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Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎, romanizedʿīd al-ʾaḍḥā, lit. 'Feast of the Sacrifice', IPA: [ʕiːd alˈʔadˤħaː]) is the last of the two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year (the other being Eid al-Fitr), and considered the holier of the two. It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God's command. (The Jewish and Christian religions believe that according to Genesis 22:2, Abraham took his son Isaac to sacrifice). Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, an animal (usually a sheep) is sacrificed ritually. One third of its meat is consumed by the family offering the sacrifice, while the rest is distributed to the poor and needy. Sweets and gifts are given, and extended family are typically visited and welcomed.[5]

In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, and lasts for four days. In the international (Gregorian) calendar, the dates vary from year to year shifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.

Etymology

The Arabic word عيد (ʿīd) means 'festival', 'celebration', 'feast day', or 'holiday'. It itself is a triliteral rootعيد‎ with associated root meanings of "to go back, to rescind, to accrue, to be accustomed, habits, to repeat, to be experienced; appointed time or place, anniversary, feast day."[6][7] Arthur Jeffery contests this etymology, and believes the term to have been borrowed into Arabic from Syriac, or less likely Targumic Aramaic.[8]

The words أضحى (aḍḥā) and قربان (qurbān) are synonymous in meaning 'sacrifice' (animal sacrifice), 'offering' or 'oblation'. The first word comes from the triliteral root ضحى (ḍaḥḥā) with associated meanings of "immolate ; offer up ; sacrifice ; victimize."[9] No occurrence of this root with a meaning related to sacrifice occurs in the Qur'an[6] but in the Hadith literature. Arab Christians use the term to mean the Eucharistic host. The second word derives from the triliteral root ‏‏قرب‎‎ (qaraba) with associated meanings of "closeness, proximity... to moderate; kinship...; to hurry; ...to seek, to seek water sources...; scabbard, sheath; small boat; sacrifice."[7] Arthur Jeffery recognizes the same Semitic root, but believes the sense of the term to have entered Arabic through Aramaic.[8] Compare Hebrew korban קָרבן (qorbān).

Other languages

In languages other, the name is often simply translated into the local language, such as Eid Qurban (Persian: عيد قربان‎), Qurban Bayrami (Azerbaijani: Qurban Bayramı), Tafaska tameqrant (Berber languages: Amazigh), 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[10] or Fiesta del Borrego (both meaning "festival of the lamb"). In Kurdish it is known as (Cejna Qurbanê / جەژنی قوربان). It is also known as Eid Qurban (عید قربان) in Persian speaking countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, Kurban Bayramı[11][12] in Turkey, Qurban Bayramı in Azerbaijan, কোরবানীর ঈদ in Bangladesh, as عید الكبير the big Feast in the Maghreb, as Iduladha, Hari Raya Aidiladha, Hari Raya Haji or Hari Raya Korban in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, as بکرا عید "Goat Eid" or بڑی عید "Greater Eid" in India and Pakistan, Bakara Eid in Trinidad and Tobago, as 𞤔𞤓𞥅𞤂𞤁𞤉 𞤁𞤌𞤐𞤑𞤋𞤐 or Juulde Donkin in the Fulfulde language, as Tabaski or Tobaski in The Gambia, Guinea, and Senegal (most probably borrowed from the Serer language – and an ancient Serer religious festival[13][14][15][16]), and as Odún Iléyá by the Yorúbà people of Nigeria.[17][18][19][20]

The following names are used as other names of Eid al-Adha:

  • عیدالاضحیٰ (transliterations of the Arabic name)[21] is used in Urdu, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, and Austronesian languages such as Malay and Indonesian.
  • العيد الكبير meaning "Greater Eid" (the "Lesser Eid" being Eid al-Fitr)[22] is used in Yemen, Syria, and North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt). Local language translations are used لوی اختر in Pashto, Kashmiri (Baed Eid), Urdu and Hindi (Baṛī Īd), বড় ঈদ in Bengali, Tamil (Peru Nāl, "Great Day") and Malayalam (Bali Perunnal, "Great Day of Sacrifice") as well as Manding varieties in West Africa such as Bambara, Maninka, Jula etc. (ߛߊߟߌߓߊ Seliba, "Big/great prayer").
  • عید البقرة (eid al-baqara) meaning "the Feast of Cows (also sheep or goats)" is used in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East. Although the word ‏بقرة‎ properly means a cow, it is also semantically extended to mean all livestock, especially sheep or goats. This extension is used in Hindi and Urdu as a very similar name ईद-उल-अज़हा (īd-ul-azhā, 'the Feast of goat') is used for the occasion.
  • The Feast of Sacrifice is used in Uzbekistan.
  • The Hajj Feast[17][18] is used in Malaysian and Indonesian, in the Philippines.
  • Big Sallah in Nigeria, as it is considered to be holier than Eid al-Fitr (which is locally known as the "Small Sallah").[23] "Ram Sallah" is also used, as it refers to the rams that are being sacrificed on that day.

Origin

One of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of God by sacrificing his beloved son.[24] In Islam, Abraham kept having dreams that he was sacrificing his son Ishmael. Abraham knew that this was a command from God and he told his son, as stated in the Quran "Oh son, I keep dreaming that I am slaughtering you", Ishmael replied "Father, do what you are ordered to do." Abraham prepared to submit to the will of God and prepared to slaughter his son as an act of faith and obedience to God.[25] During this preparation, Shaytaan 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 Stoning of the Devil during Hajj rites.[26]

Acknowledging that Abraham was willing to sacrifice what is dear to him, God the almighty honoured both Abraham and Ishmael. Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) called Abraham "O' Abraham, you have fulfilled the revelations." and a lamb from heaven was offered by Angel Gabriel to prophet Abraham to slaughter instead of Ishmael. Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al Adha to commemorate both the devotion of Abraham and the survival of Ishmael.[27][28][29]

This story is known as the Akedah in Judaism (Binding of Isaac) and originates in the Torah,[30] the first book of Moses (Genesis, Ch. 22). The Quran refers to the Akedah as follows:[31]

100 "O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!"
101 So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.
102 Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me if Allah (God) so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy!"
103 So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
104 We called out to him "O Abraham!
105 "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
106 For this was obviously a trial–
107 And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:
108 And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:
109 "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"
110 Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
111 For he was one of our believing Servants.
112 And We gave him the good news of Isaac – a prophet – one of the Righteous.

— Quran, sura 37 (Aṣ-Ṣāffāt), āyāt 100–112[32]

The word "Eid" appears once in Al-Ma'ida, the fifth sura of the Quran, with the meaning "solemn festival".[33]

Purpose of sacrifice in Eid al-Adha

The purpose of sacrifice in Eid al-Adha is not about shedding of blood just to satisfy Allah. It is about sacrificing something devotees love the most to show their devotion to Allah.[34] It is also obligatory to share the meat of the sacrificed animal in three equivalent parts – for family, for relatives and friends, and for poor people.[35] The celebration has a clear message of devotion, kindness and equality. It is said that the meat will not reach to Allah, nor will the blood, but what reaches him is the devotion of devotees.

Eid prayers

Eid prayer at the Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan

Devotees offer the Eid al-Adha prayers at the mosque. 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.[36]

Eid prayers must be offered in congregation. Participation of women in the prayer congregation varies from community to community.[37] It consists of two rakats (units) with seven takbirs in the first Raka'ah and five Takbirs in the second Raka'ah. For Shia 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.[38][39] The salat (prayer) is then followed by the khutbah, or sermon, by the Imam.[40]

At the conclusion of the prayers and sermon, Muslims embrace and exchange greetings with one another (Eid Mubarak), give gifts and visit one another. Many Muslims also take this opportunity to invite their friends, neighbours, co-workers and classmates to their Eid festivities to better acquaint them about Islam and Muslim culture.[41]

The owner is cleaning his cow before taking it to the cattle market for Eid-Ul-Adha. Boshila, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Traditions and practices

Cookies of Eid (ma'amoul)

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.[42]

The takbir consists of:[43]

الله أكبر الله أكبر
لا إله إلا الله
الله أكبر الله أكبر
ولله الحمد

Allāhu akbar, allāhu akbar
lā ilāha illā-llāh
allāhu akbar, allāhu akbar
walillāhi l-ḥamd[a]

One important tradition for Eid al-Adha is sacrificing an animal

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 camel, goat, sheep, or ram depending on the region) as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son.[44] 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.[45] In Pakistan alone nearly ten million animals are slaughtered on Eid days costing over $2 billion.[46]

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.[44]

Muslims wear their new or best clothes. Women cook special sweets, including ma'amoul (filled shortbread cookies) and samosas. They gather with family and friends.[36]

Eid al-Adha in the Gregorian calendar

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.[47] 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.[48]

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.[4] 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[49] 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 Mount Ararat and descend from it after sunrise of the listed day.[50]

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.

Islamic year Gregorian date
1438 1 September 2017
1439 22 August 2018
1440 11 August 2019
1441 31 July 2020
1442 20 July 2021 (calculated)

Notes

  1. ^

    Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest,
    There is no god but Allah
    Allah is greatest, Allah is greatest
    and to Allah goes all praise.[36]

References

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  33. ^ Quran 5:114. "Said Jesus the son of Mary: ‘O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs).’"
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External links