Year after year, the day of ‘Eidul Adhaa comes and goes. In eager anticipation of this blessed day, animals are carefully chosen and purchased. Thereafter, on the day of ‘Eid, the blade is placed on the animals’ throats and they are swiftly slaughtered while Allah Ta‘ala’s name is taken and the takbeer echoes around them.
The slaughtering of the sacrificial animals is the highlight of ‘Eidul Adhaa, and every Muslim, who has the means, should eagerly and passionately carry it out. However, behind the slaughtering is a profound message for the Ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) – the message of submission.
The slaughtering on the day of ‘Eid, in reality, is a commemoration of the great sacrifice which Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) was prepared to make for the sake of pleasing Allah Ta‘ala. Allah Ta‘ala had commanded Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) to slaughter his young son, Nabi Ismaa‘eel (‘alaihis salaam). Being a father, and Nabi Ismaa‘eel (‘alaihis salaam) being his own son, we can well imagine the emotions that would have passed through the heart of Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) at that time.
Yet, such was his submission, and the submission of the young boy, Nabi Ismaa‘eel (‘alaihis salaam) as well, that he was prepared to fulfil the command of Allah Ta‘ala, and his son similarly declared, “O my beloved father! Do as you have been commanded, for you will find me, insha-Allah, to be from the patient one’s.” (Surah Saaffaat v102)
Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) then placed the blade on his son’s throat, but Allah Ta‘ala immediately sent a ram from Jannah, and this ram was slaughtered in place of Nabi Ismaa‘eel (‘alaihis salaam).
This was perhaps one of the most difficult tests that Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) faced, yet he displayed total submission and passed the test with flying colours.
When we examine the life of Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam), we find that he went through numerous tests, but in the face of every challenge, he displayed total submission before the command and wish of Allah Ta‘ala.
When his father did not accept his invitation to embrace Islam and persisted upon kufr (disbelief), he made the sacrifice of leaving his father and family. When he was blessed with a son at the advanced age of approximately ninety, Allah Ta‘ala commanded him to take his wife and the young infant and leave them alone in the scorching desert of Makkah Mukarramah – a place that was desolate, contained no vegetation and water and was completely uninhabited. Thereafter, when his son reached the age where he could move about, he was commanded to slaughter him.
These were just some of the tests that Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) faced, but no matter what the test was, he always expressed unflinching submission. Never, for even a moment, was he reluctant or unhappy with the command of Allah Ta‘ala. In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala praises the high level of submission which Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) displayed saying, “(Remember) when his Rabb said to him, ‘Submit!’, then he responded, ‘I have submitted to the Rabb of the worlds!’” (Surah Baqarah v131)
This is the message of the slaughtering on the day of ‘Eid – the message of submission before the command of Allah Ta‘ala. When Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) expressed total submission before Allah Ta‘ala, then Allah Ta‘ala granted him such honour and acceptance that he was selected to build the Holy Ka’bah – the centre of guidance for mankind until the Day of Qiyaamah.
On the day of ‘Eid, as our animals are being sacrificed, each of us should reflect and ponder over what level of submission we have shown in sacrificing our personal desires in order to fulfil the command of Allah Ta‘ala. One is submission in our actions, such as fulfilling our Deeni obligations and refraining from sins – but together with this, have we also submitted our hearts and minds before Allah Ta‘ala? Are we pleased with Islam as our Deen and with the blessed sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as our culture and way of life, or do we prefer the culture and customs of the disbelievers and find their way of life to be more appealing and attractive? This is the acid test that will determine the level of our submission.
Remember, the more we submit ourselves before the command and wish of Allah Ta‘ala, the more He will reward us, accept us and elevate us, in this world and the next.