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The lessons of Sallah

As Muslims all over the world celebrate this year’s Eid-el- Kabir or Ileya festival on Friday, September 1, they should reflect on the occasion and imbibe the lessons of piety, holiness and the fear of Allah (God) in their conduct.

The occasion should also be used to pray for unity, progress and peace in Nigeria especially in these trying times.

Eid-el- Kabir or Eid al-Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham in the Christian and Jewish traditions) to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael). Muslims around the world observe this event.

It is record that Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice his adult son. He obeyed and took Ismail to Mount Moriah. Just as he was to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him and gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. This event is remembered and celebrated at Eid al-Adha.

The Islamic calendar is based on observations of the moon and the length of a particular month can vary between years. For this reason, predicted dates of Eid al-Adha may be corrected at the start of the month of Dhul Hijja. This is around 10 days before the start of the festival.

During the period, many Muslims make special efforts to pray and listen to  sermons at various prayer grounds. They also wear new clothes, visit family members and friends and may symbolically sacrifice an animal in an act known as qurbani. This represents the animal that Ibrahim sacrificed in the place of his son.

In some traditionally Muslim countries, families or groups of families may purchase an animal known as udhiya, usually goats, sheep or rams, to sacrifice, but this is not common or legal in many parts of other countries. .

In these countries, groups of people may purchase a whole carcass from a butcher or slaughterhouse and divide it among themselves or just buy generous portions of meat for a communal meal on Eid-el-Kabir. People also give money to enable poorer members of their local community and around the world to eat a meat-based meal.

Also during the period, while many Muslims travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands.

This symbolizes the willingness to give up some of our own bounties in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. It is a lesson people should recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and that they should open their hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practised by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for their sins or using the blood to wash themselves from sin.  As stipulated in the Quran: “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.”

Considering the fact that this period of Sallah is the period of willingness to make sacrifices in order to stay on the straight path,  people should therefore,  submit themselves  completely to the Lord,  willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that the God desires from people.

Our leaders should imbibe the virtues of the celebration-sacrifice and total obedience to God- in governing their fatherland.  We believe that it is when they give good governance that people’s living standard will improve.

We also believe that it is when the basic necessities of life are provided for people to take care of their needs that the leaders should expect responsible citizens and followers. And that is when we will see the improvement in the socio-economic development of the society.

In other words it when life is made more meaningful that the citizenry will engage in more productive ventures thus creating employment opportunities especially the youth majority of whom are currently unemployed.

As we wish the Muslims all over the world happy Sallah celebrations, we urge them to celebrate with moderation and share with the less privileged in the society. Eid-Mubarak

For a better society

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