STORY BEHIND FESTIVAL
Eid Al Adha: It is said that Ibrahim had a son called Ishmael which he had got after a lot of devotion and prayer to Allah. Once, Allah decided to test the faith and love of Ibrahim towards him. He showed him a dream of his 13-year son being slaughtered by him in service of Allah. Ibrahim had these recurring dreams and realized that Allah wanted him to sacrifice his son Ishmael. He shared his dream with his son Ishmael. Despite being a 13-year-old kid, Ishmael willingly agreed to become a part of the sacrifice as he believed in Allah. Just when he was about to sacrifice his son, Allah called out to them and prevented Ibrahim from sacrificing as he had selflessly agreed to sacrifice his most prized possession for Allah. Instead, He asked to sacrifice a ram or sheep in place of his son to keep the sanctity of the word.
THE END OF ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE HAJ
Notably, Ibrahim had traveled to the holy city of Mecca with his family to sacrifice Ishmael for Allah. He took his son to Mount Arafat for the sacrifice where Allah had prevented him from doing so. Hajj takes place in the last month (Dhu al-Hijjah) of Islamic Calendar and commemorates that journey. At the end of the Hajj, Eid Al Adha is celebrated. The annual pilgrimage of Muslims, Hajj is the journey of Muslims all over the world to the holy city of Mecca. It is one of the five pillars of Islam with the other four being Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm. Every year around 3 million Muslims visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Hajj means to intend a journey” and denotes the physical as well as the mental willingness of people to visit Mecca.
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12TH MONTWOF ISLAMIC CALENDAR
Eid-Al-Adha is celebrated in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Eid Al Adha takes place in the last month of the Islamic Calendar. Since their calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the date of Eid Al Adha often shifts by 11 days earlier every year in the Gregorian calendar. the Gregorian calendar is based on the solar cycle which relatively shows constant changes as compared to the lunar calendar. Moreover, the dates of Eid Al Adha are mostly never known in advance. Only renowned Islamic -; committees announce the date of Eid depends on the position of moon observed by naked eyes.
GREATER EID AND FESTIVAL OF SACRIFICE
Muslims celebrate their most important festivals twice a year. First is the Eid-Al-Fitr which is the end of the fasting period of Ramadan. Eid-AI-Fitr roughly falls two months before the Eid Al Adha or Bakr-Id. However, Eid Al Fitr just celebrates the ending of a month-long fasting period and the main Eid, celebrated by Muslims is Eid Al Adha. That is why Eid Al Adha is also called as Greater Eid. Due to the reason behind the celebration of Eid Al Adha (story Jf Ibrahim), people also call it Festival of Sacrifice which denotes their selfless devotion to Allah.
FESTIVAL OF MORE THAN ONE DAY
Unlike Eid Al Fitr which lasts for only one day, Eid Al Adha may last for two to four days depending on the country. It starts from the tenth day of the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah- the last month of the Islamic month. Dhu al-Hijjah means “possessor of the pilgrimage’ signifying the annual pilgrimage of Hajj. The festival ends on the final day of Hajj which is on the 13th day although sometimes people break their fast on the evening of the 12th day.
THE REASON BEHIND SACRIFICE
The reason behind the sacrifice of ram or sheep. Many non-Muslims often see the act of sacrificing an innocent animal a cruel act and against the philosophy of God-loving every living beings equally. However, according to Islam, this act of sacrifice does not mean that God wants any ill of people or animals. Neither Islam suggests the idea of sacrificing the life of a person like Ibrahim considered to sacrifice his son Ishmael. The sacrifice denotes that you have to be willing to let go of even your most prized possessions in service of the Almighty. Although the practice of slaughtering is still carried on a massive scale the deeper meaning is the sacrifice of attachment to material desires, possessions, and other things for greater devotion to God.
Muslims need to recite a special prayer called Tusmiya before slaughtering the goat or ram. They also need to ensure the highest quality of animal with prime health for sacrificing. The animal is called Udhiya which is an Arabic meaning “the sacrificed.” The meat also needs to be obtained from a particular procedure called Halal which involves a deep cut on the neck. It is done to sever the jugular veins and carotid arteries completely.
RULE OF THIRDS FOR MEAT DISTRIBUTION
According to Islamic traditions, Muslims divide the meat of slaughtered animals into three parts. They eat one-third of the portion and give another third to their friends and neighbors. he remaining portion is distributed to the poor and hungry people. The whole idea behind the philosophy is not to let anybody go hungry without any meal on that day and promote the spirit of giving among people.