Eid Al Adha.
Known as Eid al-Adha, Eid ul Adha, Id-ul-Azha, Id-ul-Zuha, Hari Raya Haji or Bakr-id; the ‘Feast of Sacrifice‘ is the most important feast of the Muslim calendar.
The festival may also be known as Al Eid Al Kabeer, which means the ‘Grand Eid’. It has this more important status as in religious terms as this Eid lasts for four days whereas Eid Al Fitr is one day, even though most countries observe about the same number of public holidays for both Eids.
This festival is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice everything for God.
Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar.
As the exact day is based on lunar sightings, the date may vary between countries.
Traditions of Eid Al Adha
Eid al-Adha concludes the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid al-Adha lasts for three days and commemorates Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son.
The same story appears in the Bible and is familiar to Jews and Christians. One key difference is that Muslims believe the son was Ishmael rather than Isaac as told in the Old Testament. Eid Al Lahma, which means the ‘meat Eid’
According to the Quran, Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son when a voice from heaven stopped him and allowed him to make something else as a ‘great sacrifice’. In the Old Testament, it is a ram that is sacrificed instead of the son.
In Islam, Ishmael is regarded as a prophet and an ancestor of Muhammad.
During the feast of Eid Al Adha, Muslims re-enact Ibrahim’s obedience by sacrificing a cow or ram. The family will eat about a third of the meal a third goes to friends and relatives, and the remaining third is donated to the poor and needy.
The giving of charity in the form of money, food or clothes to the homeless or poor is another key tradition of Eid al Adha. According to DAWN newspaper in Pakistan alone between eight to ten million animals are sacrificed over Eidul Azha.