by Raana Smith
My Eid-al-Adha 2012 checklist:
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 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.
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What does Eid al-Adha mean to you? How do you prepare for it?
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1 pack Starburst Eid Cards $12.85
1 pack Starburst Eid Cupcake Wraps $5.00
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1 pack Starburst Buttons $6.00
1 pack Starburst Balloons $4.50
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.