What Eid al Adha teaches us about making choices

What Eid al Adha teaches us about making choices

The story of Eid therefore embodies the principle of certainty (yaqeen), commitment and sacrifice.

Every Eid we are reminded of the story of Ibrahim (peace be upon him). He is the symbol of sacrifice. When he was commanded to sacrifice his son, he had absolute certainty (yaqeen) in Allah Almighty and true tawakkul (trust). It was a test of his imaan. A test of his commitment to Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty did not want Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to sacrifice Ismail (peace be upon him) otherwise the sunnah every Eid would be to sacrifice our sons, but Allah Almighty wanted, through his example, to show us absolute certainty and commitment.

When Allah Almighty asked Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to sacrifice his son, even though he was not happy to slaughter his son as any parent, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had no hesitation in his heart. This is a lesson on how to make choices, which we make on a daily basis. How do we make that choice? If our preference contradicts what pleases Allah Almighty, do we put Allah Almighty first before our whims and desires? Many things that please us might displease Allah. Do we have what it takes to put Allah’s preference before ours?

From his example of commitment and readiness to sacrifice what was dearest to him for Allah, it is no wonder Ibrahim (peace be upon him) is the father of the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moreover his son, Ismail also showed no hesitation. He knew Allah would not let him down. Thus father and son are a double example of certainty. He told his father to do what he had been commanded to do.

When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Abraham said, ‘My son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you think?’ He said, ‘Father, do as you are commanded and, God willing, you will find me steadfast.’ (37:102)

Protect our families from the constant erosion of our values

One of the five major aims (maqasid) of the Shariah is to protect the family.

These days we have a huge attack against the family unit and family values. We need to strengthen and protect our family. Allah commanded us to protect our family and to protect our principles.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا

O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire (66:6).

Do not compromise. No matter how difficult the situation is, it cannot be as hard as the one Ibrahim (peace be upon him) faced in sacrificing his son, so in this battle certainty in Allah should override everything else. It is our direction.

When you break the floodgates, don’t expect not to sink. This is why Allah Almighty put limits on what is permissible and what is not. However people keep tampering with these limits. As Muslims we cannot accept this. We have to protect our families, our values and our deen.

We need to cling to these divine values to protect our values and have to have certainty that Allah Almighty will not let us down. We need to do mobilise ourselves. Alhamdulillah there are people who are voices of good against evil. We should join forces together against any threat to our community. It is not acceptable to say something is haram and beyond the limits and do nothing. This is a small step but it is not enough. We need to join forces with others to protect our families.

The Sunnah of sacrifice

On the day of Eid it is the sunnah to offer a sacrifice. We can offer a lamb or a goat or a cow or a camel. It is a very confirmed sunnah (sunnah muakkadah) to do this. In the Hanafi school it is more than a sunnah, it is a wajib (obligatory) if a family can afford. It is sufficient to offer one sacrifice per family. How do we divide the sacrifice? Scholars have agreed on the basis of the collection of narrations that we should divide the sacrifice into three portions – a third for our ourselves, a third for our friends and family and a third for the poor. But it can be half for yourself and half for the poor.

A time of happiness

Eid is a time to bring tranquility and joy to the family. Others celebrate their festivals with joy and we too should make Eid a special time when we bring joy to the hearts and minds and souls of our family. Let’s work to improve our Eid celebrations and be creative and introduce new halal alternatives to entertain our families and bring joy to our community.

We ask Allah Almighty to grant us wisdom and enable us to bring yaqeen to our families and our communities and protect them and make our families righteous families.


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.