© MANEL QUIROS | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
“Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous.” (Qur’an 16:120-121)
The meat from the sacrifice of Tabaski (Eid al-Adha) is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by the immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes the willingness of each Muslim to give up things that are of benefit to them or close to their hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes the Muslim’s willingness to give up some of their own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. They recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and open their hearts and share with others.
It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for their sins or using the blood to wash themselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)
The symbolism is in the attitude – a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the straight path. Each Muslim makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to them. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 2013.