Bakri- Eid: A Festival of Sacrifice

India is a country with a blend of various religions, cultures, languages and festivals. Many festivals are celebrated throughout the year and are mostly declared as National holidays. One such festival is Bakri- Eid or Eid – Ul – Zuha. It is the second most important festival of the Muslims after Eid – Ul – Fitr or Ramzan Eid.

It has great religious significance. It is an occasion of sacrifice and is also known as Eid – Ul- Zuha, which means the feast of sacrifice. Muslims all over India and outside India celebrate Bakri - Eid from the tenth to the twelfth day of the Islamic month of Dhu al -Hijjah. Muslims celebrate this festival at the end of the annual pilgrimage of Mecca. Eid – Ul - Zuha is also called Eid- Al -Adha in Arabic. There is a fascinating story about Bakri-Eid that states the significance of this festival. Once Allah challenged Prophet Ibrahim and asked him to sacrifice his nearest and dearest one in his life. Ibrahim decided to sacrifice his son Ismail.

He had a strong faith in Allah and at the same time, he loved his son too. It was difficult for him to see his son die before his eyes He could not imagine the slaying of his own child but could not deny the order of Allah. He closed his eyes and raised the sharp sword chanting Allah’s name. He divided the head apart from the body and when he opened his eyes, he could not believe his senses; his son Ismail was alive, standing healthy and hearty in front of his eyes. In place of his son, Ibrahim found a dead ram. This strengthened Ibrahim’s faith in Allah and Allah’s love for him. Since then people ardently believe in the mercy of Allah and in the authenticity of the Holy Quran.

This festival has a great significance in the history and culture of the Muslims. A goat is sacrificed only during the sighting of the half- moon, and that is why it is called Bakri – Eid. People wear their finest clothes, pray in the mosques, embrace each other and exchange greetings. Every year an animal is sacrificed, and a feast is prepared comprising of various delicacies and sweets. The meat of the sacrificed animal is cooked and shared with the family, friends, relatives and the poor. The Muslims also believe that no one should go hungry on the day of the sacrificial feast and the food is shared with everybody around. People also pay respects to the dead and visit the cemeteries on this special day. This festival spreads the message that obedience and faith in God solely enriches our lives.

In this world of turmoil, where everyone wants to keep to themselves, this festival brings in the feeling of love, sharing, brotherhood and goodwill for all of us. From this, we must learn to sacrifice our own happiness and convenience for the wellbeing of others. We must have a strong faith in God and must always believe in Him, as He always walksbesides us. With our faith in God and respect for other,s we can make this world a better place.