Creation Day Concurs with Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid ul-Adha in Many Ways
Today, the people living on this planet are responding to the joint call by Pope Francis and Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to pray for the care of creation. On the other hand, our Muslim brethren and companions on this planet, fellow stewards of creation are celebrating Eid ul-Adha to commemorate the devotion and obedience of Ibrahim to Allah by consenting to sacrificing his son, Isaac. On this special day, I draw out correlations between Creation Day and Festival of the Sacrifice. First, praying for creation and celebrating devotion to Allah are inseparable. Muslims are celebrating human devotion to the Supreme, Highest on High. On the other hand, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is a call for all of us to devote to God by being stewards of His mighty, divine works. It is a day when a communion to celebrate God’s wonders as manifested to, and through man needs establishing. Granted that the dates will not always concur considering calendar variations, it would be great for Muslims to call to mind the planet and its conservation during their daily prayers. As they slaughter sheep or goats, Muslims often observe caution not to abuse abundance. The others, who might be more inclined to praying for the care of creation than to celebrate Eid ul-Adha need to pray for Muslims as they celebrate this important feast in their religious calendar. Second, both Eid ul-Adha and praying for creation are about pilgrimage. Our Muslim companions mark the end of the Hajj (pilgrimage), which is more than a physical journey to Mecca; it is a spiritual journey as well! What’s more, Eid ul-Adha is not a one-day affair and it goes on up to September 5 in the evening depending on Islamic sect and geographic locale. Those praying for the care of creation are on a never-ending pilgrimage for eco-justice – both individual and collective. Pilgrimage offers all believers and nonbelievers an opportunity to reflect on their relationships with those below them, their equals, and the Supreme. Third, Eid ul-Adha and is statement of faith; it is a demonstration of the hope all Muslims have in faith based on the historical-religious accounts of Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah. Anyone else who commemorates Creation Day demonstrates faith in prayer and the devotion to God for His unfailing yet timely providence. When we pray for the care of creation, we devote ourselves to being stewards in spirit. We jolly in the Lord for his providence through creation as Muslims make merry, feasting on the providence of Allah through food and drink. Finally, care of creation is rooted in preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. As Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew agree in Laudato Si, it is logical and inevitable to ensure “a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters” (49). During Eid ul-Adha, Islam urges the faithful to celebrate and feast with the poor, sharing meals in a sense of community. They also offer gifts to the poor to enable them to have a meal with meat. This reaching out to the poor is a critical initial step for achieving the much needed ecological conversion, which “has a precious contribution to make to the renewal of humanity (Laudato Si 216).