IT’S Eid al-Adha today, an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.
If it sounds familiar to us Christians, it is because we read or heard it from the Bible. Muslims and Christians have common roots in the Old Testament, in Abraham.
Anyway, God later intervened and provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead of his son. The meat was then divided into three equal parts to be distributed to others. Tradition says the family retains one third of the share, another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors, and the other third
is given to the poor.
It’s a beautiful religious practice if only it is put to heart by everybody. Unfortunately, instead of love and care for others, violence and conflict seem to rule the hearts of many of us, both Christian and Muslim.
The celebration of Eid al-Adha will hopefully not only become another holiday void of meaning, but something that makes us reflect of how we live our lives amid the challenges in our midst.
In the province of Basilan, a Catholic bishop appealed for the release of a public school teacher who was abducted yesterday from Baas Elementary School.
“It pains me a lot because they are teachers assigned in the remote place to help the children so that they will be liberated from ignorance… Teachers are treasures because of their readiness to sacrifice,” Bishop Jumoad said in a statement.
The bishop condemned the incident, saying the abductors “have no conscience, no sense of gratitude, selfish and unfair.”
The Eid al-Adha story started four thousand years ago in Mecca, once a dry, rocky and uninhabited place, where God supposedly tested the faith of Abraham, the Father of All Nations.
Abraham was instructed by God to build a place of worship dedicated to Him. Abraham and Ishmael constructed a stone and mortar structure —known as the Kaaba— which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in God.
As the years passed, Ishmael was blessed and gave the nomads of the desert his message of submission to God. After many centuries, Mecca became a thriving desert city and a major center for trade, thanks to its reliable water source.
One of the main trials of Abraham’s life was to face the command of God to devote his dearest possession, his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God’s will.
When Ishmael was about 13, Allah decided to test their faith. Both father and son were put through the most difficult test of their love for Allah. Abraham had a recurring dream, in which God was commanding him to offer his son as a sacrifice. Joe Torres