On the occasion of Bakra Eid, actor Adaa Khan pens down her thoughts on the festival and the entire tradition of sacrifice.
Bakra Eid honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, God provided a ram to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours and the remaining third is retained by the family.
After much reflection upon the meanings and actions surrounding Eid al-Fitr(Ramadan Eid) and Eid al-Adha(Bakra Eid), the depth of the Prophet’s words befit a striking reality. These two days are not ‘holidays’ in the sense that Muslims take the ‘day off’ from worship, but they serve as yet another opportunity for the believer to excel in devotion and rejoice in praise of the Lord of the Worlds. There is an inspiring message and strong, spiritual motivation behind each of these days as they both mark the remembrance of a major act of worship.
Eid al-Fitr is a time of celebration that follows after a month of refraining from indulging in worldly human desires from dusk to dawn out of pure submission to God. Eid al-Adha comes after the day of Arafa, which is the most significant day of the ritual pilgrimage (Hajj). It is a day full of worship, repentance, tears, hope, supplication, and forgiveness. A day every Muslim longs to behold at least once in a lifetime.
The sacrifice of Eid al-Adha also symbolises the enormous act of obedience performed by Prophet Abraham (Allah bless him) who was prepared to sacrifice his own beloved son for the sake of his Lord. After showing his unwavering conviction in God’s command, God replaced Prophet Abraham’s son with an animal to slay instead. This is the reason why Muslims sacrifice for Eid al-Adha. It is done in an effort to recall the strength of submission that one of the greatest Prophets ever to live exemplified for mankind.
These two holidays are void of the detriments of commercialism and self-absorbed gifts. Instead, they replace the holiday ‘season’ with acts of giving to the poor and spending one’s free time with the entire community. For Eid al-Fitr, there is a mandatory charity given to the poor by those who meet certain requirements, and it remains an overall recommendation for everyone to give in charity beyond their normal habit. For Eid al-Adha, the same recommendation for charity remains in addition to sharing a third of one’s sacrificial meat with the poor and hosting one’s community with another third of the animal. One is encouraged to show one’s happiness to others and thank God for all the blessings He bestowed upon one.
Not to mention, both of these holidays begin the day with an act of worship, which is the required communal prayer.