Today, Muslims are celebrating Eid-ul-Adha, one of the religious festivals of Islam in various countries across the world.
In Ghana, as elsewhere, particularly Muslim countries, the day is a national holiday so that the whole nation can literally mark it in solidarity with the Muslim community (Umma).
Muslims celebrate two Eids in a year. The first is Eid-ul-Fitr (small Eid), which comes after the month Ramadan, and the second, Eid ul-Adha – big Eid,
Eid-ul-Adha is said to represent the most sacred time of the year for Muslims as it is marked during the Hajj pilgrimage.
As it is characteristic of Muslims, they have prepared both spiritually and physically for it.
Spiritually, they have followed all the necessary steps enjoined by the Qu’ran, including saying the Fajr prayers. Physically, they have taken extra care of their personal appearance such as cleanliness and wearing of new or clean clothes.
Today, our Muslims brothers and sisters are in their best of attire in the morning, going for the Eid prayers.
But for COVID-19 that may have forced some Muslims somewhere to have the prayers virtually, traditionally, Eid prayers are offered as part of a large congregational gathering.
The prayers are followed by a sermon, known as a Khutba, which lasts for between 15 and 20 minutes.
Once the Eid prayers and sermon are over, the Qurban or Eid sacrifice begins and the meat of the sacrificed animal is shared three ways.
One portion is for the person making the sacrifice, another for friends and family and the last for the poor and needy.
After this, Muslims come together to celebrate the festival of the sacrifice, which sees the exchanging of gifts and greetings.
Muslim festivals are mainly a time for families, friends and neighbours to spend time together and share food.
This act of sharing shows how caring Muslims are, which is a virtue all of us must learn.
They also provide opportunities for adherents to learn related religious teachings and history.
In the case of Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims learn of the obedience of the prophet Ibrahim (known as Abraham in Christian circles) to sacrifice his son Ismail when ordered to by Allah.
The story ends that just as Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice in his place.
The story is said to reinforce Muslims’ obedience and devotion to Allah or God.
The Ghanaian Times is pretty sure that the central theme of Eid-ul-Adha, obedience and devotion to Allah, is very much important.
Allah is not and cannot be compared to humans but we can agree that any good thing done for man honours Allah just as bad things displease Him.
For this reason, the Ghanaian Times appeals to Muslims in particular and all others in our dear country that it takes only obedience to the Word of Allah and the laws of the land to maintain peace and order, for every one of us to enjoy tranquility and security in this country.
It is great that there is a high sense of religious tolerance in Ghana, so as Eid-ul-Adha is being marked and Muslims are sharing raw meat and cooked food with other religious adherents, let us remember that we all are Ghanaians irrespective of the faith we profess.
The most important thing is that we should unite to develop our dear nation.
We should also remember obedience to the COVID-19 safety measures as we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha and beyond.
The Ghanaian Times wishes all Muslim a blissful and blessed Eid.
Eid-ul-Adha Mubarak! May Allah show His divine forgiveness in return for all your sacrifice! Amen