By Zurah Nakabugo.
Muslims around the world will gather to celebrate Eid al-Adha on Saturday ( July 9), which marks the end of annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and marks Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son for Allah.
According to sources in Saudi Arabia, this year about 5 million people have performed pilgrimage in Mecca and out of these 1,100 pilgrims were from Uganda. This year’s pilgrimage has been considered as the biggest so far since many people had missed it for two years due to COVID -19 lock-downs.
Eid al-Adha is the second of two Islamic festivals celebrated by Muslims all over the world. The first, Eid al-Fitr, was celebrated in May to mark the end of Ramadan period of fasting.
Eid al-Adha is considered the holiest of the two Islamic festivals. This festival marks the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Ismail for Allah, but his son was then replaced with a lamb.
“The celebration rotates around when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as a sign of his faith or commitment to Allah,”Sheikh Yasir Kulumba, the Secretary for Religious Affairs, Kibuli Mosque said.
He says it’s similar to the Christian and Jewish stories in which God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, but spared him from doing so.
“To commemorate the tale, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts in an act known as Qurbani (share). One part of the sheep is given to the poor, one to the immediate family at home and one is reserved for relatives and friends,” Kulumba says.
He advised Muslims to give out slaughtered meat to different people including non-muslims.
Some Muslims may give money to charity to give poorer families the chance to have a proper Eid feast. Mosques and community groups will often arrange communal meals.
At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia), all Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha also known as greater Eid (Festival of Sacrifice).The prophet Muhammad said, a person who performs Hajj properly “will return as a newly born baby [free of all sins]”.
Sheikh Haidari Kizza, the Vice Chairman Hear Uganda, a humanitarian organization says, they expect to slaughter about 360 cattle only, during Eid al-Adha’s celebrations which will last for three days, ending on the evening of Monday 11.
“ There is a reduction of cows we have got this year for slaughtering. I think this is due to effects of Covid-19 from our donors. So we expect to give out few cows to people. And I request them to accept the little they will get from us,” he said.
He advised Muslims to slaughter animals than begging for meat because when you slaughter an animal, you benefit a lot from Allah since you show a sign of devotion.
They expect to donate meat to different parts of the country such as Kampala, Luwero, Masaka, Mbarara, Yumbe, Kasese, Butambala and others.
Sheikh Kulumba says, Prophet Muhammad said, any person who is capable of slaughtering an animal and fail to slaughter it, should not even come near the place where they are praying.
“ You slaughter the animal on Eid Adha, it means you fear Allah. Prophet Muhammad used to slaughter over 100 cows every Eid and cut them by his hands and also give friends to cut,” he said.
The deputy Imam Kasangati mosque Sheikh Muhammad Kakungulu advised Muslims not to look at the economic part of selling animals only but also rear animals to slaughter by themselves.
“ Slaughter animals that are health and have no debts,” he says.
Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.