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Blood Red Roads

The first time I saw the red of blood of sacrifice flow down my own neighborhood street, I knew I would never be the same. It carved a yearning into my soul that to this day still burns…my longing that all Muslims would have ample opportunity to know Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). 

Roads will run blood red yet again in a few days, as Muslims everywhere observe the  prescribed practices of Eid-al-Adha, or Sacrifice (Qurbani) Eid (June 16-17, 2024). Every Muslim family who can afford it is expected to offer a blood sacrifice in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah. Muslims believe that just prior to the sacrificial act, Allah ransomed Abraham’s son (Ishmael) with a lamb (Qur’an 37:102-107). The Qur’an records that in honor of Abraham’s obedience, Allah made an annual animal sacrifice compulsory to every Muslim’s faith practice (Qur’an 37:108-113).  

Typically, families purchase or select the sacrificial goat, lamb, cow, bull, or camel—the best of whatever they can afford—a few weeks or days prior to the event. They often adorn the animals with colorful tassels and pom-poms, and they take special care of them ahead of the sacrifice. 

The day of sacrifice begins with compulsory prayers. A bit later, an authorized Muslim cleric will arrive at the home to recite a designated prayer just prior to the careful cutting of the animal’s throat. 

In the neighborhood where we lived, my family heard the bleating of sheep and goats well into the afternoon. Our neighbors would then hang their sacrifices from trees or hooks rigged from  carport ledges, near or within the front gates. From a friend’s balcony we could see men—up  and down the streets in our area, skinning and preparing their animals for parceling and cooking. We watched as they hosed the blood and sacrifice remnants onto the road outside the gates. 

The carports were clean, but the roads ran blood red—for days, it seemed—at least until things dried up or phased out with the celebrations that followed. 

There’s a lot that could be said about Eid al-Adha, particularly regarding the endearing relationships we had with the neighbors we loved and who loved us, as well. I don’t want you to repulsed by the image of roads running blood red. 

Instead, consider its antithesis: the fact that Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), wants Muslims to know who He is. How it must sadden Him to witness their needless sacrifices … when the truth of what He has done for us all is freely available to them, as well.

During this Eid al-Adha, pray that Muslims will open their hearts to the truth about Jesus—and that they will seek and find Him! 

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