The title mentioned above deals with a topic of great interest. To begin with let me say that there are two major festivalsof Muslims namely Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adhawhich they celebrate every year all over the world. This year in Bangladesh, a few days ago, we have celebrated the first one and the second one that we are going to celebrate on July 21 this year. The festival of Eid-ul-Adha has been regarded as a festival of great sacrifice. It has its background in the history of Islam. So, we come to know that Allah wanted to test Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (sm) asking him to sacrifice his dearest possession for the sake of Allah. Thinking that his most adorable thing that he loved much was his son Ismail he made up his mind to sacrifice him. The son gave his consent in obedience to Allah. Accordingly,Hazral Ibrahim took Ismail to the maidan and the later laid on the ground. Ibrahm was trying to slaughter him with a knife in the throat, but he failed. Then the messenger, Gebrail, came with an aminal called Dhumba as per Allah's order. Ibrahim sacrificed it for which Allah became pleased with him. From that time the festival of Kornbani came into vogue among the Muslims as a part of their ibadat for Allah.
As a matter of fact, Allah wants to see how much his subjects love Him by sacrificing their life and property for Him. The festival of sacrifice bears out this truth. As a preparation for the festival, the sacrificial animal is bought from the cattle market days before Eid so that it can be slaughtered next day after Eid-ul-Adha prayer. There is a religious feeling that strongly works behind this sacrifice. To the firm believer getting Allah's favour is more important than their wealth. It reminds me what Shakespeare in his Hamlet said, "What you give away is yours and what you keep is not yours." Our greatest poet Tagore has more beautifully said,"UdyerpotheyShonikarbani,
Khoi nai tar khoinai."
Commenting about Korbani poet Nazrul Islam also said, "Urahottanoiazshattagroho, Shotterudboudon."
Hence, in the Holy Quran, Allah as taught us to say:"Innas-salatiwanousokiwamahiyeawamamatilillahiRabbilAlamin"
(Surah - Al Anam)
It means, "surely my prayer, my Korbani, my life and death are in the hands of the owner of heaven and earth."
So, the main objective is the satisfaction of Allah through sacrifice. Eid-ul-Adha in the morning prayer is followed by the ceremony of Korbani. The slaughtering scene of the animal is very touching, but there is a lot of joy in it as it is done for Allah. After this act of sacrifice it takes some hours to finish off of the job of processing the meat. Then two thirds of the meat are distributed among the relatives and the needy. According to the rule of Korbani, only one portion is kept. Finally, the meat is cooked in each family and served among the members. During the whole day there is a festive mood everywhere in the country. The joy and enthusiasm of the festival last for some days. The pleasurable aspects of the festival include wearing new dress, exchange greetings, making various dishes, eating and entertaining, paying visit to friends and relations etc. The more pleasure one gets in celebrating the festival, the more enjoyable it becomes to him for greater happiness.
From the religious point of view, a special feature of the festival is that it enables us to come closer to Almighty Allah through sincere sacrifice for our salvation.
The social value is that the spirit of sacrifice fosters unity, brotherhood and fellow-feeling among men and deepen their bonding. The middle class and the low income level of people share the pleasure of the festival by sacrificing in group at minimum per head cost. On the other hand, the richer section of people spend a lot of money to sacrifice individually and feel delighted.
Besides being a religious duty, this festival is an integral part of our Islamic culture to which we adhere with fondest love and reverence.
In the end, if we judge from the moral and ethical angle of vision, we can say that the success of the festival does not consist in slaughtering the animal, consuming its meat and spending the day in merriment only, but in extricating beastliness from us for enlightening the mind to attain perfection and spiritual salvation.
The writer is a former VC of Britannia University