NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HAJJ AND EID-UL-ADHA
Literally, Hajj is an Arabic word which means, “a specific and spiritual journey to the Holy City of Makkah for the performance of the Pilgrimage which is an act of worship”. So, whosoever intends to perform the Hajj has to be in a state of preparedness to execute it. A Pilgrim performing the Hajj has to avoid sexual intercourse with his wife, and eschew sins. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam as reported by an Apostle called Ibn Umar who said Islam was built on five pillars, first testifying that there is no god but Allah, and that Prophet Muhammed is his messenger, secondly establishing regular prayers and paying Zakat which is two and half percent of ones wealth to be given to the poor. Next is fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan and finally the journey to Makkah.
The word EID-UL-ADHA meaning, “Feast of the sacrifice, also called the Sacrifice feast,” is the second Muslim holiday celebrated worldwide each year, and considered the holier of the two. It honors the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah’s command. But before he sacrificed his son Ismail, God intervened by sending Angel Jibreel who then put a ram in his son’s place. In commemoration of this, an animal was sacrificed and divided into three parts, the family retains one third of the share, one third is given to relations, friends and neighbors, and the remaining one third of the meat is given to the poor and needy. It is good on such an important day for family members, friends and relatives to gather for meals and exchange pleasantries to foster love and unity.
More importantly, Eid-Ul-Adha begins with a prayer of two rakats by an Imam, followed by a sermon after the descent of the Pilgrims from Mount Arafal, which is a Hill situated on the East of Makkah. According to majority of Islamic scholars, Hajj was legislated in the 9th year of the Hijirah that was after the migration of prophet Muhammed from Makkah to Madinah, as clearly stipulated in the Holy Qur’an. Performing the Hajj is an obligation upon every Muslim once in a life time. Every year more than two million Muslims from seventy different countries travel to Makkah and Madinah from all corners of the globe with the purpose of undertaking the great obligation of Hajj, which is exemplary for equality and unity .
It is refreshing seeing Muslims who belong to different nations, cultures, social and economic status all dressed in two pieces of unsown cloth performing the same rites. There is no difference between the rich and poor, as all stand infront of their Lord, in total submission and humility. The performance of Hajj provides a unique opportunity for Muslims to meet each other, understand themselves, increase in love, get closer and improve and resolve relationship, which is also means of achieving great rewards from Almighty Allah who is the Creator of all things.
By Sheikh Issah Gibril Abbas.