The big deal about Ileya

“Sallah Thinz”, “Aran-Orin Loading”, “I Can’t Keep Calm, It’s Eid!”, “Ibadan, Here I Come!”, “Sallah Mood Activated”, “When it is Sallah and I can’t Keep Calm” and the likes are some of the captivating messages (memes) that appeared on the WhatsApp status of some of my contacts as they journeyed to their respective towns and villages to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Adha, which starts tomorrow, Sunday, across the globe.

Evidently, Eid-el-Adha is a big deal for many Nigerian Muslims. Unlike the Eid-el-Fitr, which is usually marked on a low key to thank Allah for the completion of the Ramadan fast, Eid-ul-Adha, which is the festival of the sacrifice of animals (camels, rams, cows or goats), slaughtered in accordance with the dictates of Allah usually does not go unnoticed, given the wide celebration accorded to it and most importantly, the re-uniting of family members as Muslim faithful gather in their various family houses for jumbo celebrations.

The slaughtering of animals for Eid is a lesson of trust, obedience and piety for Muslims as shown by Prophet Ibrahim, the Father of Faith and his household.

Little wonder the Yoruba Muslims refer to Eid-el-Adha as “Odun Nla”, meaning “The Great Festival”.

As you read this, thousands of Nigerian Muslims are already in the celebration mood in their native towns, villages and homesteads, while preparing massively for the festivities. The Eid period affords them the opportunity to interact, jubilate and share joyful and memorable experiences with family members, friends and townspeople once in a year.

The most significant activities expected from Muslim faithful on Eid day are: to garb themselves in their finest clothes, observe the Eid prayer, listen to the Khutbah (sermon) and slaughter their sacrificial animals. It is also expected of the Muslim celebrants to continually glorify Allah by saying a lot of Takbeerat (Allah is the Most Great), send out congratulatory messages to their friends and loved ones and say “Barka Da Sallah”, “Eid-Mubaarak”, “Taqabbala Llahu minna wa minkum” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.

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Nigerian Muslims, especially Southwest Yoruba Muslims, are also famous for their Aso Odun culture, where whole families, sometimes large, extended families, dress themselves in the same cloth materials, while identifying and differentiating their families with same at the various Eid grounds. This culture adds a lot of colour, pomp and pageantry to Eid-ul-Adha, and helps to unite families whose members probably only see themselves during the Eid all year round.

I rejoice with all Muslims in Nigeria and around the world on the occasion of this Eid-el-Adha. May Allah in His infinite mercy, in the spirit of this Eid, unite the disunited and fragmented Muslim world and save our dear country, Nigeria from disintegration. More importantly, my prayers go to the oppressed Muslims of Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Rohingya, Uighurs, Kashmir, and all other places where Muslims are being severely persecuted.

Don’t lose hope, dear brethren. Allah’s victory is near. I also commiserate with all victims of floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters all over the globe. May Allah alleviate their pains and restore their losses (Amin).

Eid Mubarak from all of us at Muslim News Nigeria.

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