Eid Ul Adha is a Muslim festival that basically marks the end of Hajj or Pilgrimage to Makkah. This Eid is also known as the Eid of sacrifice, and it basically commemorates the faith of Abraham and devotion to Allah. According to the Belief of the Muslims, Allah asked Abraham to sacrifice his son for Allah's sake, and even though he was a good man and loved his son very much, his devotion and faith to God was so strong that he did not hesitate to take this bold step and agreed to sacrifice his son (Huda, 2011). The willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for the sake of Allah caused Allah to spare his son's life, and therefore a lamb was sacrificed in his place. This was a miracle of Allah and it proved that he has command over all things and the known and the unknown. It is because of this holy incident in the History of Islam that the Muslims now celebrate Eid ul Adha every year to earn Allah's blessings and forgiveness.
Eid ul Adha is a sacred Muslim event that is celebrated every year around the world with sacrifice, prayer and food. Eid Ul Adha is also known as the greater Eid and it is the second most important festival in Islam. Eid ul Adha takes place in the month of hajj on the 10th of Zil hajj after all the pilgrims to Makkah have performed the obligatory events.
In the United States and Canada many Muslims gather and offer the morning prayers at a mosque or in an open environment instead of eating breakfast. After the morning prayers people gather with their family and friends and they enjoy being together. In Egypt EId-ul-Adha is celebrated by offering morning prayers and enjoying the feast. The morning prayers and the sermon are an important element and Muslim tradition around during this Eid holiday. The people meet with each other like that in USA in order to celebrate socialize and enjoy this historic day in Egypt. The people also offer sacrifices in the form of Goat, Lamb, Camel and Cow. The meet from the sacrifice is then distributed among the poor people in the form of charity.
Eid Ul Adha is celebrated as a four day event in Pakistan. All the stores are closed on the day of Eid and like that in other countries Muslims gather for the prayers and listen to the sermon in the mosque. And it is celebrated in the same fashion in the countries like Morocco and Bangladesh. All these countries are Muslim dominated societies. For the Non-Muslim countries there are no national holidays and the Eid Al adha is celebrated with some limitations. However it is a fundamental festival of Islam and a time of happiness for all the Muslims around the world.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, "For every people there is a feast and this is our feast." [Sahih Bukhari]
Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?
During the celebrations of Eid Ul Adha the Muslims as discussed earlier remember the trials and hardships faced by the prophet Abraham. The slaughtering of animals in the remembrance of this holy event has been a very misunderstood concept around the world outside the faith of Islam (Rabbani, 2010). Allah has given us power and has permitted us to eat meat, but only in if we slaughter them in the name of Allah. Muslims slaughter the animals in the same way throughout the year. By calling the name of Allah in the time of slaughter reminds us that the life that we are taking is sacred.
The meat from the sacrifice is mostly given away to others. Normally one-third of the meat from sacrifice is eaten by the immediate family members and relatives, one third is usually kept for friends and the rest is donated to the poor. Some people have been known to donate a lot of money to the poor in the name of Allah to earn Allah's blessings. The act also portrays a clear example in which we just give up things that are dear to us in the way of Allah just to follow his command. This act also promotes brotherhood in the Muslim society. This act also refreshes our faith in Allah and we recognize that all the blessings come from Allah Alone.
It is very important to understand that sacrifice offered by the Muslims on the day of Eid has nothing to do with washing ourselves from sins. This is basically a misunderstanding created by those of previous generations. The stance of Allah is very clear, and it is said in the Book of Quran
"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)
This depicts that Allah has nothing to do with the meat and blood of animals that we sacrifice on the day of Eid. It is just the piety of the Muslims offering the sacrifice that is observed by Allah. The symbolism lies in the attitude. Sacrifice basically infers a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the true and straight path. A true Muslim which has a firm belief in Allah tries to follow all his commands sincerely and obediently. It is the purity of faith, the strength of heart, and a willing obedience that our lord requires from us.
The lessons learned of the way of Prophet Abraham where he was about to slaughter his son in utter submission, until at the last moment when Allah sent a Goat instead of his son are various.
Complete submission to the command of Allah, out of thankfulness, slave hood and love. On this holy day Muslims slaughter an animal whose meat is distributed among the family, friends, and the poor and needy, and prayers are performed by going early.
Realizing one's blessings and thanking Allah for them. Muslims are also encouraged to wear their best cloths, distribute gifts among family and friends and celebrate Eid with family, friends and the neighbors with love.
Remembering the Plight of poor and giving charity. On this Holy day it is mostly encouraged to provide charity as it promotes brotherhood and provides an opportunity to for earning the blessings of Allah.
THE PRAYER FOR EID AL ADHA
The prayer for Eid Al adha is wajib and consists of two rakats with additional takbirs (Muslimah, 2011). The logic behind these Eid prayers is to thank Allah for his infinite blessings.
Prior to the Eid prayer there is a Khutba, and it is necessary to listen to the khutba.
In the first rakat of the Eid prayer, one performs 3 additional takbirs after the opening takbir and before reciting the fatiha. One should raise his hands for each takbir like the opening takbir.
In the second rakat again 3 additional takbirs are offered after reciting the Fatiha and the surah. All the takbirs are like the first rakat except the third takbir, after which one goes into a normal takbir for going into ruku.
In this way the Prayer for the Eid al Adha is completed and people greet each and every one with the blessings of this Holy day. Praying this prayer is not compulsory but is an essential part of this blessed day. One gets a lot of blessings from Allah after performing these additional prayers.
THE SUNNAS OF THE DAY OF EID
The Sunnahs of the day of Eid include:
To adorn oneself according to the shariah law by:
Brushing one's teeth, using a miswak if possible
Wearing the best clothes that one possesses and white colored cloths are preferred.
To wake up early for preparing for the sunnahs to be performed on this day
To reach the place of prayer early
To delay eating until after the prayer of Eid al Adha
To walk when reasonably possible without any kind of hardship.
To give the takbirs of Eid.
To return from Eid prayer taking a different route from the one that a person takes while reaching the place of prayer as established by the prophet's practice (PBUH)
From the discussion above it can be inferred that the Eid Al adha prayer is an obligatory act in the faith of Islam and is one of the most important event in the religion of Islam. The sole purpose of this event is to earn countless blessings of Allah by sacrificing animals in the way of Allah, completing the rituals of Hajj and offering the Eid al Adha prayer (Rabbani, 2010). This Eid reminds us of the sacrifice that Prophet Abraham was willing to make for the sake of Allah. This also provides us an idea of the quality of faith that we should have in our one and only God. Distributing the meat from the sacrifice helps us to realize how we can share things and possessions that are very important for us. Distributing the meat from sacrifice promotes love and brotherhood, and allows the people to realize that they should be thankful to Allah for all the bounties that have been provided.