Out of curiosity, I decided to do a little research about the significance of the “Ileya” festival, which literally means, “Let’s go home…for Eid Al-Adha”, in the dialect of the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. I grew up to know that this Islamic event, also known as Eid Al-Adha or Eid ul Kabir is usually celebrated few weeks after the end of the Muslim fast.
It is normally associated with the sacrificial slaughtering of rams and considered as the holier of the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year.
I recall the usual fun-fair that precedes the Eid-el-Kabir: when as kids we would delight ourselves in being spectators of the contests of rams in our neighbourhood. Owners of rams proud themselves in the strength of those rams who emerge winners after a tightly contested fight.
Even though ram fight has become unpopular (and forbidden in some quarters), but then it used to be very interesting for me to see the excitement in my Muslim friends and neighbors. I do hope many of them truly understands the significance of this celebrations.
From the accounts I read on the Encyclopedia, The Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى, translit. ʿīd al-aḍḥā, lit. ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ is to honor the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael, as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before he sacrificed his son. God intervened by sending his angel Jibra’il (Gabriel), who then put a ram in his son’s place.
This is of course the account of the holy Quran. However, the son is not named in the Quran, but Muslims believe it to be Ishmael, though it is mentioned as Isaac in the Bible. What however, is striking and worthy of note here is the issue of obedience to God as demonstrated by Ibraham (or Abraham in Hebrew).
The sacrifice of his priced possession was one of the main trials of Abraham’s life. God was out to test his faith and prove his love, and the extent of his obedience to Him. In this instance, “Abraham had shown that his love for God superseded all others: that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dearest to him in submission to God’s command.”1
Muslims commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice every year with the believe that God ultimately prevents the sacrifice, additionally signifying that one should never sacrifice a human life, especially not in the name of God. (Quran, sura 37 (As-Saaffat), ayat 100–112)
For the Christians, the obedience of Abraham accorded him the title, “The Father of faith”, and of course this honour is extended to all those who fear God (Genesis 22; Hebrews 11). Faith, which is the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen“, becomes the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living (Hebrew 11:1).
Subsequently, the demonstration of absolute trust in God’s sovereignty opened doors to an everlasting blessings and multiplication for Abraham, and of course this extends to all those who are his descendants by faith (Genesis 22:16-18).Sincerely I would have thought that we would only inculcate the lesson of selflessness, obedience and faith demonstrated by Abraham and seek to submit to God’s instructions for living.
But amazingly, the actually physical sacrifices of rams to commemorate the EID AL ADHA is considered a worthwhile yearly festival by the muslim, similar to most festivals anyway. I do not have issues with this provided it brings to constant remembrance the significance of the event, and if these lessons are truly reflected in our lives and relationships.
Sadly, some sects believes that as part of their service and submission to the will of God, those who are not in agreement with their faith and principle (infidels) should be killed, and offered as sacrifice to God, an action they believe would accord them a bountiful reward from God in eternity. This is definitely a perversion of the truth, and such a movement is satanic!
No life is worth sacrificing to God or any god for any reason whatsoever. Every life is precious to God, and the righteous even more precious in death. Therefore, human sacrifice is an abomination to God and it is an act of wickedness punishable by human law and ultimately by eternal condemnation.
I do not intend to find a commonplace between the various religions because our beliefs differs here and in many ways. However, our willingness to fear God, obey His instructions and live godly and sacrificial lives is very pertinent.
Furthermore, God’s intervention in providing a ram in place of Isaac is very instructive. “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram…and Abraham offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son (Genesis 22:13).
Life is in the blood, and it is the blood that makes atonement for sin. In the old covenant, it was the practice of the Jews to offer rams or bulls as sacrifice for the atonement for their sin, and this they do repeatedly as long as they would be right with God (Exodus 29:36; Leviticus 4:31).
“For all intents and purposes, the Jewish practice of animal sacrifice ended in AD 70, the year that the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. With the temple gone, there is no longer a place for the sacrifices to be offered according to the Mosaic Law (see Deuteronomy 12:13–14).
The fact remains that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). Yet, I want to believe that aside from teaching obedience and trust in God, this festival is not intended to symbolize atonement for sin. The animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant have been replaced by the once-for-all sacrifice for sin given by Jesus, the Messiah. As Jesus established the New Covenant, He “died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15).
The need for animals sacrifice for forgiveness of sins is not sustainable. Animal sacrifices were merely a type of the perfect Sacrifice—the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). The sacrifice of Christ paid the debt of sin for all mankind, both Jew and Gentile (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 9:12–15).
Today, as we join our muslim brethren to commemoration the Eid ul kabir, let us constantly remember that one thing that distinguished our heroes of faith is their virtue of godly reverence, obedience, sacrificial lifestyles. Let us remember to care for the poor and needy amongst us.
For resource about how to go about completing Hajj and Umrah in 2019 with current changes, click below link: https://www.saudiarabiavisa.co.uk/ultimate-umrah-hajj-guide-2019.html
Let us remember that there is no other firm foundation for our existence except God, and to Him we shall all return to give accounts of how we have lived our lives of sojourn here. And to our leaders, your position demands accountability and sacrifice for the people who elected you. Leadership is sacrificial, therefore, you must promote the interest of the people over and above your personal or party interest.
More importantly, beyond Eid Ul Adha or any worldly celebrations, we must remember always that this world is market place and we will either by death or rapture leave this strange land to a place of eternity which is to be decided by our response to the ultimate provision of God for our salvation.
It is no longer a news that the plan of salvation is clear: “For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in him should not die but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We will soon be home let us live with eternity in view. You’re winning! Yes we are winning!
Eid ul Adha Mubarak!
Got questions: https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/www.gotquestions.org/amp/Jewish-sacrifices.html
Encyclopedia:Eid al Adha https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha