Eid al-Adha, the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, is also known as Eid Qurban or Qurban Bayarami. It is the second of the two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide. The first being Eid al-Fitr, which is popularly known as Eid or Ramadan Eid. It marks the end of the sacred month of Ramadan where Muslims fast from dusk to dawn and recite the Holy Quran, offering prayers to Allah.
Eid al-Adha, also known as Bakr Eid or Bakrid in India, is observed on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims around the world offer Eid al-Adha prayers at the mosque after the sun has completely risen and just before it enters the Zuhr time (midday prayer time). The prayer is followed by a sermon or khutbah, by the Imam. This year, Saudi Arabia announced July 31 as the date of Eid al-Adah. According to the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, it will be celebrated in India a day later on August 1, however, Kerala will celebrate the festival (also known as Bali Perunnal) along with Saudi on July 31. Since Islam follows the lunar calendar, the date of the festival can change depending on the sighting of the moon.
The festival of Eid al-Adha is a commemoration of the Islamic prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham) absolute dedication to Allah. It is meant to honour the sacrifice that Ibrahim was more than willing to make for his God. The history of the day started when Ibrahim kept having a recurring dream of himself slaughtering his beloved son, Ismael, to fulfil the wishes of God. Ibrahim spoke to his son regarding the dream, explaining to him how God wanted him to make the sacrifice. Ismael, who was just as much a man of God agreed with his father and asked him to comply with the wishes of Allah. Just as he was about to make the sacrifice, Shaitan (the devil), came to tempt him and dissuade him from making the sacrifice. Ibrahim tried to shun him away by pelting Shaitan with stones. Allah saw his absolute devotion and sent Jibreel (Angel Gabriel), the Archangel, bearing a sheep for slaughter. Jibreel told Ibrahim that God was pleased with his devotion to him and sent the sheep to be slaughtered in place of his son.
More than the act of sacrifice, Eid al-Adah is the celebration of Ibrahim and Ismael’s love for Allah. The sacrifice is only meant as a gesture that shows that one is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Allah. It is the sacrifice of what one loves the most for God. In commemoration of the sheep sent by Allah through Jibreel, Muslims across the globe sacrifice a goat or sheep in the spirit of sacrifice. It is obligatory for the meal prepared from the sacrifice to be distributed in three equal parts. Where one portion feeds the family, the second feeds the relatives and the third goes to the poor and needy. It is often said that even though the meat nor the blood reaches Allah, the devotion of His people reaches him.
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