Eid al-Adha

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Eid al-Adha
Eid Blessings WDL6855.png
Calligraphic fragment dated to 1729–30 displaying blessings for Eid al-Adha in Arabic
Official nameEid al-Adha
Observed byMuslims and Druze
TypeIslamic
Significance
Commemoration of Abraham (Ibrahim)'s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience of a command from God
End of the annual Hajj to Mecca
ObservancesEid prayers, animal sacrifice, charity, social gatherings, festive meals, gift-giving
Begins10 Dhu al-Hijjah
Ends13 Dhu al-Hijjah
Date10 Dhu al-Hijjah
2020 date31 July- 3 August [1]
2021 date20 July – 23 July[2]
Related toHajj; Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عید الأضحى‎, romanizedʿĪd al-ʾAḍḥā, lit.'Festival of the Sacrifice') is the latter of the two official holidays celebrated within Islam (the other being Eid al-Fitr). It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, however, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, animals are sacrificed ritually. One third of their meat is consumed by the family offering the sacrifice, while the rest is distributed to the poor and needy. Sweets and gifts are given, and extended family are typically visited and welcomed.[6] The day is also sometimes called Big Eid or the Greater Eid.[7]

In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for three days. In the international (Gregorian) calendar, the dates vary from year to year, shifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.

Pronunciation[edit]

Eid al-Adha is also pronounced Eid al-Azha and Eidul Azha; /ˌd əl ˈɑːdə, - ˈɑːdhɑː/ EED əl AH-də, -⁠ AHD-hah; Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎, romanizedʿĪd al-ʾAḍḥā, IPA: [ʕiːd al ˈʔadˤħaː].[8]

Etymology[edit]

The Arabic word عيد (ʿīd) means 'festival', 'celebration', 'feast day', or 'holiday'. It itself is a triliteral rootعيد‎ with associated root meanings of "to go back, to rescind, to accrue, to be accustomed, habits, to repeat, to be experienced; appointed time or place, anniversary, feast day."[9][10] Arthur Jeffery contests this etymology, and believes the term to have been borrowed into Arabic from Syriac, or less likely Targumic Aramaic.[11]

The holiday is called عيد الأضحى (Eid-ul-Adha) or العيد الكبير (Eid-ul-Kabir) in Arabic.[12] The words أضحى (aḍḥā) and قربان (qurbān) are synonymous in meaning 'sacrifice' (animal sacrifice), 'offering' or 'oblation'. The first word comes from the triliteral root ضحى (ḍaḥḥā) with associated meanings of "immolate ; offer up ; sacrifice ; victimize."[13] No occurrence of this root with a meaning related to sacrifice occurs in the Qur'an[9] but in the Hadith literature. Arab Christians use the term to mean the Eucharistic host. The second word derives from the triliteral root ‏‏قرب‎‎ (qaraba) with associated meanings of "closeness, proximity... to moderate; kinship...; to hurry; ...to seek, to seek water sources...; scabbard, sheath; small boat; sacrifice."[10] Arthur Jeffery recognizes the same Semitic root, but believes the sense of the term to have entered Arabic through Aramaic.[11] The word is still used by Aramaic Christians for the Communion service, see Eucharist above. Compare Hebrew korban קָרבן (qorbān).

Origin[edit]

One of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of God by sacrificing his beloved son. According to the new narrative, Abraham kept having dreams that he was sacrificing his son Ishmael son of Hagar. Abraham knew that this was a command from God and he told his son, as stated in the Quran "Oh son, I keep dreaming that I am slaughtering you", Ishmael replied "Father, do what you are ordered to do." Abraham prepared to submit to the will of God and prepared to slaughter his son as an act of faith and obedience to God.[14] During this preparation, Shaytaan tempted Abraham and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out God's commandment, and Abraham drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him. In commemoration of their rejection of Satan, stones are thrown at symbolic pillars Stoning of the Devil during Hajj rites.[15]

Acknowledging that Abraham was willing to sacrifice what is dear to him, God the Almighty honoured both Abraham and Ishmael. Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) called Abraham "O' Abraham, you have fulfilled the revelations." and a lamb from heaven was offered by Angel Gabriel to prophet Abraham to slaughter instead of Ishmael. Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al Adha to commemorate both the devotion of Abraham and the survival of Ishmael.[16][17][18]

This story is known as the Akedah in Judaism (Binding of Isaac) and originates in the Torah,[19] the first book of Moses (Genesis, Ch. 22). The Quran refers to the Akedah as follows:[20]

100 "O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!"
101 So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.
102 Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me if Allah (God) so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy!"
103 So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
104 We called out to him "O Abraham!
105 "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
106 For this was obviously a trial–
107 And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:
108 And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:
109 "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"
110 Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
111 For he was one of our believing Servants.
112 And We gave him the good news of Isaac – a prophet – one of the Righteous.

— Quran, sura 37 (Aṣ-Ṣāffāt), āyāt 100–112[21]

The word "Eid" appears once in Al-Ma'ida, the fifth sura of the Quran, with the meaning "solemn festival".[22]

Sacrifice on Eid al-Adha[edit]

The tradition for Eid al-Adha involves slaughtering an animal and sharing the meat in three equal parts – for family, for relatives and friends, and for poor people. The goal is to make sure every Muslim gets to eat meat. The celebration has a clear message of devotion, kindness and equality.[23]

In the Holy Tauret Book in the 'Pedaish', it is written that Allah created human beings in His image. The fruits which are have seeds in them, He ordered them to be eaten by humans, and animals are ordered to eat grass, and other vegetarian food. There is no order to eat meat. If there is any order to eat meat in the Qur'an, then it is not of Allah but is of the angel Jibril. Thus, God created the world in six days and sat on the throne on the seventh day.[24]

However, the purpose of sacrifice in Eid al-Adha is not about shedding of blood just to satisfy Allah. It is about sacrificing something devotees love the most to advance the message of Eid al-Adha. In other words, the sacrifice can be something other than an animal such as money or time spent on community service.[25] There are historical precedences of caliphs sacrificing items other than meat. After all, the animal sacrifice is only a sunnah, which is habitual rather than required.[26][27] The Quran said that the meat will not reach Allah, nor will the blood, but what reaches him is the devotion of devotees.[26]

Eid prayers[edit]

Eid prayer at the Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan

Devotees offer the Eid al-Adha prayers at the mosque. The Eid al-Adha prayer is performed any time after the sun completely rises up to just before the entering of Zuhr time, on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah. In the event of a force majeure (e.g. natural disaster), the prayer may be delayed to the 11th of Dhu al-Hijjah and then to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah.[28]

Eid prayers must be offered in congregation. Participation of women in the prayer congregation varies from community to community.[29] It consists of two rakats (units) with seven takbirs in the first Raka'ah and five Takbirs in the second Raka'ah. For Shia Muslims, Salat al-Eid differs from the five daily canonical prayers in that no adhan (call to prayer) or iqama (call) is pronounced for the two Eid prayers.[30][31] The salat (prayer) is then followed by the khutbah, or sermon, by the Imam.[32]

At the conclusion of the prayers and sermon, Muslims embrace and exchange greetings with one another (Eid Mubarak), give gifts and visit one another. Many Muslims also take this opportunity to invite their friends, neighbours, co-workers and classmates to their Eid festivities to better acquaint them about Islam and Muslim culture.[33]

Traditions and practices[edit]

Cookies of Eid (ma'amoul)

During Eid ul-Adha, distributing meat amongst the people, chanting the takbir out loud before the Eid prayers on the first day and after prayers throughout the four days of Eid, are considered essential parts of this important Islamic festival.[34]

The takbir consists of:[35]

الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر
لا إله إلا الله
الله أكبر الله أكبر
ولله الحمد

Allāhu akbar, allāhu akbar, allāhu akbar
lā ilāha illā-llāh
allāhu akbar, allāhu akbar
walillāhi l-ḥamd[a]

Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer in a large congregation in an open waqf ("stopping") field called Eidgah or mosque. Affluent Muslims who can afford it sacrifice their best halal domestic animals (usually a camel, goat, sheep, or ram depending on the region) as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son.[36] The sacrificed animals, called aḍḥiya (Arabic: أضحية‎), known also by the Perso-Arabic term qurbāni, have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice.[37] In Pakistan alone nearly ten million animals are sacrificed on Eid days, costing over $2 billion.[38]

The meat from the sacrificed animal is preferred to be divided into three parts. The family retains one-third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends, and neighbors; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy.[36]

Muslims wear their new or best clothes. People cook special sweets, including ma'amoul (filled shortbread cookies) and samosas. They gather with family and friends.[28]

Eid al-Adha in the Gregorian calendar[edit]

Conversion of Hijri years 1343 to 1500 to the Gregorian calendar, with first days of al-Muharram (brown), Ramadan (grey) and Shawwal (black) bolded, and Eid al-Adha dotted – in the SVG file, hover over a spot to show its dates and a line to show the month

While Eid al-Adha is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. The lunar calendar is approximately eleven days shorter than the solar calendar.[39] Each year, Eid al-Adha (like other Islamic holidays) falls on one of about two to four Gregorian dates in parts of the world, because the boundary of crescent visibility is different from the International Date Line.[40]

The following list shows the official dates of Eid al-Adha for Saudi Arabia as announced by the Supreme Judicial Council. Future dates are estimated according to the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia.[3] The Umm al-Qura calendar is just a guide for planning purposes and not the absolute determinant or fixer of dates. Confirmations of actual dates by moon sighting are applied on the 29th day of the lunar month prior to Dhu al-Hijjah[41] to announce the specific dates for both Hajj rituals and the subsequent Eid festival. The three days after the listed date are also part of the festival. The time before the listed date the pilgrims visit Mount Ararat and descend from it after sunrise of the listed day.[42]

In many countries, the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality.

Islamic year Gregorian date
1440 11 August 2019
1441 31 July 2020
1442 20 July 2021
1443   9 July 2022 (calculated)
1444 28 June 2023 (calculated)

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^

    Translation: Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest
    There is no god but Allah
    Allah is greatest, Allah is greatest
    and to Allah goes all praise.[28]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Hughes, David (18 July 2021). "When Eid al-Adha 2021 falls – and how long the festival lasts". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia". Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
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  5. ^ Bentley, David (9 August 2019). "When is the Day of Arafah 2019 before the Eid al-Adha celebrations?". Birmingham Mail. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
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  7. ^ Haigh, Phil (31 July 2020). "What is the story of Eid al-Adha and why is it referred to as Big Eid?". Metro. Retrieved 25 April 2021. Simply, Eid al-Adha is considered the holier of the two religious holidays and so it is referred to as ‘Big Eid’ whilst Eid al Fitr can be known as ‘Lesser Eid’.Eid al-Kabir means ‘Greater Eid’ and is used in Yemen, Syria, and North Africa, whilst other translations of ‘Big Eid’ are used in Pashto, Kashmiri, Urdu and Hindi.This distinction is also known in the Arab world, but by calling ‘Bari Eid’ bari, this Eid is already disadvantaged. It is the ‘other Eid’.‘Bari Eid’, or Eid-ul-Azha, has the advantage of having two major rituals, as both have the prayer, but it alone has a sacrifice. ‘Bari Eid’ brings all Muslims together in celebrating Hajj, which is itself a reminder of the Abrahamic sacrifice, while ‘Choti Eid’ commemorates solely the end of the fasting of Ramazan.
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  22. ^ Quran 5:114. "Said Jesus the son of Mary: ‘O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs).’"
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External links[edit]