Muslims around the world on Sunday (6/11) will mark Idul Adha with prayers and ritual sacrifices. Idul Adha, or the Day of Sacrifice, honors Ibraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on the order of God, who, according to Islamic tradition, eventually provided a lamb in the boy’s place.
Idul Adha has unique spiritual, devotional, educational and social meanings. It implants in the Muslim heart the spirit of sharing and caring. It has special rituals, ethics and values that could, if properly observed, change a Muslim’s affairs for the better.
For instance, after prayers, Muslims are advised to change their route on returning from the prayer. Jabir ibn’ Abdullah reported that the Prophet Muhammad used to change his routes on the day of Idul Adha.
This wonderful recommended practice aims at giving Muslims a chance to meet more friends, neighbors and community members in order to exchange Idul Adha greetings and cement social ties.
Sharing and caring becomes more relevant and central to the ritual sacrifices of livestock — sheep, goats, or cows. Sharia (Islamic jurisprudence) allows for sacrificial meat to be distributed by wealthy persons with priority focused on the poor, as they are the ones who need it most.
Some of the less fortunate may not receive their share of meat (qurb'n) due to their homes in remote areas or lacking the facilities to receive their share, while the wealthy easily receive theirs while attending ceremonies.
The wealthy should not stop receiving their share, but it is prudent to give special attention and equality to those who are facing difficulties.
While they are being treated with equality, it is expected this will further increase the blessings for those who make contributions for the country.
Anybody who is about to perform the sacrifice should identify and invite people who are eligible to receive the sacrificial meat and to ensure that those recipients would not have to ask.
A situation where a person is always well-fed while his neighbors starve is frowned upon by Islam.
In addition, quite similar to Idul Fitri, Idul Adha is a day for exchanging visits and maintaining family ties. Maintaining kinship ties is an established duty that every Muslim should carry out.
Idul Adha is a golden opportunity to bring family members together and to visit one’s relatives, friends and community members. The Idul Adha day should not pass without visiting, calling, or emailing one’s relatives and family members in order to exchange Idul Adha greetings and cement family ties.
During my stay in Canberra some years ago, I knew about an Idul Adha Gathering to be organized by the Islamic Center; a party that aims at bringing the members of the community together to share the Idul Adha spirit and happiness.
I admired the idea and encouraged all my friends to attend the Idul Adha gathering in order to come closer to each other.
Muslims in Indonesia should also realize the significance of sacrifice during Idul Adha as a stepping stone to work hard to enhance quality of life, family, community and country.
While the act of sacrifice during the Idul Adha festivity educates Muslims to be altruistic and
generous, it also encourages individuals to refrain from being lazy and not merely rely on the goodwill of others.
Asking or begging is not worthy of praise and is discouraged. The Prophet Muhammad said that individuals who worked for their bounty, regardless how small the reward, are far better than those who beg.
Apart from its effect on one’s image, begging or asking without justified reasons is also deemed to be a negative trait within the community, leading toward reliance on goodwill contributions from the public or specific organizations.
For that purpose, the government must be serious about addressing beggars, not simply by launching crackdowns on beggars and street people, but also to present a shining image prior to important events such as the SEA Games. Sending street children to orphanages, encouraging the family planning program, or urging the tourism industry to go green are among the best ways of dealing with beggars and street people.
The essence of the Idul Adha festivities is ruined without taking the cattle criteria and quality standards into account.
Selections and identifications must be strictly based on sharia laws that require the cattle to be in good health and condition.
Prior to chopping and pounding, it is a must to ensure that the livestock have no physical impairments whatsoever. Otherwise, the animal is considered unacceptable to be sacrificed.
Muslims worldwide would celebrate the occasion with jubilation, whether in the mosques or in open areas around the world, witnessing the festivity.
Thank God, Indonesian Muslims could enjoy the Idul Adha festivity this year without serious barriers.
Last year, about 2,000 refugees who had fled their homes because of the threat of Mount Merapi’s volcanic heat clouds marked Idul Adha with prayers at the Maguwoharjo stadium in Sleman district.
The writer, a graduate of the University of Canberra, is a lecturer at Andalas University, Padang.