Eid Al Adha – All you need to know
The date of the festival of Eid al-Adha is 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah (12th month of Islamic Calendar). It is also called as Eid al-Zuha or Greater Eid or Bakra Eid (Festival of sacrifice.)
What is Eid al-Adha?
Eid al–Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah’s (God’s) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. (Story of Ibrahim). After witnessing Ibrahim’s devotion and willingness to sacrifice his son, Allah gave him a lamb to sacrifice in the stead of his son, Ishmael.
As such the same practice continues to be followed by Muslims. Muslim’s today sacrifice a sheep or a goat, the meat of which is shared among friends, family, and the poor, with each receiving a third. Some other animals may also be sacrificed like buffalo, Ox, or Camel.
Eid al-Adha also marks the end of Hajj, the five-day religious journey that takes Muslims to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. These first 10 days of Dhu al-Hijjah are considered important by the Muslims along with the 9th Day called as Arafah as the most pious day of the year while the most pious night is considered to be the night of Qadar (Shab e Qadar).
Traditionally, both the Eids (Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha) are followed with the same rituals – cleansing the bodies in a ritual called “Ghusl”, wearing new clothes, applying scent (Attar), females decorate hands with Henna (aka Mahendi), cook a variety of dishes especially non-vegetarian, and there are Eid greetings.
Muslims gather in the holy outdoor locations called “Eid Gah” to offer the special prayer of the day known as Salah al-Eid. After the prayers, some Muslims visit the graveyards of their loved ones to pray for their departed souls. Gifts are given (especially Money to kids) called “Eidi”.
Is the Sacrifice Mandatory?
It is believed that this is important but if one can afford. If a family or household cannot afford, they are not forced to go beyond their limits. The sacrifice is dedicated to any member of the family. One Goat or Sheep may be dedicated to one member. However, in case of bigger animals, like Ox or Buffalo can be dedicated to 7 members. Usually, in this case, one family may dedicate it to 7 members or a community may collectively contribute and dedicate to 7 members of different families. Camel, on the other hand, may be used to dedicate even the larger group of members or families.
The sacrifice needs to be done in a proper way, making sure that the animal is not slaughtered in an inhumanly way. After the sacrifice, it is divided into three shares – one share to the self family, another share to relatives and the third to neighbors; keeping in view the poor and underprivileged are considered more important in the share and celebrate the day with brotherhood and equality.
The Muslim’s have only two major festivals – Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, both marked as the festival of peace, patience, brotherhood, faith, dedication, and belief towards Allah.
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