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Importance of Ileya Festival

Sallah ram

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TUNJI OLANIYI

As Muslims all over the world celebrate this year’s Eid-el- Kabir or Ileya festival on Saturday, July 9, 2022, they should reflect on the occasion and imbibe the culture of piety, holiness and the fear of Allah (God) in their conduct.

The occasion should also be used to pray for unity, progress and peace in Nigeria especially in these trying times of insecurity across the country with bandits and Boko Haram terrorists operating with reckless abandon despite the security apparati in various states.

It would be recalled that the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has declared July 9 as Eid-el-Kabir (Sallah), which is the second significant celebration in Islam.

The announcement, which was made on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 by the National Moonsighting Committee Nigeria on its Twitter handle, @moonsightingng, stated: “Eidul Adha will be on Saturday, 10th Zul-Hijjah 1443AH (9th July 2022) Insha Allah. His Eminence, the Sultan hereby calls upon the Muslim Ummah to intensify efforts in acts of worship during the first ten days of the blessed month of Zul-Hijjah and also pray for peace, stability and progress of the country”.

Dhul-Hijja is the 12th month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims perform the Hajj (Holy Pilgrimage) as well as observe the Festival of Sacrifice.

Eid-el- Kabir or Eid al-Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham in the Christian and Jewish traditions) to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael). Muslims around the world observe this event.

Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice his adult son. He obeyed and took Ismail to Mount Moriah. Just as he was to sacrifice his son, an angel stopped him and gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. This event is remembered and celebrated at Eid al-Adha.

The Islamic calendar is based on observations of the moon and the length of a particular month can vary between years. For this reason, predicted dates of Eid al-Adha may be corrected at the start of the month of Dhul Hijja. This is around 10 days before the start of the festival.

During the period, many Muslims make special efforts to pray and listen to sermons at various prayer grounds. They also wear new clothes, visit family members and friends and may symbolically sacrifice an animal in an act known as qurbani. This represents the animal that Ibrahim sacrificed in the place of his son.

In some traditionally Muslim countries, families or groups of families may purchase an animal known as udhiya, usually goats, sheep or rams, to sacrifice, but this is not common or legal in many parts of other countries. .

In these countries, groups of people may purchase a whole carcass from a butcher or slaughterhouse and divide it among themselves or just buy generous portions of meat for a communal meal on Eid-el-Kabir. People also give money to enable poorer members of their local community and around the world to eat a meat-based meal.

Also during the period, many Muslims travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Unlike last year, Saudi Arabia has allowed intending pilgrims into its Kingdom to perform the Hajj. It limited 2021 Hajj pilgrimage to 60,000 residents and nationals living in the Kingdom because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Justifying its decision last year, the Saudi’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in a Tweet in 2021 had said: “In the light of what the whole world is witnessing from the continuing developments of the Coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of new mutations, Hajj registration will be limited to residents and citizens inside the Kingdom only”, adding: “Those who are between the ages of 18 and 65 and are fully vaccinated, have received their first dose at least 14 days prior, or those who are vaccinated and have recovered from a COVID-19 infection are allowed to register”.

Those who made it to the Holy land this year re urged to regard it as an act of ibaadah. They are advised to celebrate moderately, obey the Saudi authorities and pray to Allah for the betterment of Nigerians. We wish them Hajj Mabrur

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands.

This symbolizes the willingness to give up some of our own bounties in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need.

It is a lesson because people should recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and that they should open their hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practised by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for their sins or using the blood to wash themselves from sin.  As stipulated in the Quran: “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.”

Considering the fact that this period of Sallah is the period of willingness to make sacrifices in order to stay on the straight path, people should therefore, submit themselves completely to the Lord, willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith and willing obedience that the Lord desires from people.

One aligns with the call on Muslims to continue to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness and sacrifice as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) and to also use the period to pray for peace, unity, prosperity and the stability of the country.

This has become necessary considering the challenges of security being faced in the country-bandits in the North West and North Central; insurgents in the North East; kidnappers, armed robbers and sundry criminals in other parts of the country.

It should be noted that since this period coincides with the electoral campaigns for the various offices from the local government poll to the Presidential elections in 2023, the political party supporters should abide by the rule of the game by shunning campaigns of calumny or mudslinging that will heat up the polity and fuel the already charged situation in the country.

The party leaders should also guide their supporters accordingly in order to shun any attack on personality but should base their campaigns on issues for the betterment of the citizenry. Any bloody clash of any sort during the electioneering will definitely rubbish the sanctity of the sallah celebrations.

Our leaders should imbibe the virtues of the celebration-sacrifice and total obedience to God- in governing their fatherland.  We believe that it is when they give good governance that people’s living standard will improve.

It is also believed that it is when the basic necessities of life are provided for people to take care of their needs the leaders will be expected to have responsible citizens and followers. And that is when we will see the improvement in the socio-economic development of the society.

As we wish the Muslims all over the world happy Sallah celebrations or Eid-el-Mubarak,  they are urged to celebrate with moderation and share with the less privileged in the society. They should abide by the COVID-19 protocols because the pandemic is not totally gone as the Federal Government through its various agencies is working hard to ensure that the virus should be a thing of the past.