Objectives: Describe how Eid al-Adhā is celebrated in brief? It marks the end of the period of Hajj and reminds of Prophet Ibraheem’s willingness to sacrifice his son for Allah, which he was eventually relieved of, and Allah was pleased with both father and son.
‘Eid al-Adhā is the feast of sacrifice celebrated by pilgrims at Hajj and by Muslims worldwide. The event falls towards the end of Hajj in the last month of the year (Dhul-Hijjah). It is an act of worship and obedience to Allah – and it reminds the Muslims how the Prophet Ibāheem (peace be upon him) was willing to sacrifice his son for God. On the day itself (10th Dhul-Hijjah), the ‘Eid prayer is performed outside, weather permitting, or else in the large mosques so as to gather as many Muslims as possible in one place. This takes place in hundreds if not thousands of cities, towns and villages across the whole world. The Imam delivers a khutbah (sermon) after the prayer as he did for ‘Eid al-Fitr (see Islam: 3.8).
In Muslim countries, the ‘Eid is a public holiday but in Britain people need to ask for time off from work. The ‘Eid prayer in congregation is obligatory upon men and women and no one is permitted to miss it unless they are ill or very old. Even menstruating women must attend (though they cannot pray). This ‘Eid lasts four days: (10th to 13th Dhul-Hijjah). The 9th Dhul-Hijjah is the day of ‘Arafah, and whoever fasts that day, then his previous year’s sins and the coming year’s sins are forgiven. On the days of ‘Eid, people visit each other, enjoy each other’s company; they eat from the sacrificed animal (which could be a camel, cow, goat, ram or sheep) which is slaughtered by the head of the household or someone on his behalf.
They cook the meat, eat it and invite others to eat from it or send it to them (especially to the poor), to neighbours, relatives and friends. It is not from the Sunnah to send money overseas to get the slaughter of an animal done thousands of miles away. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) did not do that. So, Muslims are happy on this day, they eat and drink lovely food (without wasting), and they exchange gifts. They remember Allah and utter dhikr (remembrances) such as: ‘Allāhu Akbar, Lā ilāha illallāh, Alhamdulillāh, Subhānallāh’ throughout these days. They worship as normal, five times a day, and they steer clear of sins.
Animal Sacrifice: Most scholars say that it is not an obligation upon the ones who are not performing the Hajj but still strongly recommended. As for those who make Hajj, then they must perform a sacrifice (if they are able) as part of their Hajj ritual (tamattu’). In Makkah, farmers sell their animals to those who perform Hajj. The sacrifice can be performed on any of the four days of Eid (10th to 13th Dhul-Hijjah). Each sheep or goat costs about £100. The sacrifice is normally done by those who are experts so as not to cause the animal suffering – then the meat is eaten, given to family and friends and to the poor. The sacrifice is a religious act of worship to Allah alone – giving money in its place is not from the Sunnah and not correct.
‘Eidul-Adha is the “Eid of offering sacrifice”. In some countries, special arrangements are made for the slaughtering of so many animals on one day. Belgium, for example, sets up special slaughterhouses just for the occasion. In the UK, butchers take orders, slaughter the animals specifically for them and bring the meat to the customers.
Allah said: “The animal sacrifices are from the rites decreed by Allah for your own good. You shall mention Allah’s name on them while they are standing in line. Once they are offered for sacrifice, you shall eat from them and feed the poor and the needy.” (22:36)
- Use the information on this sheet to explain how ‘Eid al-Adhā is celebrated?
- “Festivals are mostly for children.” What do you think? Explain your answer.
Islam 3.10 The Importance of Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adhā
Objectives: Consider the religious significance of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Both Eids are great social events with feasting, presents and parties.
In some areas excited groups of youth will get together in restaurants and streets – and roads are be closed by the police due to the huge traffic and numbers – these youth flirt with girls and listen to loud music, smoke and party. Do you think this is what Allah and the Prophet intended by the Eid celebrations? Certainly not.
Of course large Eid gatherings where large numbers of people can gather to eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company in an Islamic environment is not forbidden at all – and this took place in the time of the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam). Abyssinians were playing in the Prophet’s Mosque whilst the Prophet and his wives looked on. The young girls gathered in the Prophet’s house and sang pleasant songs. Today Muslims book large convention centres on Eid where they gather and enjoy themselves in a manner that does not involve displeasing Allah. These are lovely family events where Allah is pleased with the kindness and brotherhood amongst practicing Muslims.
In Birmingham, every year, the Salafi Community prays in the open at Small Heath Park with thousands attending – they have been doing so for every Eid for 20 years. It is a lovely atmosphere and everyone is smiling and happy because it is Eid for the Muslims. They book a large hall in the evening (usually on one of the Eid al-Adha days): there is food, drink, toys, bouncy castles, and plenty of other fun things to do for young and old. Men and women are of-course segregated. All of this joy in gratitude and thanks to Allah for what He has blessed the Muslims with.
Eid al-Adha remembers the event in the life of Ibrahim (alaihis-salaam) when Allah revealed to him in a dream that he sacrificed his son. The story can be found in the Quran 37:102-107. After Ibrahim showed that he was willing to make this sacrifice, Allah provided an animal to be sacrificed instead. The Quran describes Ibrahim (alaihis-salaam) as a good example of a monotheist who was obedient to Allah throughout his life. He proved that Muslims must obey Allah. The Quran (22:37) tells Muslims that it is not the meat or blood of the animal that reaches Allah, since Muslims eat the meat themselves and benefit from it, rather it is the act of sacrifice as a worship to Him. Then they give some to the needy – and in that they follow the example of the Prophets. A Muslim does whatever pleases Allah; it is the pleasure of Allah that is considered as worship.
Conclusion: Worship in Islam is not just carrying out the duties only at certain times of the year. It involves living your whole life in obedience to Allah, and following the example of the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) – it is a complete way of life not only on special occasions. We want to enjoy ourselves on Eid, but Islam also requires sacrifice in terms of wealth, time and energy. These festivals celebrate what it means to be a Muslim and to be a member of the Muslim community. They are about belonging. Muslims should love each other for Allah’s sake as if they were brother and sister. The Eids encourage this and provide an opportunity to show it.
Activity: Use the work you have studied on the Eids to argue for and against the claim: ‘The festivals are just times when families can have fun; they have no real religious importance.’ Try to think from the viewpoint of those who just use Eid for fun and don’t follow Islam properly and the viewpoint of those who correctly follow Islam and know it is a complete way of life.