Monday, August 12, 2019

Eid'l Adha: Its Interfaith Significance

On this day marks the Islamic celebration of the 'Festival of Sacrifice' known as Eid - al Adha. This festival was unknown to me for many years in spite of being declared a holiday and I haven't understood much about its religious significance until recently when I have made an Islamic and cultural immersion at the Manila Golden Mosque in celebration of the end of Ramadan or the  Eid'l Fitr: A Moment of Peace

Community Immersion at Manila Golden Mosque during the celebration of Eid'l Fitr on June 5, 2019

Eid'l Adha is the time when Muslims from around the world commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham to sacrifice his son. What's interesting about this feestival is the similarity of the same story in Christianity found in the book of Genesis in the old testament.


In the Quran, God appeared to Abraham and was told to make a sacrifice of his son, Ishmael. In the Bible, the son of Abraham to be sacrificed was Isaac. Then, just before Abraham would end the life of his son, a lamb was replaced by God instead of his son. That was a test of faith given by God to Abraham and he passed it faithfully.

In a deeper sense and in today's significance, that son of Abraham may not be just a literal person, but would be something in us that is valuable; a part of us that we are most attached. It could be attachment to someone, to a worldly possession or obsolete thoughts.

These attachments take away our precious time with God due to divided attention. When God tested Abraham to sacrifice his son, it's like God's way of telling Abraham to pay attention to Him and obey His will and that Abraham will be able to follow wholeheartedly when his attention is undivided and to God alone.

In our reality today, God may be talking to us and commanding us of what to do, but we choose to ignore Him or simply we don't focus on listening to Him. We are preoccupied with our daily activities, our work or building relationships with our family and the community, but we dont give him much time and attention due to so many physical, mental and emotional distractions.

It's also a reality that God may take away something valuable or someone we love and that we have nothing to oppose, but to accept it  wholeheartedly because that is His will and that is the Divine plan. It is then we realize that God is in total control of everything, even the breath that we take and even our last breath on earth. 

Eid'l Adha is not just significant among our Muslim brother and sisters because all of us regardless of faith may have learned about the sacrifices that we have to take.

Today, we may be making sacrifices to save us and to uplift our soul. We may be sacrificing a relationship with someone, a friend or a group. This is where we let go of things that does not give much value to our being but just give us pain and sorrow.

When we let go of old habits and obsolete beliefs, we then take on a fresh idea, we accept a new relationship and we nurture what is ideal for God's glory and Divine love. That's an interfaith significance we all can learn from our Muslim brothers and sisters.

We do not hate, but we cultivate deeper understanding, acceptance and belonging. We do not fear, but we face the reality stronger and steady. We do not ignore, but we co-celebrate with humility and love to our Humanity. For we live to co-exist and we can live harmoniously, peacefully and happily.

© 2019 Del Cusay




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