This Eid is celebrated by the entire Muslim world. It commemorates one of the most magnificent stories of Ibrahim.
He is 89 years old and begs the Lord for a son. The Lord is merciful and gives him a son, Ismail. After that Isaac is also born.
When Ismail is about nine years old, Ibrahim (PBUH) dreams that he slaughters him – it was a very, very harsh request from the Lord that has not so long ago given him his dearest wish. Now he is asking him to take his son’s life in the most violent way possible. Ibrahim did not negotiate with his Lord, did not disagree nor was he disappointed. He just told Ismail, who was a most obedient son, no son had ever obeyed his parents in such a way. He said ‘do as you are told, dad, from our Lord’.
Ibrahim takes his son and as his son agrees to what he is about to do a sheep comes along, a ram. At that time, God shows that his mercy is on those who follow him and follow his commands and shows that he will never let you down and that he will never betray you.
And so this morning we buy a lamb. One third of it goes to your immediate family, one third goes to the poor and the needy within your neighbourhood, within your village and one third goes to you and your family – wife and kids and parents.
As you eat this meat you just simply remember this story about mankind adhering to the Lord’s demands, regardless. Three days of celebrations follow. Like Eid Al Fitr, whom haven’t you seen? Whom haven’t you talked to, whom haven’t you asked for forgiveness. You start with the closest of kin and you go as far as friends and neighbors.
This year we will have two weeks as per the order of Dubai Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. We’re going to have two weeks 24/7 so, let’s party and remember.
While people in the pilgrimage have just finished their most important moment and most important day standing on Mount Arafat, the mountain of mercy, asking the Lord to forgive them, now it’s the time for the people who are at home to celebrate such a day.
They attend the Eid prayer and go through the process of slaughtering a lamb.
There are specifics about the lamb that you slaughter – it has to be in perfect condition, a minimum of two years old, maximum of six years old. It can’t be just any lamb, it has to be in the best condition.
So once you have prayed and slaughtered the lamb you come back and you eat, having already given the other two thirds to the family, to the poor. Now everybody is celebrating, everybody is happy, everybody has meat. In the old days meat was eaten once in a blue moon.
Now for at least one day everybody feels equal and happy to have a decent meal.
The celebration then goes on with everybody dressing in their best clothes and then we go visiting – beginning with the oldest in the family.
If you have not really visited your neighbour before, guess what? This is the time.
Visit, take them something. Don’t buy something from the mall please, give them something very authentic, very original from your culture. Nobody says ‘no’ to anybody in such festive days.
It’s supposed to go on for three to five days and now we’re going to do it for two weeks.
We have a tradition that kids under nine years get Dhs10. Kids walk around and come across kids handing each other Dhs10. It’s not about the money but it’s the best time of their lives. It’s like wow! Everybody is generous, everybody’s kind, everybody’s peaceful. Let’s live it. Let’s enjoy it.
The decision from His Highness, inviting everybody to come to Dubai, makes it a time of gathering just like those who gathered in Mecca, from all walks of life, from all over the world, no barriers between each other regardless of their colour, gender, status, language they speak and all at peace with each other shoulder to shoulder.
It’s about peace between mankind.