31 July 2020 - 16:27
News ID: 450544
One of the signs of the greatness of this day is that even though many long years ‎have passed, people still engage in this sacrifice and they keep its reminder alive.‎

RNA – The ‘Id al-Adha (also known as ‘Id of Qurban) is an important opportunity towards gaining ‎further proximity to God. This is a day when human beings remember their status of ‎servitude towards God and they remember how important it is to obey his commands. ‎Moreover, while carrying out God’s command in regards to the sacrifice in Mina, we should ‎remember that this sacrifice must be accompanied by a sacrifice in regards to our carnal ‎desires as well. In reality, the sacrifice of our carnal desires is the key issue in this matter. ‎Indeed, gaining a deeper understanding of the various facets and aspects of ‘Id al-Adha has ‎been greatly emphasized in the Islamic teachings, because without such understanding one ‎cannot make proper use of this blessed day.‎

In order to understand this day properly, let us delve in to the explanations of Ayatollah ‎Makarem-Shirazi in regards to the various aspects of this day. One of the key ways of ‎looking at this day is as a type of war against one’s carnal desires; it is a type of realization ‎of the ‘Greater Jihad’, which means fighting one’s evil-prompting self. Many of the Quranic ‎commentators have considered the Yawm al-Hajj al-Akbar (The Day of the Greater Hajj) to ‎mean the day of the ‘Id al-Adha. This day is considered as one of the most important days ‎of the Hajj pilgrimage and we have many traditions from the Ahl al-Bayt (as well as traditions ‎in the Sunni sourcebooks) which confirm this meaning. In light of this understanding, let us ‎now turn to the viewpoint of Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi in order to better understand the ‎various aspects of this issue:‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: The Realization of the Greatness of the Islamic Faith in the Great Gathering of ‎the Hajj

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has explained the importance of the ‘Id al-Adha (particularly in the ‎context of the Hajj pilgrimage) in the following words: ‘Id al-Adha possesses certain ‎particularities which cause it to be one of the most important days of worship in the Islamic ‎faith. Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has then explained the significance of ‘Id al-Adha as a ‎symbol of the greatness of Islam and as a symbol of the Hajj pilgrimage, and he has said: ‎We Muslims spend our time fasting during the month of Ramadan and we repent of the sins ‎which we have committed. At the conclusion of the month, we are given the grace and ‎blessing of celebrating the day of ‘Id.‎

Similarly, when the Hajj pilgrims have concluded their rites, they also celebrate their ‘Id as ‎well. However, the blessings of the Hajj pilgrimage are not restricted to the pilgrims who ‎perform it; rather the Hajj itself adds to the greatness and honor for the entire Muslim world. ‎Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has considered this day of ‘Id to be a day when God has invited ‎the pilgrims as guests to his table, which is filled with many blessings and honors. Ayatollah ‎Makarem-Shirazi has mentioned in this regard: ‘Id al-Adha is a day when the people are ‎chosen to be the guests of God; the pilgrims have visited the house of God and thus they ‎have become his guests and the day of ‘Id al-Adha is a day of celebration for them.‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has stated that those who are not in Makkah during that time still ‎benefit from ‘Id al-Adha and they should hold celebrations and be extra cheerful on this day. ‎The reason behind this is that the blessings of God on this day spread beyond the pilgrims ‎who are in Makkah and they end up encompassing all of the Muslims.‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: A Symbol of the Great Self Sacrifice of the Champion of Monotheism‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has explained the essential nature of the sacrifice which is ‎performed on the ‘Id al-Adha in Mina. He has stated the following in this regard: One of the ‎rites of the Hajj pilgrimage on the tenth day of Dhi al-Hijjah is that of sacrificing an animal for ‎the sake of God in Mina. This is considered to be an obligatory action within Islam. Yet, by ‎examining the reasons behind the doing of this rite, we realize that one of the purposes of ‎this rite is to commemorate the self-sacrifice of Prophet Abraham, one of the champions of ‎monotheism.‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has then explained the actions of Prophet Abraham and he has ‎said: The story behind this event is that God wished to perfect the spiritual state of Prophet ‎Abraham and he furthermore wished to show his high rank and position. Towards this end, ‎He ordered him to sacrifice his own son in the land of Mina, in the way of God. In reality, ‎this sacrifice was simply a test and it was to prove the worthiness of Abraham. When ‎Prophet Abraham obeyed God’s command and was prepared to sacrifice his son, he passed ‎the test and thus he was asked to sacrifice a lamb instead.‎

In light of this, the pilgrims at the Hajj re-enact this grand sacrifice in Mina in order to ‎commemorate the lofty faith and sincerity of Abraham and also to remember how far he ‎was willing to go in God’s obedience. This remembrance brings the hearts back to life and it ‎teaches us to also be willing to sacrifice in the way of God and to be willing to make every ‎effort in his cause. It is said that a man of God is the one who is ready to sacrifice all he has ‎in the cause of God, just as Prophet Abraham was prepared to do so. Thus, this sacrifice on ‎the day of ‘Id al-Adha is simply a grand reminder of this momentous event in history.‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: A Feast of Obedience‎

According to Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi, the ‘Id al-Adha is a clear symbol of obedience to ‎God and following his commands. Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has mentioned in this regard ‎that: On the day of ‘Id al-Adha, which is the second most important ‘Id of the Muslim world, ‎the pilgrims first perform the rites of the Hajj and when they are finished, they celebrate the ‎‎‘Id al-Adha and the rest of the Muslim world celebrate it alongside them. This day is ‎considered to be a day of ‘Id, which is in reality a day of celebrating one’s obedience to ‎God.‎

Reflection on the Significance of the ‘Id al-Adha in the Field of Quranic Exegesis: The Verse ‎which Swears by the Rising of the Dawn

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has mentioned that the Quranic verse which states: ‘By the dawn’ ‎is in reality a reference to the day of ‘Id al-Adha. He has made the following remarks in this ‎regard: The term Fajr (dawn) in this verse is a reference made to the dawn of the day of ‘Id ‎al-Adha. The reason behind this is that there is a lot of commotion on that day and the ‎massive crowds gather together at the Mash’ar al-Haram, awaiting the coming of the dawn. ‎Everyone is absorbed in a state of supplication and prayer, and they are focused on God.‎

After the coming of the dawn, the people stay in Mash’ar for a short period of time and then ‎they move waves after waves towards Mina. The pilgrims finally stone the Satan in Mina and ‎they then perform the sacrifice; after this is complete, they then shave their heads (Taqsir). ‎This verse of the Quran is in reality a reference to the coming of the dawn of the day of ‘Id ‎al-Adha, which is a very special kind of dawn, unlike the other normal days of the year.‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: Total Submission to the Commands of God

In order for us to truly understand the ‘Id al-Adha, we must first look in to the teachings of ‎the Quran and the traditions, and then it is necessary for us to delve in to the story of ‎Prophet Abraham and the sacrifice of his son, Isma’il. Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has further ‎explained this issue in the following words: Prophet Abraham had passed many of the tests ‎which God had placed in his way; this time too, he was forced to gather his spiritual ‎resources, and strive towards passing this new test which he was being given.‎

He had been asked to sacrifice a son for whom he had been waiting for a very long time. ‎His son had now reached the age of youth and Abraham was being asked to sacrifice him ‎with his own hands… It is interesting to see that since Abraham considered his son of ‎thirteen years as being an independent and free soul, he wished to allow him to also ‎participate in this divine test and feel what it feels like to be obedient to one’s Lord, no ‎matter what is being asked of you.‎

Furthermore, Isma’il also wished to further strengthen his father’s will and resolve in the test ‎which he was facing. He didn’t tell his father “sacrifice me!”; he instead told him: “obey your ‎Lord and do what He has ordered you to do”. He also told his father that he would submit ‎before the command of God, regardless of what was being asked from him. When he spoke ‎to his father, he used the words of ‘Oh’ father’ which signifies that what they were doing did ‎not mean that they had forgotten the love and affection between a father and his son; yet, ‎at the same time, their behaviour shows that such emotions should never get in the way of ‎what God has commanded, for God’s command predominates over everything else.‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has then continued his explanation of how Prophet Abraham and ‎Prophet Isma’il attained victory in their battle, and he has stated: It is noteworthy that ‎Prophet Abraham had an exceedingly refined level of behaviour and courtesy towards his ‎Lord. He never believed that he could solely rely upon his own faith and willpower in the ‎fulfillment of his mission; rather, he relied on God as the source of all power and as a God ‎whose will dominated over the will of everything else. In this way, both father and son ‎passed the first stage of their great examination!‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: A Chance to Free Oneself from the Strictures of the Carnal Desires‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has explained the details of Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice in the ‎following words: A most sensitive moment had arrived and it was time to carry out the divine ‎command. Prophet Abraham saw that his son had also submitted before this command and ‎he embraced his son for one last time and kissed him. At this moment, both of them began ‎to cry. The Quran has recounted this moment as follows: ‘So when they had both ‎surrendered [to God’s will], and he had laid him down on his forehead…’ ‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has explained the meaning of this verse in the following words: ‎Some have said that the meaning of ‘…and he had laid him down on his forehead’ was that ‎Abraham placed the forehead of his son down according to his son’s suggestion, so that his ‎father would not be wrongly influenced by emotion in seeing his son’s face and fail to obey ‎God’s command. In any case, Abraham placed his son’s head on the ground, and he took ‎out his knife and began to cut… However, the knife failed to even scratch his son’s throat.‎

Rather astonished that the sharp knife had not done its job well, Abraham once again tried ‎to cut but once again, the knife had no effect. This was, in fact, because Abraham was ‎commanding the knife to cut, but God had commanded the knife not to cut and the knife ‎was being obedient to its Lord’s commands. Yet, what happened next has been briefly ‎narrated in the Quran has mentioned as follows: ‘We called out to him, ‘Oh Abraham! You ‎have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus, indeed do We reward the virtuous!’ God gave them ‎the blessing of being victorious in their examination and he also saved Prophet Isma’il from ‎being sacrificed. These were two individuals who had submitted themselves fully to God and ‎they were willing to do anything for His sake, even at the cost of their lives. The Quran has ‎then continued and mentioned: ‘This was indeed a manifest test.’’‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: A Gathering of Reward for the Sincere and Faithful Servants‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has further explained the essential philosophy of ‘Id al-Adha by ‎referencing various traditions. He has mentioned in this regard that: It has been mentioned in ‎some traditions that when this sacrifice was taking place (the sacrifice of Isma’il by ‎Abraham, the Angel Gabriel cried out with amazement: God is the greatest, God is the ‎greatest. And Abraham ‘s son cried out: There is not deity but God, God is the greatest! At ‎this moment, Abraham also said: God is the greatest; all praise is due to God. These are ‎similar to the calls of glorification which we recite on the day of ‘Id al-Adha.‎

The Great Sacrifice: The Reward for the Victory of Prophet Abraham in his Divine ‎Examination

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has explained the essential formation of ‘Id al-Adha and the ‎establishment of this Abrahamic tradition. He has said in this regard: In order that the actions ‎of Abraham would not remain unfinished and that he could perform his sacrifice, God sent a ‎large ram to him so that it could be sacrificed in place of his son. This act was then ‎established as a tradition for all the people during the Hajj pilgrimage in the land of Mina. ‎The Quran has made the following remarks in this regard: ‘Then We ransomed him with a ‎great sacrifice.’‎

So not only did God praise Abraham for his victory and obedience on that day, but He made ‎that act something which would be remembered and commemorated each and every year ‎by large crowds of pilgrims. The Quran has mentioned in this regard: ‘and left for him a good ‎name in posterity.’ This means that the act of Prophet Abraham continues to be ‎remembered up until today and it will continue to be remembered long in to the far future.‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has then continued this discussion and said: At this first stage, ‎God confirmed Prophet Abraham’s victory in the course of his great examination and he ‎confirmed that he had passed his test. This in itself was a great reward, for passing such a ‎great examination is itself a great blessing and grace from God. This was in reality the ‎greatest reward which God gave to Abraham. The next issue involved was that of the ‘great ‎sacrifice’ and the perpetual commemoration of the name and actions of Prophet Abraham ‎and this was a type of second reward which was given to Prophet Abraham.‎

‎‘Id al-Adha: A Day of Helping the Poor and Poverty Stricken‎

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has then referred to one of the important issues related to the ‘Id ‎al-Adha, which is the distribution of the meat of all of the animals which are slaughtered. ‎These are naturally distributed to the poor of the Muslim world. Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi ‎has mentioned in this regard: We must now see what Islam has said in regards to the meat ‎of these animals and if the Muslims have a duty in this regard. When we refer to the Quran, ‎we see that in Surah al-Hajj, the following instructions have been given to those who ‎sacrifice animals in Mina on the day of ‘Id al-Adha. The verse states the following: ‘…and ‎feed the destitute and the needy.’ Another verse in this same chapter states: ‘And when they ‎have fallen on their flanks, eat from them, and feed the self-contained needy and the ‎mendicant.’‎

The Correct Use of the Remaining Meat: A Completion of the Spiritual Benefits of the ‘Id al-‎Adha

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has explained how the aforementioned meat should be utilized ‎and the role that this plays in the completion of the spiritual benefits of ‘Id al-Adha. He has ‎made the following remarks in this regard: In our religious texts, it has been instructed that ‎the Hajj pilgrims need to divide the meat in to three portions. One portion should be used by ‎themselves, the other portion should go to the pious believers, while the third portion should ‎go to the poor. These explicit instructions show us that in addition to the spiritual benefits of ‎this act of sacrifice, there are also material benefits for the entire society. This meat must ‎never be wasted and there must be proper planning and organization to ensure that it is ‎used in the correct manner.‎

‎‘Id al-Adha and the Duties of the Islamic Governments

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has emphasized the necessity of having the proper management ‎for all of the meat which results from the yearly sacrifices. He has mentioned in this regard: ‎At this time, the duty of the pilgrims and the Muslim governments is to process and utilize ‎this meat in the correct manner. This is an Islamic duty which is in line with the other goals ‎of the faith. We must work towards building the proper cold storage units and prevent any ‎of the meat from going to waste. This meat should be used in the way the Holy Quran has ‎instructed and this is a goal which we can gradually work towards.‎

During past times, the numbers of the Hajj pilgrims were much smaller and the meat which ‎resulted from these sacrifices was used properly in that same day. Today, the numbers of ‎the pilgrims have increased due to the ease of travel. Therefore, we must utilize modern ‎technology to prevent the waste of this meat… This is a duty which is incumbent on the ‎Islamic governments and on the Muslims as individuals, and they must work hard to ensure ‎that no waste takes place in this regard.‎

A Final Word

Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has then concluded his discussion of the great event of ‘Id al-Adha ‎and the role of Prophet Abraham in its establishment as follows: One of the signs of the ‎greatness of this day is that every year, the numbers of pilgrims grow and become larger ‎and larger. Today, more than two million pilgrims commemorate the great sacrifice of ‎Prophet Abraham … In the Holy Quran, God has mentioned that: ‘Peace be upon Abraham.’ ‎He has also stated that: ‘This is how we reward the doers of good.’‎

In light of this, we must say that ‘Id al-Adha is a reminder of this key lesson from Prophet ‎Abraham, who became an example for all of humanity… His actions on that day many ‎centuries ago became a divine tradition implemented in to the rites of the Hajj pilgrimage. ‎This is a divine tradition which will continue to be remembered and practiced in the future. ‎We should know that Abraham is the forebearer of the Prophet of Islam and he is in reality ‎the father of the Islamic nation.‎



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