Contemplating the Many Meanings of Sacrifice on ‘Eid al Adha

by Raana Smith

RSmith_EidGifts

My Eid-al-Adha 2012 checklist

Decorations: check

Gifts: check

New clothes: check

Eid menu: check

Pre-prayer snack: not needed

Prepare refrigerator and freezer for meat:  by October 27

Distribute meat: October 27-29.

Silver Envelope CollageSilver Envelope Goods

Going through my checklists, I recall a time when I didn’t have an Eid Al-Adha checklist; a time when I didn’t celebrate this Eid as festively as Eid Al-Fitr; a time before my son came along when sometimes I was stuck working through Eid instead of attending the prayers.  Sometimes we just find ourselves both stuck in that daily grind and losing perspective on the important things in life. When my son came along that all changed. Today, our home is buzzing with excitement as we prepare for the Eid celebration.  And our hearts buzz as well, as we remember Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to Allah. Whereas, as a community we have grown accustomed to build celebrations around Eid Al-Fitr and the spiritually charged month of Ramadan, Eid Al-Adha and the spiritually-charged act of sacrifice it represents has often been overlooked.

The magnitude of Ibrahim’s sacrifice is awe inspiring. I see this especially now as a parent.  To be willing to part with someone so precious and dear out of love and submission is so hard to wrap the mind around.  As we all struggle to make it through the day, getting our kids ready and off to school, making dinner, washing the laundry, we hold dear that belief in something greater than ourselves. And we struggle with those fundamental questions that fuel our faith (our spiritual checklist):  Is my connection with Allah where it should be? What would I sacrifice for Allah? What would I sacrifice for my family? For my community?

Eid Al-Adha reminds me that, not only do I need to work on myself, but I need to nurture this belief in my son.  This year we decorate Kaaba cookies and have my son’s favorite figures do tawaf around them, reenacting The Hajj.  We also make cotton ball sheep and re-enact Ibrahim being given one to sacrifice instead of his own son.  I explain to my son that both acts were done many years ago out of obedience to Allah.  That’s what works for now, he’s only 2! As I anticipate the upcoming Eid, I see my home decorated with fun banners, balloons, and loads of beautifully wrapped gifts around the fireplace.  The smell of kheer that’s been cooking all night in the slow cooker fills the air.  I imagine the delight in my son’s face as he wakes in the morning excited to join in Eid prayers and to open gifts afterwards. The beauty to me of my life’s work in crafts, celebrations, and decorations, is much like food- they can be a perfect complement and a beautiful accent to both these spiritual lessons we teach our kids and the spiritual reminders we need to give ourselves.

In the end, no matter how many checklists you have, decorations you put up or food you prepare, no matter the frills or bells and whistles, Eid-al-Adha is at it’s core about sacrifice. It is about the beautiful, life-affirming things that can occur when you give yourself up to a belief and to a thought. For one day a year we get to truly celebrate this concept of sacrifice; the sacrifices you make for Allah, for your family, for your kids and at it’s very core the sacrifice that Ibrahim and Ismail (son of Ibrahim) were willing to make. So, while you take the time this year to celebrate this wonderful day with your family and friends, just remember to check in with yourself, to pause, to reflect, and to remind yourself there are causes much bigger than your own.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

What does Eid al-Adha mean to you? How do you prepare for it?

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1 pack Starburst Eid Cupcake Wraps $5.00
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Raana Smith is the Creative Director and Founder of SilverEnvelope.com, The Islamic Stationery Company. A mom with a passion for creative design, she has been developing Islamic products since she was 8 when she wrote ‘Eid Mubarak” on a plain ribbon purchased at K-Mart. 

7 comments

  1. Eid al-Adha is a time for me to remember and reflect upon the great sacrifices that Prophet Ibrahaim, Bibi Hajar, and Prophet Isma’il (may peace be upon them all) underwent. Their faith, obedience to Allah (swt), and strength inspire me.

  2. Thank you Raana for a very inspiring article, it made me stop and really think
    about the upcoming Eid. We have always done all the things
    That you mentioned in your article except decorate. Decorations
    do add a lot to the general mood of the home. Thanks to your company
    we can indeed add “Decorations” to our check list.
    Keep up the great work you are doing and Thank You.

  3. Eid al-Adha means an opportunity to share information about Islam w/ non-Muslims. I’m actually helping a Muslim friend of mine put together “goodie bags” like you suggested for Ramadan, to give out to his co-workers @ the end of the month. I really like this celebration as an opportunity for education because the story of the Prophet Abraham & Ishmael is true for Jews, Christians, & Muslims and demonstrates an area of common ground.

    Yvonne, can you suggest something to write on cards concerning information about this holiday to go inside the goodie bags? Thank you!

  4. Eid al Adha is a time for reflection and remembrance of one of the greatest sacrifices. It’s also a time for many to reflect on one of the spiritual journeys a Muslim can make. A journey to complete the rituals of our ancestors to honor them and learn from them.

  5. Salam, i love the two Eids we have because we wear new clothes in both but in the second one its something different. In the second one, we sacrifice an animal, which Ibrahim (A) did as a father, because Allah (swt) said him to. And what we should do for what Allah (swt), we should follow and understand what is being said to us, for us to do. I also love this Eid is because the ten days before this Eid, is we fast. I know we also fast in ramdan but the reason behind this fast is something different. I heard that if you fast in these ten days then your reward gets multiplied and Allah (swt) loves you even more, because you are fasting after ramdan and for Allah (swt). And in the fajr (suhoor) time, after we have eaten, we should make long duas, and ask Allah (swt) because he loves us to just ask with full emotion, like how the prophet (s) did, because he is always there to answer our duas. He says by this time he comes down from the seven heavens just for us, to ask him. I just love to fast, whenever the days for fasting comes, i pray to Allah (swt) for me to wake at fajr (suhoor).

  6. As a fairly recent convert, I’m still working on really including the meaning of Eid al Adha into my reflection on that day. The two that I have had have been very stressful so I’m hoping that this one isn’t. InshaAllah it’s a time for me to spend with my adopted Muslim family here and to bring joy to a few people that really need it during these times.

  7. This Eid reminds me of the importance of the sacrifices that we need to take. Also a chance to share the feativities with everyone. Preparations are made throughout the year by looking for decorations, finding new recipes, and educating my kids.