Sacrificing an animal which could be a goat, cow or even a camel during the Idul-Adha is a long tradition of Muslims across the globe. It is the biggest festival in Islam which is marked approximately seventy days after the month of Ramadhan. The occasion offers Muslim faithful an opportunity to promote a bond of brotherhood among themselves and other faithful of other religions.
Big Sallah, as it is generally called in Nigeria, is celebrated in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (peace be upon him) and his son Prophet Ishmael/Isma’il (Peace be upon Him) for their obedience.
Both their obedience and devotion were accepted by Allah, who then ordered the sacrifice of a lamb in place of Ishmael (Peace be upon Him). Following the example of the Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him), Muslims who travel to Makkah for the pilgrimage also give their sacrifices on the festival of ‘Idul-Adha. On this day, all Muslims — men, women, and children — join in the congregational two Rak’at prayer that is offered in the open outside of a hamlet or town, if at all possible.
Adults who are financially buoyant are mandated to offer the animal sacrifice and share among the less privileged, neighbours, and friends and keep some for household use.
While it is believed Allah is not interested in the blood of the animals, the essence of the ritual is to increase one’s faith in Allah, follow His commandments and promote harmony among all peoples. Muslims of all ages put on their best attire early in the morning on an Eid day after taking a bath. Special meals are usually made by families.
Families that cannot take care of their slaughtered animals hire butcher men to do so. ‘Big Sallah’ is a festival millions of Muslims look forward to and the blood that is involved is a reflection of obedience, love and empathy.