Eid Ul Adha Festival

There are two key Eid’s (Celebration Festivals) in Islam: Eid-ul-Fitr, which signifies the completion of the Holy Month of Ramadan; and Eid-ul-Adha, the greater Eid, which follows the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, at the time of Qurbani (sacrifice).

Although Eid-ul-Adha has no direct relation to the Hajj Pilgrimage, it is but a day after the completion of Hajj and therefore has significance in time.

The day of Eid-ul-Adha falls on the tenth day in the final (twelfth) month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar; Dhu-al-Hijjah. The day that celebrations fall on is dependent on a legitimate sighting of the moon, following the completion of the annual Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj –  which is an obligation for all Muslim’s who fit specific criteria, one of the important Five Pillars of Islam.

The celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah SWT and his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail. At the very point of sacrifice, Allah SWT replaced Ismail with a ram, which was to be slaughtered in place of his son. This command from Allah SWT was a test of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness and commitment to obey his Lord’s command, without question. Therefore, Eid-ul-Adha means the festival of sacrifice.

Depending on the country, the celebrations of Eid-ul-Adha can last anywhere between two and four days. The act of Qurbani (sacrifice) is carried out following the Eid Salaah (Eid Prayers), which are performed in congregation at the nearest Mosque on the morning of Eid.

The act of Qurbani consists of slaughtering an animal as a sacrifice to mark this occasion in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice for Allah SWT. This is also known as Udhiya. The days of animal sacrifice total three days, from the 10th to the 12th of Dhu-al-Hijjah.

The sacrificial animal must be a sheep, lamb, goat, cow, bull or a camel; the sheep, lamb or goat consist of one Qurbani share, whereas a bull, cow or camel consist of seven shares per animal. The animal must be in good health and over a certain age in order to be slaughtered, in a “halal” friendly, Islamic way.

The Qurbani meat can then divided into three equal portions per share; one-third is for you and your family, one-third is for friends, and the final third is to be donated to those in need.

Traditionally, the day is spent celebrating with family, friends and loved ones, often wearing new or best attire and the giving of gifts.

Eid al-Adha is fast approaching! As well as planning our party menu or our children’s presents, it is also important to remember WHY we celebrate Eid al-Adha? Where does this tradition come from? What does it symbolise?

Many people would be surprised to know that although Prophet Muhammad (saw) began the tradition of celebrating Eid al-Adha, it is actually a festival to remember Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.); his trials, forbearance, patience and unrelenting faith in Allah (S.W.T.).

Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) plays a very prominent role in the Islamic faith, being mentioned in by name in the Quran 69 times, second only to Isa (Jesus)(A.S.) who is mentioned by name 187 times. Prophet Muhammad (A.S.) is only mentioned by name 4 times, although it must be remembered that he was often addressed directly in the Quran by Allah (S.W.T.), and called by many other names. In Islam Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) is given the title “Khalil-ullah” meaning “the friend of Allah.”

Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) is described as a model of obedience and righteousness:

“Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous.”

(Qur’an 16:120-121)

Allah (s.w.t.) tested Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) will numerous trials and tribulations, but his faith never faltered. There are so many incredible stories about his life, and I urge you all to teach them to your children. A shining example of such a story is “The Sacrifice of Ismail.”

The Sacrifice of Ismail

Ibrahim is recorded to have a dream in which he believed Allah (S.W.T.) had commanded him to sacrifice his son Ismail. He told his son what have happened, and Ismail (A.S.), being a great prophet himself, agreed that if that was the command of Allah (S.W.T.), then they must obey.

Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) and Ismail travelled to Mount Arafat, and were ready to perform the sacrifice, when Allah (S.W.T.) sent a ram in the place of Ismael (A.S.), and his life was spared! Both Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) and Ismail (A.S.) had proven that they would obey the command of Allah no matter what!

This is why Muslims also make a sacrifice (Qurbaani) on Eid al-Adha; to commemorate the “sacrifice” of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (A.S..) We are advised to keep one third of the Qurbaani for immediate family, give one third away to friends, and another third to the poor.

This act of sacrifice, and willingness to give-up the meet and other worldly things, is a reminder of Ibrahim’s (A.S.) willingness to sacrifice that which he loved most in this world; his son Ismail (A.S.).

To Mark the End of Hajj

When performing Hajj we are constantly reminded of the story of Prophet Ibrahim.

Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) built the Kaaba, along with Prophet Ismail (A.S.), and established the pilgrimage itself. The act of Hajj, its rites and rituals, were taught to us by Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.).

“The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka (another name for Makkah); full of blessings and guidance for all kinds of beings: in it are signs manifest, the station of Abraham-whoever enters it attains security; pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to God-those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, God stands not in need of any of His creatures”

(Quran 3:96-97).

A fundamental component of Hajj is travelling between Safa and Marwa, the two hills close to the Kaaba. This is in remembrance of the trials of Hajar (R.A.), the mother of Prophet Ismail (A.S.), who ran between the two hills in search of water for her infant son.

It is obligatory to spend time a specified time on Mount Arafat, the site of Ismail’s planned “sacrifice.”

Prophet Ibrahim’s footsteps are even preserved next to the Ka’ba for everyone to see!

It’s incredible to think that Muslims doing Hajj or Ummrah today, are following in the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) as taught to us by Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

Patriarch of Monotheism

Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) is the Father of monotheism, i.e. belief in one God, and is revered by all ‘People of the Book.’

In the Hebrew Bible he is named Abraham (A.S.) and given the title “the Father of the Jewish people”. Through his son Issac (Ishaq) (A.S.) he is the great-grandfather to the twelve tribes of Israel.

As in Islamic tradition, Christians believe that the lineage of Jesus traces back to Prophet Ibrahim (A.S). In the New Testament (Luke 16:22), Luke describes how Jesus (A.S.) spoke of Abraham’s bosom as a “symbol of Paradise”.

The Christian and Jewish faith also believe in the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice, however their scriptures indicate it was Prophet Ishaq (Issac) (A.S.) who was involved, and not Ismail (A.S.).

“Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you”.

Genesis 22:2-13

Although there is some dispute about the location of “the land of Moriah”, many believe that it refers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; the area Muslims call “Haram esh-Sharif ” (The Noble Sanctuary).

Although there a some differences in the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice, we are undoubtedly united by our belief in Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.).

We all believe in the one God he spoke of.

We all strive every day to follow in his Blessed example; an example of patience, forbearance, certitude, purity and unwavering faith.

We all carry with us a deep connection and love for Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) in our hearts.

This Eid al-Adha, remember why we celebrate Eid Ul-Adha, and Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.); his trials and his sacrifice, and take some time to teach your children his story. Nurture a love for him in their hearts, so they may feel connected to one of the greatest Prophets and Messengers that has ever walked the earth.


Photo Credit: Navedz.com

(In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

O Allah!  Send blessings upon Prophet Muhammad and upon the followers of Prophet Muhammad just as You sent blessings upon Ibraheem and upon the followers of Ibraheem; Indeed, You are praiseworthy and glorious. O Allah  Bless Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad just as You have blessed Ibraheem and the follower of Ibraheem; Indeed, You are praise worthy and glorious.

All about the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha

A picture with young two children holding hands in the foreground with a large group of people and a building.
The Taj Mahal complex with the large mausoleum building in the centre and mosque (red building not shown) beside it. Services are held outside. (Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)

Eid al-Adha (say “EED al UDD-ha”) is a Muslim festival. It lasts for several days, based on where you live. Keep reading to learn more about this special festival.

Where does the festival come from?

Two rams standing

Allah is said to have replaced Ibrahim’s son with a ram, just like these. (Pixabay)

Eid al-Adha is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice. It celebrates a story about a prophet called Ibrahim (Abraham).

Allah (God) told Ibrahim he had to sacrifice his son Ishamel to prove his faith. Ibrahim decided to follow Allah’s command. The devil tried to convince him to disobey, but he refused. He threw pebbles at the devil to make him leave.

Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son. He found that Allah had replaced Ishamel with a ram. Ibrahim had proved his devotion to Allah, so his son was spared.

Muslims celebrate to remember Ibrahim’s loyalty and obedience to Allah above all others.

When does it take place?

A full moon in a dark night sky.

Thanks to the phases of the moon, the date for Eid al-Adha moves around. (Pixabay)

Eid al-Adha takes place on the 10th day of the last month of the Muslim calendar.

The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar — it follows the moon. The months are based on the moon’s phases. That means it’s 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. That’s the one you use at school that has 365 days.

So Eid al-Adha is celebrated on a different day every year. This year it begins around the evening of July 9th and will end on the evening of July 13th.

How is it celebrated?

Three women throwing pebbles at a monument.

In Mina, throwing pebbles at a monument that represents the devil. (Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)

Some Muslims perform Hajj (a pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia when Eid al-Adha begins. They throw pebbles at three large stone pillars in the city of Mina. This is where Muslims believe Ibrahim threw pebbles at the devil to drive him away.

This year, with social distancing in place, the event is scaled back. Only 60,000 people who are vaccinated and live in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to perform the Hajj.

A large group of people dressed nicely for mosque.
Everyone goes to morning prayers at a mosque. (Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

Other Muslims celebrate by wearing going to the mosque in the morning for special prayers. Later, family and friends get together for a big meal. There’s lots of delicious food, including sweets.

This year’s gatherings will most likely be much smaller and families may meet online.

Want to learn about another important Muslim holiday? Check out Eid al-Fitr: it’s all about generosity and gratitude

Are there any other special traditions?

A man handing another man raw meat.

Passing out meat to those who need it. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Yes! One important tradition for Eid al-Adha is helping those in need.

An animal, like a cow or goat, is sacrificed. The meat then gets donated to people who can’t afford it. Not all Muslims sacrifice an animal themselves. They can buy special meat from shops and donate that. Or they can donate money to charities that give special meat to others.

All these ways honour the story of Ibrahim. Taking care of others is a very important part of being a Muslim.


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