitr, and that it is considered as second-best. Yet when we look at all these aspects it so easy to understand that it is just as special and should be celebrated with equal fervor!