July 23 2016
The second precious jewel in the crown of the month of Zil-Hijja is the Eid-ul-Azha. After Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha is the second Eid festival which Muslims celebrate. This is the Eid of sacrifice (qurbani) which is celebrated as conclusion of Hajj. When all the rites and rituals of Hajj are complete Muslims finish the rituals by slaughtering or sacrificing an animal in the name of ALLAH Almighty.
The festival of Eid-ul-Azha is also in memorial of the great sacrifice (qurbani) which Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) gave by sacrificing His son Hazrat Ismaeel (AS) in the name of ALLAH Almighty. ALLAH Almighty miraculously sent sheep for qurbani and save the life of Hazrat Ismaeel (AS), when Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) was about to place the blade on His throat. From then Muslims honour that occasion by slaughtering (qurbani) an animal on the day of Eid-ul-Azha, Regarding Eid-ul-Azha, ALLAH Almighty says in Quran, verse 2:196:
And complete the Hajj and 'umrah for ALLAH. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear ALLAH and know that ALLAH is severe in penalty.
This above mentioned ayah makes it clear that a person needs to offer a sacrifice (qurbani) whether or not he or she has gone in order to perform Hajj. This sacrificing of an animal in memorial of the Sunnah of Hazrat Ibraheem (AS) also comes with a enormous boost in the economy of the world where the purchase and sale of animals takes place at a huge level and the poor are also given similar and equal right in the meat of the sacrifice (qurbani). Therefore, this way in addition to completing the order of ALLAH Almighty and Sunnah of Hazrat Ibraheem (AS), Eid-ul-Azha helps feed the poor peoples who cannot afford to purchase meat.
In short, besides being religious and spiritual ritual of grave significance both Hajj and Eid-ul-Azha have great symbolic significance. These occasions hold universality all across the Muslim world and when they are performed, it delivers a message of universal unity and submission to ALLAH Almighty in the Muslim world. Hence, Hajj and Zil-Hijja are no less than any blessing.
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