Whenever you want to make a big decision, you might think about what would be the right choice; which one is better and going to lead you to the right way. When the choice is made and you have followed one way or another, again thousand thoughts appear. And one of those thoughts or questions is: “Was that predestined? Is it me who is making the choice or it was made for me before? What is my will in it?
Once a man asked Imam Sadiq (AS), “Does Allah make human beings to do or not to do a thing?”
He answered, “Allah is More Just to make a person do a thing and then punish him for that” .
Imam Reza (AS) also replied to a similar question with this phrase, “Allah is More Just and Wise to do such a thing” .
Divine wisdom and justice do not allow Allah to decide about good and evil acts of human beings, who are created to have a free will and the right to decide for their own fate. He directly refers to the fact that human beings are responsible for what they do and He just shows them the truth in the Holy Quran. They are to choose which way to take and what to do.
“and say 'This is the truth from your Lord. Let whosoever will, believe, and whosoever will disbelieve it.” (18:29)
“Indeed, We have guided him to the path, he is either grateful or ungrateful” (76:3)
So, none of the things we do in this world is the result of divine determinism. But we know that Allah has the ultimate will. He makes decisions, which no one can change. Where does His Will stand regarding human being’s will?
Are human beings the final decision-makers and Allah has no role and consideration in the decisions they make, or Allah makes the final decision and human beings have no part in the things that happen to them , and they have no free will? None! They both work together. For everything we do, both our will and Allah’s will play their own parts. 
Let me give you an example. Imagine a person who is in a terrible financial state and decides to go to his neighbor’s house to steal some money from their strongbox. The moment he decides to do such a thing, he knows that the money does not belong to him and might put the neighbor in trouble. He knows that stealing is not a good thing to do, and it’s against the laws of humanity, Islam, Christianity, and any other faith. At the end of the day, he decides to steal the money and goes to his neighbor’s house.
Well, the guidance is given by Allah, in the holy books, in one’s heart and thoughts, but it’s the person who makes the final decision. One might think that “Well, Allah could stop that man from stealing that money. Why didn’t he?”
The answer is that he surely could, but it is against his greater will to praise the ones who do what he commands them to do and the ones who decide to harm themselves, others, the earth, or the whole world. That is where the difference is made.
To sum up, one should know that Allah wanted us to decide and to choose, and that makes the difference between human beings and other creatures. Allah decides about certain things and guides us to the right path through signs and words He had sent to us. However, we are the ones who choose the way we want to take.
Which way is yours?!
Eid al Adha (or Dhuha) is one of the greatest eids of Islam. It is a feast of love, sacrifice, and submission to the will of Allah (s.w.t). Celebrated on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, it is the time of the year where Muslims from all over the world gather for the annual ritual of Hajj and mark the end of Hajj by sacrificing a camel, a cow or a sheep. Those Muslims who could not make it for Hajj, sacrifice these animals and distribute the meat and other gifts among the poor, their family and friends.
There are many recommended (not obligatory) rituals and practices to be performed on the day of Eid al Adha, some of them are as follows:
-Doing Ghusl (ritual bath)
-Eid Prayer, either in a congregation or individually
-Reciting the Ziarat of Imam Husain (AS), the third infallible Imam
-Sacrificing either a camel, cow, or sheep. Sacrifice is obligatory for those performing Hajj and recommended for those not performing Hajj
-According to Islamic laws, it is forbidden to fast on this day
Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was a true embodiment of the verse from the Holy Quran: “Do the people suppose that they will be let off because they say, ‘We have faith,’ and they will not be tested? Certainly, We tested those who were before them. So, Allah shall surely ascertain those who are truthful, and He shall surely ascertain the liars.” (29:2)
Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was a great Prophet of Allah (SWT) who is greatly celebrated in the Holy Quran. He is one of the Ulu –l-Azm (Arch) prophets. Allah (SWT) calls him his friend in the Holy Quran (4:125). The intended sacrifice of this holy prophet is greatly eulogized in the Holy Quran and the prophetic traditions. Abraham is especially famous for the numerous ways God tested him; especially the tough tests of leaving his wife Hagar and his firstborn son Ishmael (2:124) and bringing his son to a special place as an offering to God (37:100-113).
“My Lord! Give me [an heir], one of the righteous.” So We gave him the good news of a forbearing son. When he was old enough to assist in his endeavor, he said, ‘My son! I see in dreams that I am sacrificing you. See what you think.’ He said, ‘Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient.’ So, when they had both surrendered to Allah’s will, and he had laid him down on his forehead, We called out to him, ‘O Abraham! You have indeed fulfilled your mission! Thus, indeed do We reward the virtuous! This was indeed a manifest test.’ Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, and left for him a good name in posterity: ‘Peace be to Abraham!’ Thus, do We reward the virtuous? He is indeed one of Our faithful servants.” (37:100-110)
The Holy Quran gives us a very clear picture of the incidents that unfolded with Prophet Abraham (PBUH). It tells us that Prophet Abraham (PBUH) prayed for a righteous heir and Allah (SWT) answered his prayers. But after a few years, Allah (SWT) orders his Prophet to sacrifice his only son and both Prophet Abraham (PBUH) and Prophet Ishmael (PBUH) agree to submit to the will of Allah (SWT). It was a test for Prophet Abraham (PBUH) as well as his son Prophet Ishmael (PBUH), who emerged victorious from this test. Thus, leaving a legacy of complete submission to the will of Allah (SWT), a submission that calls for sacrificing everything you have to gain the pleasure of your beloved creator. It is this humble and pure submission of Prophet Abraham (PBUH) that makes this great prophet a ‘good example’ for us. (60:4).
The sacrifice of Prophet Abraham is not a fairy tale to be read to our children before going to sleep, it is a story that has the potential to make human beings build a lasting relationship with Allah (SWT). If we truly trust in Allah (SWT) and reach a position where we readily sacrifice everything in the way of Allah, we can proudly claim to be inheritors of the legacy of Abraham, a friend of Allah (SWT). But for us to reach that position we need to first ask ourselves: who is our Ishmael? Is it my child, my spouse, my property, wealth, job, position or my desires?
- Quran Translations, Ali Quli Qara’i
- Recommended rituals and practices on the eve of Eid and the day of Eid: Dua for EID ul Adha Night and Day (duas.org) (these recommended acts can also be found in Mafatih Al-Jinan under the section of aamaal for Eid)
- Exegesis of Surah Saaffat, Tafseer Nemuneh, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (Farsi)
Have you ever thought about sacrificing what you love most? How would you feel then? What if you lose that to gain a better thing; something that would make you a better person, more worthwhile? If you can sacrifice what you love most, to give it away or leave it behind, and if you do that to get near to your merciful sustainer, Allah, then you can feel the spirit of eid al-Adha with all your heart. In what follows, we will delve more into one of the most significant occasions in the Islamic calendar, eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Adha or eid al-Qurban is the second greatest feast among Muslims which is celebrated on the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah every year around the world. This day, also marks a part of Hajj rituals at a place called Mina near Mecca, where the pilgrims are supposed to offer a sacrifice to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s (PBUH&HP) act in submitting to Allah’s will and sacrificing his son, Ishmael (PBUH), for His sake . We will recount Abraham’s (PBUH) moving challenge in the following paragraphs.
Doing Ghusl on the day of Eid al-Adha is highly recommended (mustahab).
This prayer is precisely the same as the Eid al-Fitr prayer [i].
It is compulsory upon those participating in Hajj whether Hajj al-tammattu or Umrah. This act is also recommended for the Muslims who haven’t been attended the Hajj rituals. It is also recommended to share the sacrificial meat with other people, especially those in need so that everyone would have a part in the joy of this day.
Those who are present in the desert of Mina on this day must recite these Takbirs after daily prayers, starting from the noon prayer on the day of Eid and ending in dawn prayer of the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah. However, those who are not present in the desert of Mina on Eid's day should recite the Takbirs after ten daily prayers, starting from noon prayer of Eid's day, to the dawn prayer of the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah. These Takbirs are as follows:
اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، لا اِلـهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ وَ اللهُ اَكْبَر اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، و للهِ الْحَمْدُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما هَدانا ااَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما رَزَقَنا مِنْ بَهیمَةِ الانعامِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی ما أبْلانا
"Allah is great, Allah is great, there's no god but Allah and Allah is great, To Allah be the praise, Allah is great for He has guided us, Allah is great for he has given us sustenance from cattle, Praise be to Allah for He has tested us." 
Some of the supplications recommended for this day include Du'a al-Nudba, 48th supplication of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, which starts with: “O God, this is a blessed and fortunate day …”, and the 46th supplication of this book as well.
Note that fasting (Sawm) on this day is forbidden (Haram), just like Eid al-Fitr.
The Arabic word “eid” literally means, “to go back” and generally is a name given to special Islamic celebrations, such as eid al-Fitr, eid al-Mab’ath, eid al-Ghadir, etc. In other words, the Islamic celebrations are in essence a reminder for Muslims to stop and look back at their actions so far, repent from their sins and promise to follow Allah’s lead which has been brought to them by Prophet Muhammad and his progeny (PBUTh).
Al-Adha roots back to the word “Dhuha” in Arabic meaning “the time when the sun is rising before noon.” This word refers to the time when the pilgrims are supposed to offer their sacrifices, which is at the sunrise. Al-Qurban, however, which means “sacrificing,” refers to the act of offering a sacrifice done by pilgrims on this day.
At his old age, Prophet Abraham (PBUH&HP) saw in a dream that he had been sacrificing his beloved son, Ishmael (PBUH), his first child, after many years of being deprived of one, for whose birth he married Hagar and dearly prayed to Allah. He knew that this dream was a message from Allah, and there was no way for him to disobey his Lord. He retold the dream to Ishmael, and he, despite his youth, surrendered to Allah’s will and said, “Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient” (37:102).
It wasn’t a simple task for a father, for sure. But Abraham’s (PBUH) unbending faith in Allah gave him the strength to pull himself together and follow the command. He took Ishmael to an altar and was about to cut his throat when the glad tidings came from Allah that, “You have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous! This was indeed a manifest test.”(37:105-106). Abraham’s (PBUH) submission, patience, and trust in Allah were, thus, rewarded and a heavenly ram was sent to him to sacrifice instead.
Therefore, every year, Muslims celebrate prophet Abraham’s (PBUH) success in sacrificing what he held dearest for the sake of his dear Lord, leaving no doubt in his sincere love and submission to Him.
Abraham (PBUH) made a sacrifice to remove any barrier between himself and Allah and get as close to Him as possible. Thus, Eid al-Adha is the day to sacrifice anything, which has separated us from Allah and has deprived us of feeling His presence in our lives. The reason behind the commemoration of this day and the significance of Abraham’s story is to remind us that one should ignore his/her whims, sacrifice his/her inclinations and attachments to this world, the dearest of which children and the loved ones, for the sake of Allah and His Will.
In other words, Abraham’s adherence in following Allah’s command, despite the pain he felt and all the fluctuations he might have faced on his way to perform this duty, shows us that for a person who desires to be among the chosen creatures in Allah’s regard, nothing gets in the way between him/her and his/her Lord’s decrees. Nothing is dearer for this person, not even his/her family and children than his/her beloved Creator, Allah. Thus, His will, no matter how hard and painful it may be, goes beyond the love for family and children. On the other hand, when Allah saw Abraham's (PBUH) utter submission to His will even at the expense of sacrificing his son, He considered the test done and granted them a high status in this world and the hereafter. That is the case with every other person who demonstrates the same attitude toward Allah.
In fact, we do not sacrifice for Allah, since He is self-sufficient and not in need of our sacrifices. About sacrificing an animal the Quran says: “It is not their flesh or blood that reaches Allah; rather, it is your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He disposed them for your benefit so that you may magnify Allah for His guiding you. And give good news to the virtuous.” (22:37)
We sacrifice for ourselves, to be a better version of ourselves, to reach perfection. On the path toward perfection, one is always faced with tests and hardships. Trials are signs for us to realize that Allah has seen us worthy of becoming one of His desired creatures. And in every trial, one is required to make a sacrifice; this can be sacrificing your wealth, your life, your selfishness, your grudges, anger, etc. .
[i] Eid prayer consists of two rak'as. After Sura al-Fatiha in each rak'a another sura from the Qur'an is recited; however, it is better to read Sura al-Shams in the former and Sura al-Ghashiya in the latter or Sura al-A'la and Surat al-Shams respectively. After reciting sura in the first rak'a, there are five takbirs followed by five qunuts and in the second rak'a, four takbirs with four qunuts. Any supplications or prayers will suffice in the qunuts, like the other prayer, but it is better to read a special supplication .