A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. A ritual may be performed on specific occasions, or at the discretion of individuals or communities. It may be performed by a single individual, by a group, or by the entire community; in arbitrary places, or in places especially reserved for it; either in public, in private, or before specific people. A ritual may be restricted to a certain subset of the community, and may enable or underscore the passage between religious or social states. In Islam, Eid-ul-Azha is observed in commemoration of the ???Religious Ritual of Abrahem??™ where he sacrificed his own son for the sake of Almighty Allah??™s will.
Today millions of Muslims follow this ritual by sacrificing cattle animals and pay homage to the example of ultimate sacrifice. I celebrate Eid by performing certain religious rituals like I dress my finest clothing and perform prayer (Salaa) in a large congregation called as Eid Gaah (worship place for Eid) in the first day of Eid morning. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice best domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Ibrahims sacrifice, any faulty animal sacrifice may not be acceptable by Allah (Quran,Hadith); this sacrifice is called “Qurban.” The meat is equally distributed amongst themselves, their neighbours and relatives, and the poor and hungry. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during this day. Coming immediately after the Day of Mount Arafat when Muhammad (PBUH) pronounced the final seal on the religion of Islam, Eid ul-Adha gives concrete realization to what the Muslim community ethic means in practice. People in these days are expected to visit their relations, starting from their parents, then their families and friends. All day long, I did all the things as the rituals of Islam have taught me over the years.
Now let??™s analyze our Eid-ul-Azha in contrast with the rituals??™ role in sociology. The basis of Eid-ul-Azha is following the ritual of sacrificing animal and hence it has been followed since past 8 centuries. It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Quran 22:37)
Muslims celebrate the festival of Eid- ul ??“Adha with lot of enthusiasm, enjoying each and every moment. Soon after the breakfast the animal is forfeited and then the meat of the slaughtered animal is distribute among the neighbors, friends, family and poor people. These sets of rituals are prescribed in Islam and have in one way or another have become the identity of muslims all over the world.
Islamic Rituals often have a close connection with reverence, thus a ritual in many cases expresses reverence for a deity or idealized state of humanity. The muslims consider sacrificing cattle as a source of achieving high level of deity. Hence, rituals play a vital role in shaping the identity of any society. These rituals transform the behavior of individuals of the society. Being the universal religion, Islam offers infinite rituals that are aesthetic and socially proven to be supreme in all terms.
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