This week marks a significant event for Muslim communities across Australia, Eid al-Adha. It is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or Festival of Sacrifice as it commemorates Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son to God. It is one of the pivotal, and arguably confronting holy stories of history, retold in the Qur’an, the Torah and the Bible.
Ban Mohammad, a Case Worker with Spectrum reflects on this special event and what it means for her and her family in Australia.
“When I close my eyes and think about this day in my memory, I am suddenly a happy and carefree child in my beautiful Bagdad (Iraq). It’s the mid 1980’s, and I was blithely unaware of the trouble that was yet to unfold. Every year, in the lead up to Eid-al-Adha my mother would become a flurry of activity, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning everything till the whole house was sparkling with joy. Our new special clothes were hung out and ready, always in the same place, on the same rack, and we bubbled with anticipation. On the morning of Eid-al-Adha we would wash, get dressed in our new clothes, complete our prayers, and spend the day close in the company of family, not working, and at peace with each other and the world.”
The arrival of war in Ban’s birth country changed everything, and in time she arrived in Australia to create a new life. With her husband, and her children, all born on Australian soil, she re-creates some of her Eid-al-Adha memories, right here in Australia.
“The Eid al-Adha festival has a special atmosphere of peace, respect, giving and receiving, as well as sharing and caring. It is a special day for children because it is a day to socialize with family, friends and other children in celebrating Eid al-Adha. Many Muslims are united in prayer at mosques and other venues, exchange gifts with one another and celebrate feasts together. It is also a time for many Muslims to make donations to the poor and the needy.
Traditionally, this observance is known as the Feast of Sacrifice because it included the sacrifice of an animal permitted for food (eg. a lamb) as an act of thanksgiving for God’s mercy. Some of the food would then be donated for charitable purposes. These days, in Australia, we simply include meat in our celebratory meal.
Eid al-Adha also follows from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This pilgrimage applies to Muslims worldwide, as they are required to perform the Hajj once in their lives. Some Muslims in Australia may travel to Mecca prior to Eid al-Adha to make this pilgrimage.”