Every year after the end of Islamic calendar of Dhu al-Hijjah, Western Sydney University at its Bankstown campus host the Eid Al-Adha – Spirit of Sacrifice – celebration dinner. This year was the event’s fifth year and was held on Friday 7 September 2018.
The event is organised by Dr Jan A Ali, Senior Lecturer in Islam and Modernity, and is funded by the School of Humanities and Communication Arts from its Campus Life Grant.
The aim of the event is to bring WSU Muslim and non-Muslim students and academic staff and organizational heads, both Muslims and non-Muslims from wider Sydney community together to engage in networking, cross-cultural exchange, and interfaith dialogue.
There were around 70 people in attendance including WSU undergraduate and postgraduate past and current students, academics from WSU as well as other universities such as the University of Sydney and Charles Sturt University, Christian church leaders, heads of Muslim community organisations, sheikhs, and social and community activists.
The Reverend Dr Peter Barnes from the Presbyterian Church in Revesby delivered a talk on the concept of sacrifice from a Christian perspective. He emphasised the similarity between the three Abrahamic traditions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and connected the concept of sacrifice to the trials and triumphs of Prophet Ibrahim.
Following Reverend Dr Peter Barnes’ talk, Dr Faroque Amin, a former Western Sydney University graduate spoke about the concept of sacrifice from an Islamic perspective in which he discussed the aims and objectives of sacrifice particularly in the context of Eid Al-Adha.
He noted that during the Hajj which takes place in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of Prophet Ibrahim. During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Prophet Ibrahim’s trials by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a lamb, goat, camel, cow, or buffalo.
He said that this is an act of sacrifice and Allah loves sacrifice. However, he clarified that Allah is in no need of sacrifice and it is not the actual sacrifice such as the slaughtered animal that reaches Him but the piety.
After the two talks, a short video on Hajj was shown to the audience and then dinner was served where people mingled together and networked.