My first Eid — the religious holiday for Muslims worldwide — was celebrated in Gaza.
As it was explained to me, Eid al-Adha is a special occasion because Muslims are remembering Abraham’s devotion to Allah and his willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as God commanded. Once Allah saw that both Abraham and Ishmael were going to submit and make the ultimate sacrifice, he sent a sheep to be sacrificed instead.
The tradition continues today with the slaughter of sheep and dividing the meat to share portions with relatives and family and some with the less fortunate.
I’ve been thinking alot about what sacrifice means. As a mother, I think the ultimate sacrifice must be to give the life of a child. I know I wouldn’t be able to do that. Imagine the faith Abraham must have had in Allah!
What does sacrifice mean in today’s world?
For me, I think it might mean giving up, letting go, tossing aside some cherished beliefs about the world. As a Westerner from America, it might mean letting go of my sense of entitlement to consume the lion’s share of the Earth’s resources and a lifestyle that is both lavish and dangerous by global standards.
In the Middle East, sacrifice might require giving up cherished beliefs about the future — by both Israelis and Palestinians — based on their faith that the Almighty has a better future planned for both. That may be a sacrifice that is too big for either side to make, unfortunately.
So I’ll focus on the sacrifices that I need to make and hope that Allah, God, the Almighty is taking care of things in the Middle East.