Eid Al Adha and why it’s important to 2 billion Muslims

Two billion Muslims will celebrate a major Islamic holiday, Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, this weekend. It is a major religious celebration for them, following the Eid al-Fitr they celebrate at the end of Ramadan.

This special day is anticipated to begin at sunset on Saturday, June 15, and will be celebrated by Muslims all over the world on June 16.

What is Eid al-Adha?

Eid al-Adha is the second major holiday for Muslims. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar calendar, which helps determine and predict when Islamic months and holidays occur.

Currently, it is the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and final month in the Islamic calendar. Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah.  

According to the Quran, Eid al-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, for the sake of God, but God stopped him and sent a ram to sacrifice instead.

What do Muslims do on Eid al-Adha?

Similarly to Eid al-Fitr, celebrated after every Ramadan, Muslims will wake up early in the morning, preparing food and getting ready to attend mandatory Eid prayers at local masjids. It may feel strange for Muslims who fasted the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah to eat during daylight hours — it is actually forbidden for Muslims to fast on Eid al-Adha. 

On Eid, Muslims will follow the way of Prophet Muhammad, also known as Sunnah in Islam. Sunnah is followed every day, not only on Eid.

Sunnahs on Eid include taking a bath or shower in the morning, wearing one’s best clothes and perfume, taking a different path home from attending Eid prayer, or saying “Takbeer” (“Takbir”) to praise God on the way to Eid prayers. Muslims will hug their friends and family and greet them with “Eid Mubarak,” meaning “blessed festival” in Arabic.

Friends and families will gather in their homes and eat delicious food together, and children will receive money as gifts, also known as ‘Eidi’. Specifically for Eid al-Adha, Muslims are encouraged to participate in Qurbani.

What is Qurbani, the Eid al-Adha sacrifice?

Qurbani, meaning sacrifice, is the slaughtering of a permitted animal, reflecting the sacrifice Prophet Abraham was willing to make. Goats, cows, sheep, lambs and camels are some of the animals permitted to be sacrificed. 

It is mandatory to give a third of the meat to the needy. One-third goes to friends and family and the last third to oneself. Many Muslims will go to slaughterhouses that practice zabiha (the permissible method in Islam for slaughtering animals) for their Qurbani sacrifice, or donate to charities with Qurbani projects giving to those in need.

Donating qurbani is highly recommended according to the majority of Islamic scholars for every Muslim who is financially able to do so. There are also qurbani rules which dictate which animals can be sacrificed, the quality of the life it has led, its health status and guidelines on how the sacrifice must be carried out.

What is Dhul Hijjah?

The final Islamic month, Dhul Hijjah, began on June 6, 2024, with the sighting of the crescent moon. It will last from 29 to 30 days.

The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are considered the best days of the year and are a time for Muslims to focus on strengthening their faith, according to Islamic Relief. After Ramadan, these ten days are considered a second chance during the Islamic calendar to repent and attain blessings.

During Dhul Hijjah, Muslims will participate in Hajj, an obligatory spiritual journey, at Holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Hajj begins on the eighth day of Dhul Hijjah, lasting for five to six days, and is expected to fall between June 14 to 19. 

Muslims unable to attend Hajj are encouraged to fast during the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, as fasting can bring forgiveness of sins and great rewards. In Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad said that fasting during the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah forgives the sins of the previous year and the coming year, according to Islamic Relief.

Unlike Ramadan, fasting during these nine days is not mandatory. However, it is highly encouraged to fast, as it is Sunnah (the way of the Prophet), especially on the ninth day, called Yawm al-Arafah.

Muslims are forbidden from fasting on the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah, as Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day.

What is Yawm al-Arafah?

Yawm al-Arafah, also known as Yawm al-Waqf, literally translates to ‘Day of Standing’. This translation refers to Muslims participating in Hajj, in which they stand for extended periods and ask for God’s divine mercy. 

The ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, Yawm al-Arafah, is expected to begin on the night of June 14, 2024. The Quran says that Yawm al-Arafah signifies the day God perfected Islam and approved it as a way of life. Muslims are highly encouraged to fast and focus on worship on this day.

Yawm al-Arafah is the day before Eid al-Adha. Yawm al-Arafah will end at sunset on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, marking the start of Eid al-Adha.

Source: Dispatch

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