Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, is the Islamic festival celebrated all over the world after Eid al-Fitr each year. The holy festival holds immense religious and cultural importance as it brings with it many teachings and values. It is also known as Eid Qurban and is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, depending upon the sighting of the moon.
The day originates with a story that commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (also known as Abraham in Christianity) devotion to God/Allah with his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ismael or Ishmael). As per the religious texts, God asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his son on Mount Moriah. Ibrahim was utterly devoted and carried forward with God’s command, but God/Allah miraculously replaced Ismail with a lamb.
Therefore, the day of Eid Al-Adha is celebrated as the festival of sacrifice, but some disputed that the son of sacrifice was Isaac (Ishaq). Moreover, it is described that the devil (Satan) tried to convince Ibrahim to disobey God’s command but he refused and threw pebbles at Satan, Every year, Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha to remember Ibrahim’s loyalty and obedience to God above all others.
The brief history signifies a great gesture in history and with time the community has followed the tradition to remember these details. Muslims perform Hajj (a holy pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia and throw pebbles at three pillars in the city of Madinah. It is believed that was the place where Ibrahim threw pebbles at Satan.
The Hajj pilgrimage is the Holy City of Mecca and is part of Five Pillars of Islam. Pilgrims walk seven times in a counter-clockwise direction around Ka’bh – a shrine revered as a holy place for prayer. The holy place was built by Adam while later rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim and his son.
Both festivals are signified as Eid, which defines ‘feast’ in Aramaic and Arabic, but there’s a difference between each celebration. Eid al Fitr is commenced on the first day in the month of Shawwal that means ‘Feast of the Breaking Fast’ whereas Eid Al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, which means ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’.
Traditions are very simple but differ from place to place, keeping one or two things similar. In different countries Eid al-Adha can be celebrated with small differing changes, but it always begins with the act of ‘Qurbani’ (sacrifice). After the sacrifice, people carry forward with prayers ‘Eid Salaah, which is a congregation at the nearest Mosque in the morning.
Qurbani on Eid Al-Adha is the word explains itself is the sacrifice of an animal (goat or sheep) to mark the devotion of Ibrahim for Allah. This is termed as Udhiya, which lasts for three days, from 10th to 12th of Dhu-al-Hajjah. In Islam, certain animals are selected for the day, including sheep, lamb, and goat, which are considered as one Qurbani share.
Meanwhile, if anyone sacrifices such as bull, cow or camel they consist of seven shares per animal. The Qurbani is divided into three equal portions where one-third is for you and your family, the second part is for friends whereas the third part is to be donated to those in need. The day is celebrated with friends and family members.
The ritual of sacrifice is similar to Zakat during Ramadan and Eid al Fitr, which asks Muslims to offer 2.5% or 1/40th of their annual savings to those in need. Eid al Fitr is marked at the end of Ramadan/Ramzan also called as ‘Bada Eid’ and practice ‘meetha moonh’ with vermicelli pudding (kheer or seviyan).
Followers wear new clothes and pray to Allah, which is also termed as Salat al-Edit recited at noon with Dhuhr prayer. Muslims in countries across the world including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, practice the holy ritual of sacrifice. Moreover, it’s a public holiday in Indonesia, UAE, Turkey, Jordan, Malaysia and more while some countries don’t have a nationwide holiday.
The date of this festival, like Eid al-Fitr, is dependant upon the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar. Different authorities sight the moon worldwide to determine the start of the month, and the exact date of the festival. Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court stated that Dul Al-Hijjah will begin on 22 July, while the Eid Al-Adha will start on 31 July.
UAE will also be celebrating the festival on 31 July, and authorities have announced a 4 day holiday for all public sector employees starting 30 July 2020, with work to resume on 3 August 2020. In India, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in the capital city Delhi announced that it will be celebrated on 1 August as the moon was not sighted in the country on 21 July.
The day brightens with ‘Eid Mubarak’ that means ‘blessed celebration’ that generates new hope, faith and joy for everyone. Hence, honouring Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son is followed by Arafat Day that marks the yearly pilgrimage to Hajj. Celebrate your Eid Al-Adha with abundance and illustrate the power of sharing to family, friends and those who in need. This is the best day and time to think about what we are willing to do for people. It’s important to remember the act of kindness and make a monumental impact on someone’s life.