A few weeks before Eid, we decided that this year we were going spend Eid at our home, instead of travelling long distances to family, like we usually do. We ordered our sheep, via the Imam at our musjid. The Friday before Eid the sheep were delivered to the musjid, and we went to ‘visit’ them, and Little Man named them. One of the sheep had black feet, and so was called Socks. The other was very very woolly, and got the unique name of Woolly Wonka. Every few days we’d go see the sheep, pet them, feed them, and had formed a bond with them.
This year, for the first time, in a long time, I decided to actually slaughter it myself. After Eid salaah, and breakfast, we returned to the musjid, where many people had already done theirs. Husband did his first, while the kids and I watched. My turn was next. I was nervous, sad, excited, afraid, but Alhamdulillah, with a few words of advice, and a good intention, I managed to do it quite easily.
I remembered the first time I had slaughtered an animal. I was eighteen, and had just finished high school. I was a headstrong determined teenager, and wanted to do it. As others held the animal down, my dad and uncle were beside me, and I began, but at the first sight of blood, my hand trembled, and my dad quickly put his hand over mine, and continued.
That single physical act, of dads hands guiding me have remained with me throughout all this time, in a metaphorical sense. A father always protecting, leading, guiding his family and children.
It was a very poignent reminder of the sacrifice that Nabi Ibraheem (as) was prepared to make solely for the pleasure of Allaah. It also highlighted the importance of a father-child relationship and the sanctity of that bond. And while every parent does make mistakes at some point, it is of utmost importance that we, as children recognise and realise that every action, is driven by a deep love and desire for our success. This is easier to relate to, since becoming a parent myself. And while most parent-child relationships have some hurdles, and stumble at times, that deep bond will be forever visible, and forever cherished.
All-in-all, this year Eid-ul-Adha was a lovely day, spent with lovely people, lots of lovely food, and moments of crystal-clear clarity, that it was deeply spiritual and most certainly faith-affirming.