Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى, ʿīd al-aḍḥā, 'Festival of the Sacrifice', [ʕiːd ælˈʔɑdˤħæː]), also called the "Sacrifice Feast", is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year, and considered the holier of the two. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to God's command. Before he sacrificed his son God intervened by sending his angel Jibra'il (Gabriel), who then put a sheep in his son's place. The meat from the sacrificed animal is 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.
In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days until the 13th day. In the international (Gregorian) calendar, the dates vary from year to year drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.
Eid al-Adha is the latter of the two Eid holidays, the former being Eid al-Fitr. The word "Eid" appears once in Al-Ma'ida, the fifth sura of the Quran, with the meaning "solemn festival".
Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a prayer of two rakats followed by a sermon (khutbah). Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the descent of the Hujjaj, the pilgrims performing the Hajj, from Mount Arafat , a hill east of Mecca. Eid sacrifice may take place until sunset on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. The days of Eid have been singled out in the Hadith as "days of remembrance" and considered the holiest days in the Islamic Calendar. The takbir (days) of Tashriq are from the Maghrib prayer of the 29th of Dhul-Qadah up to the Maghrib prayer of the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah (thirteen days and nights)
The Arabic term "festival of the sacrifice", ʿīd al-aḍḥā / ʿīd ul-aḍḥā is borrowed into Indo-Aryan languages such as Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Austronesian languages such as Malay and Indonesian (the last often spelling it as Aidil Adha or Idul Adha). Another Arabic word for "sacrifice" is Qurbani (Arabic: قربان.) The Semitic root Q-R-B (Hebrew ק-ר-ב) means "to be close to someone/something"; other words from the root include qarov, "close", and qerovim, "relatives." The senses of root meaning "to offer" suggest that the act of offering brings one closer to the receiver of the offering (here, God). The same stem is found in Hebrew and for example in the Akkadian language noun aqribtu "act of offering."
Eid al-Kabir, an Arabic term meaning "the Greater Eid" (the "Lesser Eid" being Eid al-Fitr), is used in Yemen, Syria, and North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt). The term was borrowed directly into French as Aïd el-Kebir. Translations of "Big Eid" or "Greater Eid" are used in Pashto (لوی اختر Loy Axtar), Kashmiri (Baed Eid), Urdu and Hindi (Baṛī Īd), Tamil (Peru Nāl, "Great Day") and Malayalam (Bali Perunnal, "Great Day of Sacrifice"). Albanian, however, uses Bajram(i) i vogël or "the Lesser Eid" (as opposed to Bajram i Madh, the "Greater Eid", for Eid al-Fitr) as an alternative reference to Eid al-Adha.
The festival is also called "Bakr-Eid" in Urdu and Hindustani languages (بقر عید, baqr `īd), stemming from the Arabic word al-Baqara meaning "The Cow", although some have wrongly attributed it to the Urdu and Hindustani word bakrī, meaning "goat", because of the tradition of sacrificing a goat in South Asia on this festival. This term is also borrowed into other Indian languages, such as Tamil Bakr `Īd Peru Nāl.
Some names refer to the fact that the holiday occurs after the culmination of the annual Hajj. Such names are used in Malaysian and Indonesian (Hari Raya Haji "Hajj celebration day", Lebaran Haji, Lebaran Kaji. When this was not yet an official feast in the Philippines, this was how it was called in Mindanao and other predominantly Muslim areas. When it became a legal holiday in 2009, it became officially known as Eid al-Adha. Some also reference it with local language names like Kapistahan ng Pagsasakripisyo in Tagalog. In Tamil it is called (Hajji Peru Nāl).
It's also known as Id ul Baqarah in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East, as Eid è Qurbon in Iran, Kurban Bayramı ("the Holiday of Sacrifice") in Turkey, Baqarah Eid in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Trinidad, Eid el-Kebir in Morocco, Tfaska Tamoqqart in the Berber language of Jerba, Iduladha or Qurban in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Qurbani Eid in Bangladesh, Bakr-Id ("Goat Eid") in parts of Pakistan and India and Tabaski or Tobaski in Senegal and West Africa (most probably borrowed from the Serer language — an ancient Serer religious festival[source needs translation]), Babbar Sallah in Hausa language and ciida gawraca in Somali. Eid al-Adha has had other names outside the Muslim world. The name is often simply translated into the local language, such as English Feast of the Sacrifice, German Opferfest, Dutch Offerfeest, Romanian Sărbătoarea Sacrificiului, and Hungarian Áldozati ünnep. In Spanish it is known as Fiesta del Cordero or Fiesta del Borrego (both meaning "festival of the lamb").
According to Islamic tradition, the valley of Mecca (in present-day Saudi Arabia) was a dry, rocky, and uninhabited place. God instructed Abraham to bring Hagar (Hājar), his Arabian (Adnan) wife, and Ishmael to Arabia from the land of Canaan.
As Abraham was preparing for his return journey back to Canaan, Hagar asked him, "Did God order you to leave us here? Or are you leaving us here to die?" Abraham did not even look back. He just nodded, afraid that he would be too sad and that he would disobey God. Hagar said, "Then God will not waste us; you can go". Though Abraham had left a large quantity of food and water with Hagar and Ishmael, the supplies quickly ran out, and within a few days the two began to feel the pangs of hunger and dehydration.
Hagar ran up and down between two hills, al-Safa and Al-Marwah, seven times, in her desperate quest for water. Exhausted, she finally collapsed beside her baby Ishmael and prayed to God for deliverance. Miraculously, a spring of water gushed forth from the earth at the feet of baby Ishmael. Other accounts have the angel Jibra'il, striking the earth and causing the spring to flow in abundance. With this secure water supply, known as the Zamzam Well, they were not only able to provide for their own needs, but were also able to trade water with passing nomads for food and supplies.
Years later, Abraham was instructed by God to return from Canaan to build a place of worship adjacent to Hagar's well (the Zamzam Well). Abraham and Ishmael constructed a stone and mortar structure – known as the Kaaba – which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in God. As the years passed, Ishmael was blessed with nubuwwah (prophethood) and gave the nomads of the desert his message of submission to God. After many centuries, Mecca became a thriving desert city and a major center for trade, thanks to its reliable water source, the Zamzam Well.
One of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of God to sacrifice his dearest possession, his son. The son is not named in the Quran, but Muslims believe it to be Ishmael, though it is mentioned as Isaac in the Bible. Upon hearing this command, Abraham prepared to submit to will of God. During this preparation, Shaitan (the Devil) 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 during the Stoning of the Devil during Hajj rites.
When Abraham attempted to cut his throat, he was astonished to see that his son was unharmed and instead, he found a ram which was slaughtered. Abraham had passed the test by his willingness to carry out God's command.
This story is known as the Akedah in Judaism (Binding of Isaac) and originates in the Tora, the first book of Moses (Genesis, Ch. 22). The Quran refers to the Akedah as follows:
Abraham had shown that his love for God superseded all others: that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dearest to him in submission to God's command. Muslims commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice every year during Eid al-Adha. While Abraham was prepared to make an ultimate sacrifice, God ultimately prevents the sacrifice, additionally signifying that one should never sacrifice a human life, especially not in the name of God.
Devotees offer the Eid al-Adha prayers at the mosque.
According to some fiqh (traditional Islamic law) (although there is some disagreement).
- Men should go to mosque—or a Eidgah (a field where eid prayer held)—to perform eid prayer; Salat al-Eid is Wajib according to Hanafi. Sunnah al-Mu'kkadah according to Maliki and Shafi'i jurisprudence. Women are also highly encouraged to attend, although it is not compulsory. Menstruating women do not participate in the formal prayer, but should be present to witness the goodness and the gathering of the Muslims.
- Residents, which excludes travellers.
- Those in good health.
- Eid prayers are Mustahab (recommended) according to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. However, they are wajib (obligatory) only in the time when the Mahdi and Jesus return.
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.
In keeping with the sunnah of Muhammad, Muslims are encouraged to prepare themselves for the occasion of Eid. Below is a list of things Muslims are recommended to do in preparation for the Eid al-Adha festival:
- Make wudu (ablution) and offer Salat al-Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer).
- Prepare for personal cleanliness—take care of details of clothing, etc.
- Dress up, putting on new or best clothes available.
The scholars differed concerning the ruling on Eid prayers. There are three scholarly points of view:
- That Eid prayer is Fard Kifaya (communal obligation). This is the view of Abu Hanifa.
- That it is Sunna Mu’akkada (recommended). This is the view of Malik ibn Anas and Al-Shafi‘i.
- That it is Wajib on all Muslim men (a duty for each Muslim and is obligatory for men); those who do not do it without an excuse are considered sinners. This is the view of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and was also narrated from Abu Hanifa.
Eid prayers must be offered in congregation. Participation of women in the prayer congregation varies from community to community. It consists of two rakats (units) with seven takbirs in the first Raka'ah and five Takbirs in the second Raka'ah. For Sunni 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. The salat (prayer) is then followed by the khutbah, or sermon, by the Imam.
At the conclusion of the prayers and sermon, Muslims embrace and exchange greetings with one other (Eid Mubarak), give gifts (Eidi) to children, and visit one another. Many Muslims also take this opportunity to invite their non-Muslim friends, neighbours, co-workers and classmates to their Eid festivities to better acquaint them about Islam and Muslim culture.
The l-hamdu is recited from the dawn of the ninth of Dhu al-Hijjah to the thirteenth, and consists of:
Multiple variations of this recitation exist across the Muslim world.
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 cow, but can also be a camel, goat, sheep, or ram depending on the region) as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son. 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. This tradition accounts for the slaughter of more than 100 million animals in only two days of Eid. In Pakistan alone nearly ten million animals are slaughtered on Eid days costing over US$3 billion.
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. Though the division is purely optional wherein either all the meat may be kept with oneself or may be given away to poor or needy, the preferred method as per sunnah of Muhammad is dividing it in three parts.
The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al-Adha by concerted efforts to see that no impoverished person is left without an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial meal during these days. Hajj is also performed in Saudi Arabia before Eid ul Adha and millions of Muslims perform Hajj. On the event of Hajj lots of Muslims slaughter animals and divide a major part of the meat for poor people.
During Eid al-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. In some countries, families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need.
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. Each year, Eid al-Adha (like other Islamic holidays) falls on one of about two to four different Gregorian dates in different parts of the world, because the boundary of crescent visibility is different from the International Date Line.
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. However, it should be noted that the Umm al-Qura 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 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 the Mount Arafat and descend from it after sunrise of the listed day.
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.