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Eid-ul-Azha: Remembrance and learning

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01st-Sep-2017       
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Md Saifullah Azad :
Eid-ul-Azha is one of the holiest festivals of the Muslims and is celebrated annually which takes place at the end of the Hajj. It is the 10th day of the month Zill-Hajj which is the 12th month of Islamic calendar. In Bangladesh it is also called 'Qurbani Eid' i.e. festival of Sacrifice.  It's also known as Eid-ul-Baqarah/Baqra Eid in Bangladesh India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East, as Eid-e-Qurban in Iran and Qurban Bayrami in Turkey. In Islam two great festivals i.e. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha are celebrated annually. Eid-ul-Azha is the 2nd biggest festival of the Muslim community around the world which is mainly centered with the event of Eid-Salat and sacrificing animals to Almighty Allah. Through this holiest event we have the remembrance of the unique memory of Hazrat Ibrahim (As) and his dearest son Ismail (As). This sacrifice of animals is the religious obligation for every capable adult Muslim. Once in a year the Muslim world commemorates the deep, wondrous love of Ibrahim (As) for Allah in being willing to spare not even his own son to give a full, effectual proof of that love.
Eid-ul-Azha bears great significance. To the Muslims, Eid-ul-Azha is associated with religious as well as social significance. Apart from being an obligatory religious responsibility, Eid-ul-Azha is seen to have a spiritual merit that provides the Muslims with an opportunity of self-renewal. In Muslim countries, Eid al-Azha is a public holiday that involves animal sacrifice, remembrance, prayers and family gatherings. Muslims exchange a common greeting named Eid Mubarak means 'blessed celebration'. The day begins with morning prayers, followed by visits to family and friends and the exchange of food and gifts.
Muslims are obliged to share food and money with the poor so that they can take part in the celebrations. This 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 the mutual co-existence is another spirit of remembrance of the peace and prosperity of the Muslim community. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Azha is mostly given away to others and it is to divide among those relatives and miskeens who honestly deserve the share of it rather than consuming all.
The Eid ul Azha enlightens our path with true spirit of righteousness and rectitude. 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 perception.  This act of sacrifice symbolizes our will to give up some of our own bounties. It is to train us how to surrender ourselves to the Will of Allah. The sacrifice of beasts in Qurbani has its spiritual significance of sacrificing life and property for the cause of security of Muslims, nation and state thus accepting martyrdom for Truth.
Muslims recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and they should open our heart and share with others.
Eid-ul-Azha is a time for Muslims to learn the value of self-denial by making a sacrifice of something living to Allah. The sacrifice of an animal for the sake of Allah, development of a sacrificial attitude amidst the Muslims through giving up their bestiality in mind is also attained. Sacrifices strengthen our inner spiritual and moral resources and develop qualities of character which are essential to our struggle at every level of our existence. We need to practice the spiritual effect of sacrifice so that we learn to rely on Allah’s provisions rather than the things we have built for ourselves. It is a part of submitting to Him. It reinforces our loyalty and faithfulness to Allah, for all other loyalties become secondary as they are sacrificed for the sake of this loyalty. Sacrifices are essential for the development of all moral qualities, especially for the development of patience.
Eid-ul-Azha has huge impact on socio-economic aspect. The performance of Hajj and the sacrifice of cattle during Eid celebration, in essence, generate money supply, expansionary in nature, promote trade and business, create job, and at large bring boom for the economy. The economy of Eid-ul-Azha seems to be the most dynamic of all other celebrations in generating business and temporary employment. The multiplier effect of billions spent on the occasion has long term effect on the economic area. Besides achieving the blessing of Allah, the event generates additional demand for a wider variety of goods and services. It is the rural Bangladeshi that raises sacrificial animals and receives the major chunk of the spending. During Eid-ul-Azha, the main family spending is focused on Qurbani, unlike Eid-ul-Fitr when the major chunk of shopping is on dress, shoes, jewellery and other personal affects. Hide collections, animal feed sellers, animal doctors and makeshift stalls spring up all over Bangladesh employing thousands of people.
In various dimensions both urban and rural socio-culture has also made an impact on the occasion. In early ages, on the Eid day, boat race, kite flying, horse race etc. were held in various places in Dhaka. Even now-a-days, along with Dhaka, friendship football match, cricket match, Eid reunion party and many other cultural events take place all over the country. Sometimes, in rural areas, some mini stalls of sweetmeat, and various kinds of shops with useful household materials are shown centering the Eidgahs. Therefore, both the Eid festivals become some sort of cultural occasion blending the religious and cultural zeal in Bangladesh irrespective of cast, creed and race.   
According to the scholars, the remembrance would be to give and forgive, share and care, and mull over the sacrifice which dates back to the time of Ibrahim (As). The sacrifice associated with Eid-ul-Azha is perceived as an unwitting remembrance of the revelation Allah gave Ibrahim (As) of his salvation. As such, the remembrance of scarifies and celebration of Eid-ul-Azha can help us to inculcate among ourselves the increased belief in peace, more favorable attitude, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. Let us not stop learning from this Eid-ul-Azha the peerless love and faithfulness of Allah towards mankind which moves our heart to wonder, joy and happiness. So, we should share the joy of the Eid ul Azha by being tolerant, forgiving, and distributing the meat of the sacrificed animals to distressed have not's.

(The writer, a banker is a CERM
from Frankfurt School of Finance, Germany and can be reached azad.cerm@gmail.com)

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