Eid-ul-Adha: Sacrifice and its Symbolic Relevance


By Maryam Hedayat

The Muslims around the world are preparing themselves for the festival of Eid-ul-
Adha. Unlike the Eid-ul-Fitr, we do not focus much on buying new clothes, shoes
etc., instead our priority is to manage the animal for sacrifice.

The historical background of Eid-ul-Adha is that the Prophet Ibrahim (May Allah
be pleased with him) had a dream in which he was sacrificing his young son,
Ismail (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Prophet Ibrahim, a great
believer in Allah, took his dream literally and wanted to sacrifice his son. But,
according to the tradition, Allah, the Almighty, sent his angels and asked him to
sacrifice an animal instead of his son.

Whether the rich or the poor, everyone try their level best to sacrifice on this day.
On this auspicious occasion (Eid al-Adha), Muslims honor and remember
Ibrahim’s (May Allah be pleased with him) trials, by themselves slaughtering an
animal such as a sheep, buffalo, camel, cow or goat.

Sadly over the years, the trend of Eid-ul-Adha sacrifice seems completely changed.
Perhaps it is not about sacrificing in the name of Allah with pious heart anymore,
instead it seems that everybody is surrounded into a race of who can sacrifice the
best and costliest animal, said to be in the name of Allah.

Instead of performing obligatory religious duty, people tend to go out of the way
and means to sacrifice the most expensive animal. Apparently it is nowhere
mentioned in the Holy book of Allah or neither our Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh)
teachings that a Muslim must sacrifice the most overpriced animal in the name of

The most saddening part of the festival is that, as soon as we bring the animal, we
try to make some good picture of it and immediately share on social sites to show
our friends and family.

From now till the day of Eid, people will be busy posting photos of the sacrificing
animal and discussing the price, the breed and the look of the animal. Some people,
just for the sake of showoff, burden themselves in loans which they recompense
over the year.

Particularly the day of Eid-ul adha seems more distressing when we see people
sharing every moment of the day… from slaughtering, cutting, cooking and eating.
Sadly, we become so busy in taking pictures and making videos of the sacrificing
animal or the meat and continuously sharing on social sites that the sacredness and
the holiness of the occasion seems vanished somewhere.

There is nothing wrong sharing our happiness with friends and family. But if
things remain humble and modest, hence the spirituality of the occasion remains
within the limit.

If our actions are solely for the sake of Allah and to come close to His glory, to
express submission, to be obliged and grateful, to attain mercy, or to seek
forgiveness from the Almighty, then only our deeds will be truthful and rewarding.
However, if our actions and deeds are for the sake of worldly recognition such as
reputation, importance, status, etc., then they are useless and fruitless.

While sacrifice is a symbolic act of worship on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, yet
there are people who disregard the value of sacrificing an animal on this day. They
think it is not that important, instead the money be given to the poor.

Those who carry this notion undermining the pious act of sacrifice should keep in
mind that every form of worship in Islam has its own importance. Salah cannot
replace the benefit of fasting while the fasting cannot replace the benefit of Zakah
and so on…every form of worship carries its own significance and hasanat in the
eyes of the Almighty. It is truly unfortunate to see people making an excuse for
Qurbani on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha paying charity.

A sacrifice, usually taken to be the slaughtering of animals, is more than that. The
physical act of sacrificing of the animals is just a ritual, is just a tradition and is just
a sacred practice whereas the essence lies far beyond it and the spirit of it goes far
beyond common human perception.

Sacrifices are essential for the development of all moral qualities, but especially for
the development of tolerance, strength, determination, firmness and purpose. These
can be summed up in just one-word patience (Sabr).

Sometimes Allah asks us to sacrifice something important to us in order to learn
that there is something greater beyond it. But sadly we fail to translate the essence
of its sacrificial values in our life!

Allah mentions in the Holy Quran:

Neither the flesh nor the blood reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him.
Thus Allah has subjected them to you, so that you may glorify Him for the
guidance He has given you. Give glad tidings to those who do well. (Surah-al-hajj-

Every act of sacrifice nourishes and increases our Imaan, that is to say ‘Faith’. It

confirms, and thus increases, our love for Allah, for every step we give up
something for the sake of His love.

Eid-ul-adha is also a day on which Muslims remember the deceased, visit the sick,
see relatives and friends, overlook grudges, help the needy and show kindness and
generosity to all.

Overcoming the common grievances against each other that prevent our mutual co-
existence is the ultimate spirit of sacrifice. It is also a day for rejoicing by getting
involved in a good, clean and honest enjoyment.

Indeed, sacrifice is the essence of life and we should leave no stone unturned to
sacrifice our money, comfort and time for the sake of Allah. We should make an
effort to live truly to the expectations of the spirit of sacrifice that the festival of
Eid al-Adha stands for.

2 replies

  1. Quote//The Muslims around the world are preparing themselves for the festival of Eid-ul-
    Adha. Unlike the Eid-ul-Fitr, we do not focus much on buying new clothes, shoes
    etc., instead our priority is to manage the animal for sacrifice.====

    My wuestion to Ahmadiyya friends.

    We live in modren time, our time. Do we have to follow Prophet Muhammad ( saw) to slaughter animal at front of children at public place like: schools, mosques, etc instead of at special place for slaughtering animal?

    Or just buy some meat at market and then give to the needy.

    What is your respond Zia?

    All love ❤️

  2. “The act of sacrifice is symbolic reminding the person who offers it that as the animal is inferior to him so he, also, is inferior to God and should, therefore, be ready to sacrifice himself and all his personal interests and inclinations for the sake of God when he is required to do so. The attainment of righteousness should be the goal of every Muslim.

    Eid-ul-Azha is an occasion on which Muslims everywhere are encouraged to make every kind of sacrifice for the spiritual, moral, social, and economic uplift of mankind and especially their own. If they make it a common cause and strive to manifest in themselves the attributes of God in accordance with the teachings and guidance of the Holy Quran and teachings of the Holy Prophet then, indeed, the message of Eid-ul-Azha would have borne fruit. “

    And this is what we want to pass on to our next generation and our children which will be impossible without them knowing or seeing the real reason behind the slaughter.
    Hope this answers your question.

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