Eid al Adha is around the corner and preparations are underway for the “greater festival” of the year. Unlike the previous two years, the celebrations this time will take place without any pandemic-related restrictions!
Eid al Adha, which translates to "festival of sacrifice", is a four-day celebration that falls on the 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, known as Dhul Hijjah. The festival symbolises the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) to sacrifice his son Ismail in obedience to the command of God.
Before Ibrahim would sacrifice his son, however, God provided him with a lamb that he was supposed to kill in his son’s place. In commemoration of this intervention, animals are ritually slaughtered.
The sacrifice is a reminder of the prophet’s willingness to give up something precious to him for the sake of God, and reminds the believers to place their relationship with God before worldly concerns. One-third of the meat of the sacrificed animal is consumed by the family, while the rest of the meat is distributed to the poor and the needy. Sweets and gifts are given, and extended family members are visited and welcomed.
The celebrations recall the unconditional trust of Prophet Ibrahim and his full and total submission to God, while it also is an opportunity for all believers to draw closer to the Almighty through acts of kindness and concerns to draw closer to humanity.
Welcoming the Eid, which is still overshadowed by the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, we still must not be careless in carrying out health protocols. Even though Covid-19 cases have decreased significantly compared to Eid in the previous two years and the authorities have lifted the pandemic-related restrictions, we need to be on our guard!
Indeed the catastrophic Covid-19 era has been both difficult and challenging. The past two years have brought changes in how we celebrate Eid. Those who lost their family members to the Covid-19 virus have to celebrate it without their loved ones by their sides.
For many of those who recovered from the virus, many still find it extremely challenging to re-acclimate to “normal” life.
The pandemic has had a severe impact on certain sectors of the economy, particularly the services sector.
In some cases, workers are reconsidering their career choices and work patterns, which may imply post-pandemic economies marked by more varied labour arrangements and altered urban environments.
The human costs in terms of lives lost will permanently affect global economic growth in addition to the cost of elevated levels of poverty, lives upended, careers derailed and increased social unrest.
In addition to this is the fallout from the war in Ukraine which has aggravated the woes. The conflict has sent global food prices soaring. Because Russia and Ukraine supply much of the world’s wheat, the war has driven up the cost of the global food staple.
The pandemic, which is again showing an upswing in some countries, is not completely gone. It is incumbent upon us all to continue to stay cautious while partaking of the blessings during this Eid.
We should not ignore the fact that we are still in the midst of unusual circumstances. Eid invites us to become exemplary embodiments of the truth which we profess and reminds us of the virtue of sacrificing some of our own comforts for the benefit of others.
After all responsibility is a fundamental virtue of Islam!
Though we are all excited to celebrate the festival, we must not forget that we are not yet fully free of the Covid-19 virus. It is essential that everyone continues to follow all those basic protocols and preventive measures to celebrate this Eid al Adha safely and joyfully. Happy Eid to all!