Muslims around the world celebrated Eid ul Adha on the 10th of Dhil Hajj, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. This was also the day where two million Muslims performed Hajj in this year.  

Eid ul Adha is also known as Eid e Qurban as it marks the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (a) when Almighty tested him by requiring his wiliness to sacrifice his only child Ismail.  The real sacrifice was replaced by a ram and this event became the fifth pillar of Islam – the Hajj.

It is celebrated throughout the Muslim world with the symbolic sacrifice of a ram or similar permitted animal and the meat being distributed to the needy.

The Islamic calendar which begins with the month of Muharram – starts with the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a) (625-680/4-61 AH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s).  He was mercilessly martyred in Karbala, Iraq with his family and friends on 10 Muharram.

One may question the connectivity between these two occasions even though one event is an occasion for celebration and other event a sad commemoration. Prophet Ibrahim (a), the father of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) successfully accomplished all the commands of the Almighty, and was divinely elevated to the status of an Imam (endowed with leadership) and promised that good leadership would continue through to his descendants through his son, Prophet Ismail (Quran, 2:124).

The final Prophet Muhammad (s) (570-632 CE) was a descendent of Ismail (a). The last message of God Almighty was revealed through Prophet Muhammad (s) and he established an Islamic system based on justice and humanity in Medinah which later spread throughout the world.

Today, Islam is the second largest religion in the world (numbering upto 1.8 billion people).  The system that was established by the Prophet (s) continued until the martyrdom of Ali (r) (594-661/21BH-40AH) the first Imam and the fourth rightly-guided caliph of the Ummah.

The discord within Muslim Ummah began when Muawiya (602-680) declared himself as the ruler of Muslims to establish the Ummayad dynasty (661-750).  resulting in the Islamic system established by the Prophet (s) to diminish and the foundation of justice started to slowly fade away.

It further weakened when Muawiya appointed his son Yazid (647-683) as his successor. Yazid tried to legitimise his caliphate by forcefully taking approvals (bayat) from prominent figures of the Islamic Ummah.

Imam Hussain (r) refused to endorse Yazid’s caliphate. He was the Imam of the time and it was his religious duty to stop such a personality from taking over the office of the caliphate.

Imam Hussain (r) was forced to leave without completing the Haj and proceeded with his family and friends including women and children towards Kufa, Iraq where people had invited him to take up their affairs.  He ended up in Karbala, Iraq even though he did not intend to engage in battle but rather move away out of the reach of the Caliphate.

He sacrificed everything in his possession, his children, his brothers and finally, himself on the plains of Karbala on 10 Muharram 61 AH.

Imam Hussain’s (r) sacrifice has since been instrumental in many struggles to restore many human faculties such as honour, freedom and humanity.