Government offices, schools and most private offices are to be closed on Thursday to celebrate greater Eid: Eid al Adha, with the Maldives joining other Muslims all over the world to honour the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to show his obedience to God.
Male’ City Council has announced that 15 mosques in Male’ including Hulhumale’ and Villingili will conduct the Eid prayer on Friday morning. The Eid prayer is a special prayer which requires reciting the Takbeer, and delivering of two sermons – one before the prayer and one after.
The Eid al-Adha prayer is performed any time after the sun completely rises up to just before the entering of Zuhr time, on the 10th of the Dhul Hijjah month.
In Islamic tradition, it is highly encouraged to wear the best dress possible when attending the Eid prayer, and the streets of Male’ are full of people shopping to buy new dresses to wear for the Eid prayer.
Unlike many of the islands far from Male’, few activities will be held in the capital other than TV programmes, as many people take advantage of the public holiday and depart the city.
However, the outer islands celebrate Eid the way it was celebrated by Maldivians ages ago. Cultural dances, local Boduberu, Maali and Vedhuma Dhiun are some of the activities that most of the islands will never miss.
The Transport Authority has decided that Male’ will be a traffic free zone between 4:00pm and 10:00pm on Eid ul-Adha to make it more comfortable for families going out.
The Male’ west harbour area is left with few little boats as the fishing vessels have shortened their trips to make sail to their to their own islands – as they always do during Eid, so that they can take part in the cultural and religious festivities that will be held on the local islands.
The Eid Al Adha is a major religious festival for it is related to the Hajj pilgrimage, the holy Zam Zam Well and the ‘Kaaba’. According to the Quran, Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail laid the foundation of the ‘Kaaba’ the ‘Cube or the ‘Primordial House’.
The story of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice Ismail
The story of how Ibrahim acted when he was asked to sacrifice his only son at the time Ismail is mentioned as follows:
“O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!” So We gave him the good news of a boy, possessing forbearance. And when (his son) was old enough to walk and work with him, (Ibrahim) said: O my dear son, I see in vision that I offer you in sacrifice: Now see what is your view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah wills, you will find me one practising patience and steadfastness!” So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead, We called out to him saying: O Ibraheem! You have indeed fulfilled the vision; surely thus do We reward those who do good. Most surely this was a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations. “Peace and salutation to Ibrahim!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. Surely he was one of Our believing servants.
As Ibrahim was preparing for his return journey back to Canaan, leaving his wife Hajar and little Ismail in the middle of a dry, rocky and uninhabited area, which is now Saudi Arabia, Hajar asked him, “Did Allah (God) order you to leave us here? Or are you leaving us here to die.” Ibrahim turned around to face his wife. He was so sad that he couldn’t say anything. He pointed to the sky showing that God commanded him to do so. Hajar then said, “Then Allah will not waste us; you can go”.
Ibrahim left a large quantity of food and water with Hajar and Ishmael, but the food quickly ran out, and after a few days the two began to feel the pangs of hunger and dehydration.
Hajar ran up and down between two hills called Al-Safa and Al-Marwah seven times, in her desperate quest for water. Exhausted, she finally collapsed beside her baby Ishmael and prayed to God for deliverance. A spring of water gushed forth from the earth at the feet of baby Ishmael. Other accounts have the angel Gabriel (Jibrail) striking the earth and causing the spring to flow in abundance. With this secure water supply, known as the Zam Zam Well, they were not only able to provide for their own needs, but were also able to trade water with passing nomads for food and supplies.
Years later, Ibrahim was instructed by God to return from Canaan to build a place of worship adjacent to Hagar’s well (the Zam Zam Well). Ibrahim and Ishmael constructed a stone and mortar structure —known as the Kaaba— which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in God. As the years passed, Ishmael was blessed with Prophethood and gave the nomads of the desert his message of submission to God. After many centuries, Mecca became a thriving desert city and a major center for trade, thanks to its reliable water source, the well of Zamzam.
One of the main trials of Ibrahim’s life was to face the command of God to devote his dearest possession, his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God’s will. During this preparation, Satan tempted Ibrahim and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out God’s commandment, and Ibrahim drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him. In commemoration of their rejection of Satan, stones are thrown at symbolic pillars signifying Satan during the Hajj rites.