Eid-ul-Adha is the Eid of the sacrifice. It is celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Ishmael by Prophet Abraham. Prophet Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael. He agreed and just as when he was about to strike the knife, a ram appeared in the place of Ishmael. In memory of this miracle, Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.
Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated at the end of the Islamic month of Zil Hajj. This is the month when believers all over the world make the pilgrimage to Mecca and perform the rites of Hajj. On the last day an animal is sacrificed and it could be a goat, a sheep, a cow or a camel.
For the folks at home Eid-ul-Adha is a totally different scene. The animal for the sacrifice is bought a week or just the day before the start of the holiday, depending on the traditions of the family. It is kept outside the house and fed and watered accordingly. All over Karachi, near residential area, men set up stalls with bales of hay and straw and long grass for the animals. These stalls also sell “animal bling”, i.e. bells and beads for the animal to bedazzle it with. When the first animal in an apartment is brought, there is a lot of fanfare as it means the start of the Eid season. This occasion is very much adored by children who love to feed and care for the animals.
The nice thing about this Eid is that every family has their own traditions. Some sacrifice the animal on the first day, others on the second or third. On that day, the butcher is brought in and a prayer is said before the animal before it is cut. According to the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), the blade of the knife should be sharp and the blow should be swift so as to deliver the animal the least amount of pain. Then there is a family get-together where the meat is barbequed or made into dishes like quorma and roast. The women of the family help to clean and divide the meat which according to the tenets of the religion should be made out into three portions: the family, neighbors and friends and the poor.
Eid-ul-Adha is a celebration of joy and is a reminder to the Muslims about what it means to make a sacrifice for Allah.