Eid'l Adha to higlight peace, cooperation in Mindanao

John Unson - The Philippine Star
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - Central Mindanao’s Moro folks are expecting clerics to focus their khutab on the need for lasting peace and solidarity among local communities during Tuesday’s Eid’l Adha celebration.
The khutab (sermon) is part of the outdoor congregational prayer during the Eid’l Adha, also known as “Islamic feast of sacrifice.”
The Eid’l Adha celebration is centered on the biblical story, which is also narrated in the Qur’an, on how Ibrahim (Abraham) nearly slaughtered as a sacrifice his son, Ismail (Eshmael), to show “submission to Allah” when he was asked to do so as a test of faith.
The scriptural account of Ibrahim’s absolute subservience to his “omnipotent and merciful Allah” climaxed with a divine intervention, with a lamb coming out of the wilderness to be slaughtered instead, sparing Ismail from death.
By religious context, the Kurban, or sacrifice highlighting the Eid’l Adha signifies Ibrahim’s unquestionable belief in Allah, something every faithful believer should emulate.
The Eid’l Adha also marks the end of the annual obligatory Hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Asian Muslims call the event “Hariraya Hajj.”
The Eid’l Adha is capped with prayers and offering to poor neighbors of meat of animals butchered as Kurban.
Public officials have called on Central Mindanao’s ethnic Moro groups to offer prayers for lasting peace in troubled areas in Southern Philippines when they go out to perform the Eid’l Adha congregational worship rite.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, in an emailed statement, said the tenets of Eid’l Adha should motivate Moro communities to continue helping foster lasting peace and socio-economic development in the province.
“Islam has very profound teachings on solidarity among people with different religions. Religions, thus, should unite and not divide us. Learning how to respect each others' religious differences will make us become one strong community of people with varied faiths,” Mangudadatu said.
Maguindanao has 36 predominantly-Muslim towns where there are also Christian communities that have been freely practicing their religious traditions and worship rites.
Maguindanao First District Rep. Sandra Sema, whose office has dozens of development projects in areas ravaged by armed conflicts, said the spiritual relevance of Eid’l Adha can be applied to local governance.
Sema said governance in Islam is a “public thrust,” where leaders ought to work hard "in the spirit of public service".
“Good governance is important in Islam. It should be serving the people the way Allah wants us to serve them. In the Islamic context of governance, doing something good for even just one constituent is already doing something good to whole mankind,” Sema said.
Religious solidarity
North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza also extended Eid’l Adha greetings to her Muslim constituents with an assurance she will respect and support their religious activities through projects and mutual interventions.
Mendoza, who is Catholic, said she is focused on promoting  solidarity among North Cotabato’s Christian, Muslim and indigenous non-Moro folks to hasten the attainment of peace and prosperity in the province.
“We have always been giving importance to religious solidarity as a moral force that can propel the growth of the province. We have Muslim local officials and religious leaders helping us achieve our peace and development objectives along that line,” Mendoza said.
Eid’l Adha starts with an open-field congregational prayer after sunrise when pilgrims have descended from Mt. Afarat in the east of Mecca after  the traditional casting of stones to symbolize their rejection of evil.
Performing the Hajj to Mecca is obligatory for Muslims who can afford the cost of travel, in keeping with the “Five Pillars” of the Islamic faith.
The five foundations of Islam also include the absolute belief in Allah, praying five times a day facing the direction of Mecca, fasting from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadhan, and giving of zakat (alms) to the poor.
Muslims believe it was during the month of Ramadhan when Allah sent down from heaven Archangel Gabriel to reveal to Mohammad, then a shepherd in the ancient Arabian desert,  that he had been chosen to become Islam’s progenitor. 

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