is the day Muslims all over the world will come together to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir, Christians are not left behind as many would also celebrate the festival with their Muslims friends. NAIJ.com has compiled some facts about the yearly event.
The slaughtering of rams is the most catchy events on this day as it is expected of a Muslim home to kill at least a ram on this day.
Eid-el-Kabir is the second Muslim holiday as it is commonly known in Nigeria considering the holier of the two Muslim holidays, the first of which is the Eid-el-Fitri holiday, which comes up at the end of Ramadan every year.
Like dejavu, in the climax of its arrival, the yuletide, otherwise couched the 'festival of the sacrifice', is expected to hit the town with a few activities such as buying and selling of rams in its heavy stock, for the celebration across quarters. However, ram sellers have started to bemoan low patronage at length and breath of the country. The Muslims on the other hand, are also not finding it any easy to do the necessary things libelled with the festivities.
Stakeholders, as well as buyers and sellers of the animals used for the Sallah festival, have attributed this unfriendly condition to the parlous state of the country's economy. Other reasons cited include the high exchange rate of the naira and the high cost of transportation.
In fact, some have even noted that this year's 'ileya' festival, will definitely mark a deviation from what has usually obtained in the history of the country.
Overview of Eid el kabir Festival
Eid al-Adha is another name for Eid-el-Kabir, the "Festival of the Sacrifice", also called the "Sacrifice Feast" or "Bakr-Eid". It is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year, and considered the holier of the two.
It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, Isma’il (Ishmail) as an act of submission to God's command, before God then intervened, through his angel Jibra'il (Gabriel) and informs him that his sacrifice has already been accepted. Today, the meat from the sacrificed animal is preferred to be divided into three parts.
The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy.
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In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for three days. In the international (Gregorian) calendar, the dates vary from year to year drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.
Islamic tradition has it that the valley of Mecca (in present-day Saudi Arabia) was a dry, rocky, and uninhabited place. God instructed Abraham to bring Hagar (Hājar), his Arabian (Adnan) wife, and Ishmael to the Arabia from the land of Canaan.
As Abraham was preparing for his return journey back to Canaan, Hagar asked him, "Did God order you to leave us here? Or are you leaving us here to die?" Abraham did not even look back. He just nodded, afraid that he would be too sad and that he would disobey God.
Hagar said, "Then God will not waste us; you can go." Though Abraham had left a large quantity of food and water with Hagar and Ishmael, the supplies quickly ran out, and within a few days the two began to feel the pangs of hunger and dehydration.
Hagar ran up and down between two hills, al-Safa and Al-Marwah, seven times, in her desperate quest for water. Exhausted, she finally collapsed beside her baby Ishmael and prayed to God for deliverance.
Miraculously, a spring of water gushed forth from the earth at the feet of baby Ishmael. Other accounts have the angel Jibra'il, striking the earth and causing the spring to flow in abundance. With this secure water supply, known as the Zamzam Well, they were not only able to provide for their own needs, but were also able to trade water with passing nomads for food and supplies.
In subsequent years, Abraham was instructed by God to return from Canaan to build a place of worship adjacent to Hagar's well (the Zamzam Well). Abraham and Ishmael constructed a stone and mortar structure – known as the Kaaba – which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in God.
As the years passed, Ishmael was blessed with nubuwwah (prophethood) and gave the nomads of the desert, his message of submission to God. Centuries from then until now, millions of Muslims still visit the Kaaba and perform the Hajj. The Hajj is considered one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims (who have the means) must carry out the Hajj, at least once in their lifetime - being the pilgrimage, which was started by Ibrahim a long time ago.
Eid ul kabir enjoys special significance because the Day of Sacrifice marks the climax of Hajj or Pilgrimage, which is the fifth pillar of Islam. Rams are slaughtered world over, to honour Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son for Allah.
In commemoration of their rejection of Satan, stones are thrown at symbolic pillars during the Stoning of the Devil during Hajj rites, this is in accordance with one of Ibrahim's rites during his Hajj. Therefore, celebrations continue for about three to five days after the festival day, with visitations to friends, families and recreational sites and Muslims exchange pleasantries, saying “Eid Mubarak”.
Record has it that in Saudi Arabia, the meat from the slaughtered rams (with each pilgrim slaughtering a ram) are packaged and conveyed to the needy across borders of the world. Such meat has accordingly being brought to Nigeria and to the Internally displaced Persons of the North East.
Islamic custom and tradition
Muslim faithfuls and their family, are expected to dress in their 'bluecoat' clothing to perform Eid prayer in a large congregation in an open field called Eidgah or mosque. Muslims who can afford it, sacrifice their best halal (acceptable) domestic animals (usually a cow, but can also be a camel, goat, sheep, or ram depending on the region) as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son.
The sacrificed animals have to meet certain age and quality standards, otherwise the animal is considered an unacceptable and impermissible sacrifice. This tradition accounts for the slaughter of more than 100 million animals in only two days of Eid. In Pakistan alone nearly ten million animals are slaughtered on Eid days costing over US$3 billion.
The sacrificed animals are preferably divided into three parts. One third of the meat is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; another third is retained for the family while the last third is given to the poor and needy.
To demonstrate the charitable practice among the Muslim community, concerted efforts are made during Eid-el-kabir, to see that no impoverished person is denied an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial feast during these days. Hajj is also performed in Saudi Arabia before the festival and millions of Muslims world over perform the Hajj.
Photo Credit: NAN
Eid in the Northeast
The Eid celebration over the years, since the deadly Boko haram sect has started their strike at the north-eastern part of Nigeria, has always not being the same, due to the fears of attack and the restriction of movements during the festival.
Over time, embattled north-eastern states have declared travel ban for the duration of the Muslim holidays, to guard against Boko Haram attacks. This has meant residents in those states, to have their celebrations indoor as a result, in order to make the ground zero for Boko Haram attacks that have killed thousands in the subsequent years. On some occasions, the people have had to resort to trekking long distances to visit mosques and to reach friends and relatives for traditional feasts.
At some point, the military in the embattled region, have arrested dozens of suspected Boko Haram militants at different towns, who had allegedly infiltrated the states to prepare massive attacks during the Eid celebrations at the northeast.
The travel restriction has prevented many residents from buying rams, lambs or other livestock used in traditional sacrifices during the festivities.
Main markets at strategic places have also been closed down because of security fears with many people being unable to buy condiments for their special meals, due to the market closure, meaning they had to make do with whatever they feel can serve them for the traditional feasts.
However this year, sequel to the applaudable efforts of the current President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on the security state of the country, especially at the embattled north-eastern part, there has been a restoration of a relative tranquillity and decorum, which assures the people of a difference in the celebration of Eid ul kabir, this year.
Therefore there has hitherto been no cause for alarm, regarding any security concern, as the presidency appears to be confident and buoyant in its effort to ensure security stability in the country, which gives the Muslims reason to greet themselves Eid Mubarak!