Religions and Spirituality

Eid al-Adha

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Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide as a commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, as commanded by Allah. It is reported in Quran: “When his son was old enough to work with him, he said, "My son, I have had a dream that I must sacrifice you. What do you think of this?" He replied, "Father, fulfill whatever you are commanded to do and you will find me patient, by the will of God". When they both agreed and Abraham had lain down his son on the side of his face (for slaughtering), We called to him, "Abraham, you have fulfilled what you were commanded to do in your dream.” (Chapter 37 verses 102-105)

It is one of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. Like Eid al-Fitr—which marks the end of Ramaḍān—Eid al-Adha is celebrated in the 12th Islamic month coinciding with the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as Hajj. It begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon. It is also called the "bigger" Eid because it is considered more important than Eid el-Fitr.

Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer in any mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so, sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Abraham’s sacrifice. The sacrificed animals, called “udhiya” also known as "qurbani", have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. God’s name is recited along with the offering statement and a supplication. According to the Quran a large portion of the meat has to be given towards the poor and hungry people so they can all join in the feast. The remainder is cooked for the family celebration meal in which relatives, neighbors and friends are invited to share. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished person is left without sacrificial food during these days. Eid ul-Adha is a concrete affirmation of what the Muslim community ethic means in practice. People in these days are expected to visit their relatives, starting with their parents, then their families and friends.

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