By Abdiweli Aden:
Residents of Mandera County’s Elwak town yesterday marked Eid – ul – Adha in style after a Turkish aid agency joined the locals and the County government in celebrations to mark the big day.
The Turkish International Corporation Agency in collaboration with the County’s department of Special programs slaughtered up to 350 goats in order to give less fortunate members of the society a reason to celebrate.
County Director of Special Programs Mr. Alikheir Abdi who oversaw the exercise said his department donated foodstuffs such as rice, oil and beans to compliment efforts by the NGO which donated the animals.
The gesture put a smile on the faces of area residents some of whom could not afford to do the same on their own.
Eid-ul-Adha marks the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca. It’s customary for every able Muslim (as prescribed in the Five Pillars of Islam) to go on a Hajj at least once during his lifetime. Also popularly known as the Festival of Sacrifice, this Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing his own son Ishmael to the One God, Allah.
The history behind Eid-ul-Adha follows the story of the faithful Abraham, who was instructed by Allah in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, a black stone, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which the Muslims face during their prayers (salat). Immediately responding to the Lord’s call, Abraham set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael. At that time, Mecca was a desolate and barren desert and Abraham had to face a lot of hardships. However, he supplicated Allah’s commands uncomplaining. In a divine dream, he also saw himself sacrificing his son Ishmael for Allah’s sake. When he told this to Ishmael, the latter immediately asked his father to carry out Lord’s commands without faltering and assured that he was completely ready to give up his life for God. But miraculously enough, when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah spared the boy’s life and replaced him with a lamb. And this is what Abraham ultimately sacrificed.
To commemorate this outstanding act of sacrifice (qurbani) by Prophet Abraham, people sacrifice a lamb, goat, ram or any other animal on Eid-ul-Adha and give the meat to friends, neighbors, relatives and the needy. People who are away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this traditional sacrifice. Hence Eid-ul-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Day of Sacrifice.