This is the ultimate pain – that a parent sacrifices his own offspring, such as what Prophet Ibrahim did to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to Allah’s command. In the Quran, Allah’s command came in the form of a dream. As Ibrahim was about to do this, Allah stops him by sending Angel Jibreel with a ram to sacrifice instead. This act became the cornerstone of the Adha, or Arabic for sacrifice.
Eid al-Adha, Arabic for Feast of the Sacrifice, is one of the two most important holidays in Islam. Because Ibrahim was allowed to sacrifice a ram instead of his son, Eid al-Adha is commemorated by a symbolic sacrifice of a goat, lamb, cow, or camel. The meat is then shared among family, friends, and especially to those who have less in life.
President Duterte, through Proclamation No. 1189, and with recommendation from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, declared today, July 20, 2021, as a national holiday, highlighting the importance of this Muslim holiday.
Filipinos, whether they are Muslim or not, will find meaning in Eid al-Adha. The burden of sacrifice is heavier in these times, as the pandemic is still very present in each of our lives, threatening to upend the returning normalcy that we feel nowadays. We must not forget the continuing sacrifice of our medical practitioners, frontline workers, and daily wage earners.
Sacrifice can also mean putting our country above oneself. Like Ibrahim who followed Allah when his faith was tested, our faith is also tested at these times when we are in the cusp of developments in our national identity. Will we sacrifice our comfort and convenience for our nation? Will we raise our voices to call on others to protect our land? Will we extend our hand to those who need clothing and sustenance?
Eid al-Adha is not only about sacrifice and obedience, but also thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for but it should start with not only in our belief on our own capabilities but more importantly, on the cause of the greater good.