EID-ul-Azha brings for the Muslims divine blessing, an occasion to not only enjoy but also to receive Allah's Mercy and reward through sacrifice and benevolence, patience and constancy.
Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated on the tenth of Dhul-Hijja through sacrifices and prayers in memory of the sacrifice of the Prophets Ibrahim Khalilullah and Ismail Zabihullah (peace be upon them). It does not simply commemorate the unique sacrifice made by them, it also testifies eloquently to the way in which both father and son cheerfully offered to suffer any self-sacrifice, however painful or difficult it might be, in order to obey the command of Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.
The glorious attempt of Hazrat Ibrahim to slaughter his son Hazrat Ismail (peace be upon them) as a sacrifice in obedience to God's Command, stands unique in the annals of history. Never, never indeed, has any other father tried unhesitatingly to slaughter his own son with his own hands, and in full senses, simply to obey the Master's Command. Never in history has any other son submitted himself whole-heartedly to his father to be sacrificed only to appease God.
This incident in the valley of Mina put an end to the horrible system of human sacrifice, which was common among most ancient people. Prophet Ibrahim's (pbuh) seeing in a vision that he, too, was sacrificing his son, his preparation to fulfill it literally, and the Divine Commandment to sacrifice an animal in his stead, indeed marked the abolition of the savage custom of human sacrifice.
Hundreds and thousands of sheep, cows, goats and camels are sacrificed in the name of Allah on this auspicious day. Unfortunately, however, very few of us celebrate this auspicious occasion in a befitting way, in the true spirit of Islam. Very few realise that Rabbul Alameen does not need the flesh and blood of the animals. What he asks for is the taqwa (which has been mentioned 211 times in the Holy Quran) and not lives in a physical sense. Sura al-Hajj declares very clearly: "It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches God: it is your piety that reaches Him. He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify God for His guidance to you. And proclaim the good news to all who do right."
Eid-ul-Azha is the system of denying ourselves the greater part of the food derived from the sacrificed cattle for the sake of our poor brethren; our symbolic act finds practical expression in benevolence and in fraternity and fellow-feeling, in sacrifice and solicitude for the indigents and have-nots. That exactly is the sublime message conveyed by Eid-ul-Azha.- An excerpt from the Article "The message of Eid-ul-Azha" by "Syed Ashraf Ali" who is a former Director General, Islamic Foundation, published here.
Off the topic : have you ever fallen ill during festivals...specially when you are allowed to take leave from office only twice a year in the name of festivals...well no points for guessing that it happened to me...sometimes i can bet that when everything is just perfect and nothing can go wrong, in my case, it has to be full on illusion..i slept the whole day and ate medicines..yukk!!