Eid Al Adha, one of the most important festivals of Muslims across the world, is also known as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’. The occasion is often marked with prayers coupled with sacrificing animals such as a goat, sheep, camel or cow depending upon what people can afford. As far as importance is concerned, Eid Al Adha is regarded as the second most important Islamic festivals in the Islamic Calendar with the first being Eid Al Fitr which is celebrated at the end of the month of fasting in Ramadan.
When is Eid Al Adha celebrated?
As per Islamic calendar, Eid Al Adha is celebrated on 10 Dhul Hijjah (meaning the month of the pilgrimage) every year. The day of the festival coincides with the third day of the Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage at Arafat in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Calendar is based on Lunar movements and is based on the sightings of the moon as compared to Gregorian calendar which follows the movement of the Sun.
Because of the Islamic month being of either 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the crescent moon, the Eid Al Adha might fall on different days in different countries around the world.
Understanding animal sacrifice on Eid Al Adha
On Eid Al Adha, Muslims all over the world sacrifice animals depending upon their social standing. Depending upon their condition, they sacrifice a goat, a sheep or a portion of a camel or cow on this day. Then, the meat is divided into three portions – one portion for the poor and needy, one for family and the third one is meant for self. The idea is that everyone must have a good meal on the Eid and enjoy with their family.
Historical significance of Eid Al Adha
Eid Al Adha is celebrated in the memory of Abraham’s obedience towards Allah who had asked him to sacrifice his own son Ismail for His sake. When Abrahim agreed to sacrifice his son, the Shaitaan tried to persuade him to disobey Allah’s will. To protest Shaitaan’s wish, Abrahim threw stones at him and continued to obey Allah and his will. Just when he was about to sacrifice Ismail, Allah substituted Ismail for a ram/sheep and Ismail was saved. In this way he was obedient to his promise to Allah.
How is Eid Al Adha celebrated?
Eid Al Adha is celebrated by offering prayers at the mosque with a large gathering in an open space or field. The Eid prayers are an hour and half long after the dawn prayer (Fajar) when the sun is out. The prayer is followed by a sermon by the Islamic cleric where everyone prays for forgiveness, mercy and peace for humanity. Once the prayers get over, the Muslims usually visit their family and friends, exchange gifts and share meal with them. People go on to participate in different Eid related activities and festivities across different parts of their town.