Eid al-Adha: Celebrating the Culmination of Hajj

Eid al-Adha: Festival of Sacrifice | Hejaz-e-Moqaddus

What is Eid al-Adha?

Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” signifies the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, to sacrifice his son, Ismail as ordered by Allah. It is one of Islam’s most important holidays.

Commencing on the 10th day of the Muslim calendar lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah, during the time of Hajj, the yearly pilgrimage to Makkah, the holiday is observed by millions of Muslims worldwide and usually lasts three to four days. 

It is one of the two main Muslim holidays observed annually across the world, the other being Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan. Eid-ul-adha is considered the holiest of the two Eids.

The Story of Eid al-Adha

The history of Eid al-Adha can be traced back to the story of Prophet Prophet Ibrahim as described in the Islamic holy books, particularly the Quran and the Hadiths (the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H).

Islamic tradition holds that Prophet Ibrahim was a prophet and an obedient servant of Allah. He and his wife Sarah were childless for many years until they got blessed with a son named Prophet Ismail. Prophet Ibrahim loved his son deeply and, at Allah’s command, he was put to a great test to prove his faith and obedience.

In a dream, Prophet Ibrahim was given a heavenly order to sacrifice his son as a sign of his devotion. Prophet Ibrahim first believed it to be an order from Satan, but the dream persisted, showing it to be a command from Allah. Prophet Ismail and the prophet Ibrahim both willingly prepared for the sacrifice and accepted Allah’s decision.

However, as Prophet Ibrahim was about to perform the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) intervened saying, “O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the vision and now you will be rewarded!” Allah (SWT) sent a ram to Ibrahim (AS) to be sacrificed instead of Ismail. This act showed Prophet Ibrahim’s firm belief and willingness to sacrifice what was most dear to him for the sake of Allah.

The story of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice is seen as a symbol of complete obedience, belief, and submission to Allah’s commands. It provides a reminder for Muslims to prioritize their obedience to Allah above all else and to be willing to make sacrifices in their lives. Eid al-Adha marks this event and is celebrated annually to honor Prophet Ibrahim’s firm belief and the mercy and blessings of Allah.It is a time for Muslims to reflect on their beliefs of sacrifice, charity, and unity, as well as to strengthen their relationship with Allah.

How Eid al-Adha Is Celebrated

Eid al-Adha is traditionally celebrated on its first day by those who have the means to do so. The symbolic sacrifice of a lamb, goat, cow, camel, or other animal is then divided into threes and distributed equally among family, friends, and the needy. This tradition dates back to Prophet Ibrahim’s being allowed to sacrifice a ram instead of his son.

On the first day of the celebration, Muslim worshipers usually offer a collective prayer, known as salat, before dawn, visit a mosque, give presents to charitable organizations, and spend time with loved ones.

On the last day of the yearly Hajj trip to Makkah, the holiest city in Islam, in western Saudi Arabia, people celebrate Eid al-Adha. Two million Muslims do the five-day Hajj pilgrimage each year, which is required of all Muslims who are able to do so.

Worshippers in Makkah visit the Kaaba, located in the Grand Mosque, which is the most sacred site in Islam. The Kaabah, sometimes referred to as the “Black Stone,” is said to have been built by Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail. The Jamarat Bridge, where Prophet Ibrahim is supposed to have thrown stones at the devil, is another site visited by pilgrims.

How Is Eid al-Adha Different from Eid al-Fitr?

In Arabic, “Eid” means festival or feast and there are two major “Eids” celebrated by Muslims. The first, Eid al-Fitr, Arabic for “festival of the breaking of the fast,” occurs at the end of Ramadan, a month-long time when Muslims fast daily from sunrise to sunset. Also referred to as Sawm, it is also one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Ramadan signifies the month Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Eid al-Adha, generally considered the holier of the two Eid festivals, is celebrated about two months after Eid al-Fitr at the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah. The dates for these two holidays are the same every year according to the Islamic lunar calendar. The Western version of the 365-day Gregorian calendar is approximately 11 days longer, resulting in the dates to change each year.

The Day of Eid ul Adha

While the first Eid of the year follows the Holy month of Ramadan and its daily fasting; this Eid signifies the culmination of the days of the Hajj. Eid ul Adha adheres to ‘Day of Arafat’ which is the most important day in the Hajj period.

It has been stated that the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) said: “The Hajj is ‘Arafat, the Hajj is ‘Arafat, the Hajj is ‘Arafat. This 9th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah, is observed on the surface of Mount Arafat where the pilgrims gather to ask for forgiveness and acceptance of their Hajj rites.Muslims who are not performing hajj at this time, will usually spend the day of Arafat fasting to try and attain some of the blessings that the pilgrims will receive there.

The religious festival of Eid is celebrated the next day with the tradition of sacrificing an animal and giving it to the underprivileged in addition to family, friends, and neighbors. The origin of the term “Eid ul Adha” is this sacrifice. This tradition, also known as “Qurbani,” is observed annually by Muslims, for those who can afford it.

What to do on the Day of Eid-ul -Adha

  • Wake up early for the dawn prayer. Finish by making sure you read the special Eid takbeers, to be said after every fard prayer.
  • Prepare for Eid prayers in congregation by following the prophetic sunnah and wearing your finest attire.
  • Attend the mosque or the outdoor Eid prayers, and while you’re there, say the Eid takbeer aloud. Meet the neighbors of the community and wish them all a Happy Eid!
  • After the Eid prayers, take a different path to home and adhere to another sunnah of the beloved Messenger (SAW).
  • Arrive home and decorate your home to welcome all your Eid guests, in the most beautiful way. Exchange Eid gifts with friends and family members
  • Eat a special meal prepared with some of your delicious and blessed Qurbani meat, if possible!
  •  Enjoy every moment of the day with your loved ones, reflecting on your blessings and practicing gratitude — all day long.

When Is Eid al-Adha 2024?

In Saudi Arabia, Eid al-Adha 2024 is predicted to begin on the evening of Saturday 15 June (depending on sightings of the moon) and will end with the culmination of the Hajj a few days later.