New clothes for everyone in the family, especially the children? – check!
House cleaned from top to bottom, inside and out? – check!
Old carpets cleaned? – check!
Cleaned and/or new carpets put down on the cold tile floor for holiday guests? – check!
Sacrifice prepared (purchased meat or chicken or goose or a whole cow, goat, or sheep)? – check!
Small sweet cakes of dates and raisins baked? – check!
Chocolate candy for guests purchased? – check!
Enough tea, sugar, coffee and cocoa to offer every guest all day long? – check!
Enough juice to offer every guest all day long? – check!
Since it is cold, kerosene heaters cleaned, prepared and filled? – check!
TV’s readied to have on for guests to watch while visiting? – check!
Driveways and outside steps scrubbed? – check!
Small money readied to give to beggars and children? – check!
Occasional thoughts of the Hajj in Mecca? – check!
Men attend the mosque early in the morning on The Day? – check!
Return home for family breakfast of rice, meat, soups, stewed vegetables, apricots? – check!
Another thought given to the sacrifice of Abraham? – Nope!
True understanding of the significance of Abraham’s obedience? – Nope!
Any thought of how this story should impact life? – Nope!
There are five basic obligations within Islam:
Repeat the creed – There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.
Give alms to the poor.
Pray five times every day.
If possible, perform the Hajj, the month long trip to Mecca.
Keep the annual month of fasting, Ramadan.
Islamic holidays follow a lunar calendar. The feast just recently celebrated, comes 70 days after Ramadan and occurs during the time while pilgrims are in Mecca. A portion of this obligatory trek to Mecca includes the sacrificing of an animal, in remembrance of Abraham nearly sacrificing his son.
In the Qur’an, the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son mentions no name. Earlier verses in that chapter speak of Isaac, but Islamic tradition holds that it was Ishmael, the son of Abraham with his wife Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar.
Scripture teaches, however, that the sacrifice Abraham offered was Isaac, his son by his wife Sarah.
In Genesis 22:1-14, God speaks to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering(v2)… Now I know you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son(v12).”
Among the Sorani, this holiday is called The Sacrifice, or The Big Feast! It is one of the major holidays in Islam, and its significance is being lost in the hustle and bustle of preparations. Sound familiar? It happens all the time in every society.
As the Christian community worldwide begins to prepare for Christmas, we must guard against allowing the preparations to supersede the worship of the One Holy God. We must never forget the sacrifice of God, the Creator of the Universe, in giving His Only Son, whom He loves, for the restoration of our relationship with Him!
Pray for the Sorani to be able to hear Truth, understand it, and the courage and strength to accept it!
More information on this Muslim holiday can be found here.