SUNSET SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6: As Hajj draws to a close, Muslims worldwide look to Abraham’s example in the start of another religious observance: Eid al-Adha. Termed the “Festival of Sacrifice,” Eid al-Adha recalls the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, to God. (Wikipedia has details.)
Jews and Christians reading about Eid al-Adha may be surprised to learn that the Muslim version of the ancient story involves Ishmael and not Isaac. According to Islamic tradition, God knew that Ishmael was Abraham’s greatest treasure in life. As a test of obedience, God asked Abraham to place his son on an altar. Islamic tradition holds that Abraham realized God’s wishes through a prophetic dream; once Ishmael was on the altar, God called to Abraham and told him to sacrifice a ram instead. On this Festival of Sacrifice, Muslims sacrifice animals and distribute the meat to the poor. (Check out 2011 worldwide Eid preparations in vivid photos, courtesy of The Guardian.) In many places, Muslims also visit the graves of deceased loved ones.
Finding accommodations in many places for Eid al-Adha may be difficult this year: According to news reports, hotels in Dubai are expecting 95-100 percent occupancy during the holiday. Many countries make special plans for the holiday schedule. The United Arab Emirates announced on Monday that private sector employees will receive a holiday break Saturday through Monday; public sector workers will receive a holiday break through Tuesday. (Read more at ArabianBusiness.com.)
Many Muslim families purchase a sheep for Eid al-Adha, but what if there are no sheep in your area? Purchase one online, of course! (Get more information from the Morocco Board.) An official E-sheep can help a family fulfill its Eid duty while, at the same time, assuring the family that the sheep was provided at a reasonable price.