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Eid ul-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of the
month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar, after Hajj, the annual
pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. This happens to be approximately 70
days after the end of the month of Ramadan. While Eid ul-Fitr is considered
to be one day long, Eid ul-Adha is supposed to last for three days. Some
Islamic cultures consider Eid ul-Fitr to last three days and Eid ul-Adha
to last for four, but this is not part of original Islamic teachings. The
first day is the primary holiday, on which men, women, and children are
expected to dress in their finest clothing and perform prayer (Salah) in
a large congregation. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice domestic
animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Ibrahim's sacrifice; this sacrifice
is called "Qurban".
The meat is distributed amongst their
neighbours, relatives, and the poor and hungry. The regular charitable practices
of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted
effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food
during this day. Coming immediately after the Day of Arafat (when Muhammad
pronounced the final seal on the religion of Islam), Eid ul-Adha gives concrete
realization to what the Muslim community ethic means in practice.
The twelfth month of the Hijra calendar
is Thul Hijjah. This is one of the four sacred months, and is the month
of the Hajj. The Hajj, or Pilgrimage, as it has become known in the West,
is the time of year when Muslims from all over the world visit the Ka'ba
in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The Ka'ba is the first House built for the worship
of the one god, allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, the god of all mankind. It was
erected by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Isma'eel (Ishmael), alaihim assalaam.
Ibrahim's, alaihis salaam, faith in the lord is well documented in the Noble
Qur'an. Ibrahim, alaihis salaam, is described as being a nation by himself,
due to his great faith in allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala.
Ibrahim, alaihis salaam, was instructed
to take his wife Hajar, and son Isma'eel, alaihis salaam, to Makkah. At
that time, Makkah was an unpopulated, barren desert. Ibrahim, alaihis salaam,
obeyed the lord's command and took his family to Makkah. As he left them
there alone, sorrow overcame him. But he knew he was obeying the lord's
command, so he supplicated, asking the lord to preserve his loved ones,
to allow the desert to bloom and provide for them, and to have swarms of
people come and visit them.
The Hajj is part of the lord's granting
of Ibrahim's, alaihis salaam, supplication. For over 1400 years, Muslims from
all over the world, visit Makkah every year, to perform the Hajj and visit
the Ancient House of the lord. The first ten days of this month are best and
most most loved days of the year. Muslims spend these days performing additional
prayers, reciting the Noble Qur'an, and offering supplications to the lord.
Many Muslims fast during these first nine days. Of course, those who have
been blessed with it, are in Makkah, performing the Hajj.
The ninth day of Thul Hijjah is a very
special day. It is the day of 'Arafa. On this day, Muslims performing Hajj
gather at the mount of 'Arafat, in one of the most important parts of the
Hajj. They pray, perform supplications and give thanks to allah, Subhanahu
wa ta'ala, for all the blessings bestowed upon them. It is on this day that
Adam, alaihis salaam, and Eve, radiya allahu anha, met each other on earth
for the first time, two hundred years after being expelled from Paradise.
Muslims away from the Hajj, normally fast on this day.
The tenth day of the month signifies
the beginning of Eid-Ul-Adha, the holiday of Hajj. Those performing the Hajj,
have returned from 'Arafa, and now proceed to slaughtering a lamb or other
suitable animal, in commemoration of Ibrahim's, alaihis salaam, act of obedience
to the lord. In a divinely inspired dream, Ibrahim, alaihis salaam, saw that
he was sacrificing his oldest son, Isma'eel, alaihis salaam, for the sake
of allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala. When he revealed this to his son, his son asked
him to do as he was commanded and that he would be patient. As the blade passed
over Isma'eel's neck, alaihis salaam, the lord did not take the life of Isma'eel,
The lord provided a ram for the sacrifice,
and preserved his two faithful subjects. Those away from Hajj also perform
the sacrifice. Normally, they keep one third of the meat from the sacrifice,
distribute one third to the needy and share one third with their neighbors.
Eid-Ul-Adha is a four-day holiday and celebration. It commences on the 10th
day of Thul Hijjah and is celebrated in a manner similar to Eid-Ul-Fitr. It
starts with a special holiday prayer, performed in congregation in the Masjid
(Mosque) or other suitable place.
It is a time of celebration, of visiting
family and friends and of thanking allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, for all the
blessings bestowed upon us. Fasting is prohibited during these days. For more
information about Eid-ul-Adha, Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj or other Islamic
topics, please contact your local Masjid or Islamic Center or contact IFANCA.
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