Adha in the Injeel

Fuad Issa

Muslims around the world annually celebrate the feast of Al-Adha. This feast takes place on the tenth of Dhul-Hijat, a month of the Muslim lunar calendar.

The root word for "Adha" is the Arabic word "Dahiya," which means "sacrifice." The "Al-Adha" feast is also known as the "Feast of Sacrifice" or the Great Feast, "Id Al-Kabir." In the Turkic world "Adha" Feast is known as "Qurbani."

At the Al-Adha feast, many Muslims sacrifice a sheep or a ram to commemorate the holy event when God redeemed the son of Abraham. This incident is recorded in the Quran in Surat Al-Saffat (37):99-111.

The Jewish religion also believes in this same holy event when God redeemed the son of Abraham with a ram. When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, the angel of the Lord stopped him. Abraham looked, and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. He took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering. The full record of this event is found in the "Tawrat," the Book of Genesis 22:1-19.

Although the Jewish religion does not commemorate this specific event with a feast, the same idea and meaning are included in the "Passover" that was given to them by the Prophet Moses. Jews celebrate the Passover to commemorate the night that God spared the Jewish firstborn from being slain in Egypt. The angel of death passed over the houses of those who put the blood of a slaughtered sheep at their doorposts, without harming their firstborn. The Passover is recorded in the Tawrat, the book of Exodus 12:1-14.

But where is the Christian Adha?

Since Christians believe in both the Passover and the Adha events, why don't they celebrate them? Is there a Christian Passover too? To answer these questions, we need to look in the "Injeel" (the New Testament) and examine its teachings on the character of God and His plan for mankind.


1   The Injeel teaches that
God is Love

God is the creator of the universe and seeks fellowship with his creation. God's joy and pleasure is to communicate with humans, the highest of creation, bestowed with both a mind and a will.

The Injeel says:

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." I John 4:16

"I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

Since God seeks fellowship with humans, why is our world so far from God? Why do people feel separated from God? It seems as if a great gulf separates us from enjoying God and his love.


2   The Injeel teaches that
God is Holy

God is Holy and righteous and humans are sinful. Everywhere we turn we see the sinfulness of humans. Their actions are symptoms of the real disease of Sin. Sin is rebellion against God.

All humans have sinned. Sin is choosing our way instead of God's way. All humans fall short of perfectly obeying God's standard and law. Since the days of Adam, all people have chosen to go their own way rather than to obey God. This disobedience is what the Injeel calls sin.

We have all sinned against God Almighty and cannot remove our guilt. A righteous God is holy and cannot fellowship with sinful people.

The Injeel affirms that all have sinned against a holy God:

"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3:10-12

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23


3   The Injeel teaches that
God is Just

The Injeel continues to explain that Sin is what separates us from our loving and holy God. God's holiness condemns sin. The very righteous character of God cannot accept Sin. Therefore God and humans have been separated by a great gulf, which is Sin.

This separation from God results in spiritual death. The Injeel says:

"For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23

The wages of sin is death, yet no sinner can die to redeem someone else. This made a great gulf between the Holy God and sinful men and women.

Humans need God like a light bulb needs electricity. A light bulb without electricity is dead, lifeless and aimless. Sin has separated humans from God and made us spiritually dead, lifeless and aimless.

God's justice compels Him to punish and destroy sin. We have sinned against God Almighty, and the penalty is death. God cannot forgive a sinful person until that sinful person's debt is paid. Mere good works such as fasting or giving alms to the poor cannot pay the debt by earning God's favor. Even the most noble acts fall short of God's perfect holiness and justice. Our best is not good enough to please a perfect God, which means every single person - even the best of us - has sinned and must be punished.

A criminal cannot redeem another criminal; simply put, all humans have sinned and fallen short of God's law. God's holiness and justice do not allow forgiveness without payment of this huge debt. We have chosen our own way and broke God's commandment, so we must pay the penalty. The penalty is separation from God.


4   The Injeel teaches that
God is Merciful

God's mercy sought to provide an answer to this problem. God wants to fellowship with us, his creation, but sin has created a gulf between him and us. Only a righteous person can cross over the gulf to God. However, we have already established that everyone has sinned and fallen short!

Everyone, that is, except Jesus Christ. The Injeel teaches that Jesus Christ is the only bridge between a Holy God and Sinful humans. Why Jesus and not anyone else?

Miraculous Birth

The Injeel teaches that Jesus Christ was not the son of a human father, but was conceived in the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He was the only person to be born of a virgin. Jesus Christ's birth was not a result of the will of man, but the will of God.

Jesus Christ is unique in his miraculous birth. No prophet or leader has been born from a virgin. All prophets claimed that they were just humans, while Jesus Christ claimed that he was the "Word of God," "Kalimat Allah." God's power is responsible for this miracle.

"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.' How will this be,' Mary asked the angel, 'since I am a virgin?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.'" Luke 1:30-37

Miraculous Life

Jesus Christ lived a life of purity and honesty. He was obedient to the laws of God throughout his life. Jesus Christ taught like no one else and miraculously healed every weakness and disease. He was sinless from birth and was considered the greatest teacher that ever lived.

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, the epileptics and the paralytics, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him." Matthew 4:23-25

Miraculous Death

Jesus Christ did not come to earth merely to be a good teacher or healer. He came to be the sacrifice of God. Jesus Christ is righteous, sinless from birth, his death alone can pay the penalty. He came to redeem humanity from its fallen state. The Injeel clearly states that all have sinned against God and are in need of salvation. Salvation means to be pardoned by God because someone paid the penalty that we could not pay ourselves.

Jesus Christ is the only righteous one and he willingly paid the debt we owe. Humans are dead in sin. Sin is the gulf that separates us from God. Jesus Christ was crucified, and died as a righteous sacrifice for the human race. Just as Abraham sacrificed a ram instead of his son, Jesus on the cross was the sacrifice to pay the penalty of the sin of all mankind. The sheep died so the son of Abraham may be set free. Likewise, Jesus died so we can be set free. For as God redeemed the son of Abraham with a ram, likewise God redeemed the world through Jesus Christ.

As Muslims sacrifice a sheep at Al-Adha, and the Israelites sacrificed a sheep during Passover in Egypt, so God made Jesus Christ the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus became the true Adha. He was the Lamb of God to lift away the sins of the world. John the Baptist (known as the prophet "Yahya") prophesied when he saw Jesus and said:

"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29

Through Jesus Christ, God bridged the gulf that separated us from him.

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18

The justice of God was satisfied, for the penalty of sin was paid. The mercy of God was satisfied, for humans have redemption.

Miraculous Resurrection

Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin, so we may have fellowship with God.

Jesus Christ is righteous and did not deserve death. He is the Word of God "Kalimat Allah." Jesus is the incarnate Word of God becoming the sacrifice for our salvation.

Christ rose from the dead on the third day according to prophecy. Christ's resurrection proved that his sacrifice was acceptable to God.

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep." I Corinthians 15: 3-6

Christians around the world celebrate the Adha and the Passover in one glorious celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ (known in English as "Easter" and in Arabic as "Id Al-Qiama.") This is the Adha and Passover come true!

These holy events were object lessons God used so we could understand true redemption. The Bible says that the blood of calves and sheep will not wash away sins and that all our good works are like filthy rags compared to God's righteousness. No one can possibly pay the huge debt that is owed to God.

The good news is: God sent Jesus Christ to be the sacrificial lamb of God who takes the sins of the world.

Jesus Christ is Our True Adha!

To illustrate: if a friend of mine asks me to watch his house while he travels and I accidentally destroy the furniture. However, before his return, I wash his car. Would that cover the cost of replacing the furniture? No! If I ask my friend to have mercy and forgive me for destroying his furniture, since I washed the car, is it acceptable? No!

Even if he forgave me, my friend still has to pay for new furniture. Likewise our good works are not righteous enough compared to God's righteousness. Our good works, will never erase sin, for we are expected to do good and obey God's commandments.

Our Sin insults God's righteousness, only Jesus' sacrificial work can suffice. Only the Christian Adha covers the debt of our Sin and bridges the gap.

The Christian Adha is available to everyone, for Christ came to save all people, of all nations and races. Through Christ we can cross over to fellowship with God and experience His love and redemption.


5   The Injeel teaches that
God is Forgiving

It is not enough to know that God has found an "Adha" for Sin, each one of us needs to receive this sacrifice in a personal and humble decision.

The following is how we experience God's forgiveness. We must repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to experience God's love and forgiveness.

Repentance is turning to God from our own sinful ways and receiving God's offer of forgiveness made possible by Christ's work on the cross (the Christian Adha). The Injeel says:

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9

Sin dwells within the hearts of every human being. The human race is in need of a "heart transplant," a new life that will change a sinner to a saint. The Injeel says:

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

The Christian Adha released us from spiritual death and offered us eternal life. God's gift of eternal life is in accepting Christ's sacrifice. We receive Christ's sacrifice by faith (trust).

Christ's sacrifice is free, yet priceless. We are to receive it by faith, we can do nothing to earn it ourselves.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

The gift of God cannot be enjoyed unless it is received. We receive Christ and his sacrificial work by a personal commitment.

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:12

Christ is seeking to enter our lives, cleanse us from sin and mend our broken relationship with God. Christ wants to be our Lord and Savior. Jesus says in the Injeel:

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in..." Revelation 3:20

Prayer is talking to God. We can pray to God wherever we are and whenever we want. To receive Christ's sacrifice (the Christian Adha) we are to pray to God and in faith (trusting God) know that we have salvation.

Your prayer to God can be something like this:

"Dear Lord, thank you for your love to me. I ask your forgiveness because of Christ's atoning death. I open the door of my life and receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Make me a new person. Thank you for giving me eternal life. In Jesus' name.

Pray this prayer and ask Christ to enter your life, forgive your sins and restore your fellowship with God. If you sincerely asked Christ to enter your life, be assured that he did.

It is important to know that God's promises are true. In Revelation 3:20, Christ says, "I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in..." If you opened the door of your life, and asked Christ to enter as Savior and Lord, he will not deceive you. Christ is faithful.

The Injeel teaches that Jesus Christ is faithful to His promises.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you." John 15:7

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

"I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." 2 Timothy 1:12

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Points For Growth

Receiving Christ as your Savior and Lord is the beginning of a great journey with God. Below is an easy reminder to assist you in your daily spiritual growth and help you experience God's great love.

  1. Pray to God daily.
  2. Read the Injeel. The Holy Injeel is the word of God. It is food for your spiritual life.
  3. Obey God's commandments in the Injeel.
  4. Testify to others in word and deed of, what God has done in your life.
  5. Fellowship with other believers. It is important to fellowship with other individuals who made the same commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

If you have accepted the Christian "Adha" and seek an in-depth study of the teachings of Christ, write to:

Arab International Ministry
P.O. Box 50986
Indianapolis, Indiana 46250

Al-Injil Home Page