Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid-el-Adha religious holiday today. Eid-el-Adha, which literally means the “festival of sacrifice” commemorates monumental sacrifice that was to be made by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). He was ordered by Allah to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail, as a test of faith.
Ibrahim willingly submitted to Allah’s command, wherein Allah, by His Mercy, replaced Ismail at the moment of sacrifice with a ram. Muslims commemorate this unparalleled example of fulfilling the commandment of Allah by sacrificing a ram. But the event is set to be marked in lowkey this year as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
The Quran states: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good”- Quran 22:verse 37. The occasion also marks the climax of Hajj or Pilgrimage rites, the fifth pillar of Islam, in the Holy land of Saudi Arabia.
Against the backdrop of the usual huge assemblage of people in the holy land every year, this year’s hajj is already scaled down to 10,000 Muslims, including expatriates in the holy land in adherence to the social distancing protocol of the pandemic.
Yesterday, specifically, these 10,000 pilgrims observed the core of the Hajj rites by gathering at the plains of Mount Arafat, outside Makkah, where they spent the whole day in total worship and supplication. This event culminated into today’s slaughtering of ram the world over as ordained by Almighty Allah.
As we celebrate under these huge economic difficulties where many have lost their jobs and some others struggling to remain afloat, the fundamental principle of love for your neighbours and friends espoused by Islam will go a long way in putting smiles on the faces of the have-nots.
We must remember that the pandemic has placed on us unusual times where the anomaly of social distancing and wearing of face-masks have become our new pattern of life, especially at social gatherings and large congregational events.
As we celebrate, we must not undermine the safety of others, we must adhere to all COVID-19 protocols and ensure communal safety at this trying time.
Governments should intensify efforts, not only in the enforcement of the protocols but in finding effective and lasting remedy to the pandemic. Politicians and leaders across religions and party lines must also reflect and emulate Ibrahim in subjugating their personal interests for the general good of all Nigerians. It is the only way Nigeria can survive and endure as a political entity.
From all of us at Vanguard, we congratulate all Muslims. Eid Mubarak!