Eid al-Adha or  Bakrid is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Muslims all over the world. It is also known as Id-ul-Zuha and is celebrated by almost all Muslims amidst prayers, greeting near and dear ones and by exchanging gifts.

It is also known as the festival of sacrifice, where the great Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son Ishmael at the willingness of God without a second thought. While sacrificing his son, he realized that his son was safe and an animal had been sacrificed and the God was only testing his devotion.

It is also a wonderful symbolist incident where it is clearly indicated that God does not ever want human sacrifice in any ways.

According to the traditional Islamic calendar which is moon based, the Id-ul-Zuha or Eid al-Adha is observed from the 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah and continues up to 4 days. The date finally depends upon the sighting of the moon. According to Gregorian calendar Eid al-Adha is celebrated in the month of September.  In the year 2017, this festival will most likely be observed on the 1st of September.

 

Legend behind Eid al-Adha

According to the Quran and Islamic tradition, prophet Ibrahim brought his baby child Ishmael and his Arabian wife Hajar from Arabia to the rocky and barren land of Mecca and left them there. Whatever supplies he left, soon finished and Hajar seeing her baby child in distress kept running 7 times between the two hills al-Safa and al-Marwah to seek water. She finally fell down beside the child in sheer exhaustion, when miraculously a spring of water sprang from near the feet of Ishmael. This is the Zamzam well. They not only survived but also traded that water off for their basic livelihood.

Bakri Id/Eid ul-Adha

Bakri Id/Eid ul-Adha

Many years later, God instructed Ibrahim to return to Mecca and build a place of worship for him near the Zamzam well. Ibrahim along with his son Ishmael prepared a stone structure known as the Kabaa which was to become the most religious place for the Muslims, who seek to strengthen their belief in Allah.

Allah further tested Ibrahim by asking him to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael. Hearing the wish and commandment of God, Ibrahim started preparing for the inevitable. The Devil or Shaitan tried demoralizing Ibrahim by trying to dissuade him from preparing his son. However, Ibrahim stood resolute and tried to drive away the Shaitan by throwing stones at him. When Ibrahim was about to cut the throat of his son, he suddenly realized that a dead Ram lay where Ishmael had been, and thus saved Ishmael and also sent a strong message. Ibrahim had proved that the God’s commandment or Allah/s wish was the most important and for that Muslims commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice by Ibrahim each year through Eid al-Adha.

 

Rituals of Eid al-Adha or Bakriid

  • The day starts with all the Muslim people having a cleansing bath or wudu and donning new clothes.
  •  They then visit the mosque to pray to the almighty.
  • They also offer the Salat al-Fajr  or the pre-sunrise prayer
  • Taqbir is recited before and after praying to Allah.
  • Since the festival commemorates the sacrifice of Ibrahim, symbolic sacrifice is mandatory. Animals like camel, goat, sheep, Cow etc are sacrificed.  These animals have to meet with certain specifications which are laid down by religious scriptures.
  • Wealthy families are expected to sacrifice an animal each. The not so wealthy families can join from 7 families to 70 families and sacrifice one animal.
  • After the sacrifice two thirds of the meat is distributed amongst the poor and one third portion is retained for family and friend consumption. Though this is purely optional.
  • After the prayers, zakat or alms is given to the poor.
  • People later on visit family friends and relatives to exchange eid greetings.
  • The eid prayers are performed any time after the sun completely rises.
  • Eid prayer is considered to be Fard Kifaya or a communal obligation.

 

Significance of Eid al-Adha

  • This is a festival which teaches the underlying meaning that for the sake of God we must be ready to renounce our most loved things.
  • One must always follow the commandments of Allah with the deepest faith.
  • It also spreads the message of compassions, joy and togetherness.

Legend behind Eid al-Adha

According to the Quran and Islamic tradition, prophet Ibrahim brought his baby child Ishmael and his Arabian wife Hajar from Arabia to the rocky and barren land of Mecca and left them there. Whatever supplies he left, soon finished and Hajar seeing her baby child in distress kept running 7 times between the two hills al-Safa and al-Marwah to seek water. She finally fell down beside the child in sheer exhaustion, when miraculously a spring of water sprang from near the feet of Ishmael. This is the Zamzam well. They not only survived but also traded that water off for their basic livelihood.

Many years later, God instructed Ibrahim to return to Mecca and build a place of worship for him near the Zamzam well. Ibrahim along with his son Ishmael prepared a stone structure known as the Kabaa which was to become the most religious place for the Muslims, who seek to strengthen their belief in Allah.

Allah further tested Ibrahim by asking him to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael. Hearing the wish and commandment of God, Ibrahim started preparing for the inevitable. The Devil or Shaitan tried demoralizing Ibrahim by trying to dissuade him from preparing his son. However, Ibrahim stood resolute and tried to drive away the Shaitan by throwing stones at him. When Ibrahim was about to cut the throat of his son, he suddenly realized that a dead Ram lay where Ishmael had been, and thus saved Ishmael and also sent a strong message. Ibrahim had proved that the God’s commandment or Allah/s wish was the most important and for that Muslims commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice by Ibrahim each year through Eid al-Adha.

 

Rituals of Eid al-Adha or Bakriid

  • The day starts with all the Muslim people having a cleansing bath or wudu and donning new clothes.
  •  They then visit the mosque to pray to the almighty.
  • They also offer the Salat al-Fajr  or the pre-sunrise prayer
  • Taqbir is recited before and after praying to Allah.
  • Since the festival commemorates the sacrifice of Ibrahim, symbolic sacrifice is mandatory. Animals like camel, goat, sheep, Cow etc are sacrificed.  These animals have to meet with certain specifications which are laid down by religious scriptures.
  • Wealthy families are expected to sacrifice an animal each. The not so wealthy families can join from 7 families to 70 families and sacrifice one animal.
  • After the sacrifice two thirds of the meat is distributed amongst the poor and one third portion is retained for family and friend consumption. Though this is purely optional.
  • After the prayers, zakat or alms is given to the poor.
  • People later on visit family friends and relatives to exchange eid greetings.
  • The eid prayers are performed any time after the sun completely rises.
  • Eid prayer is considered to be Fard Kifaya or a communal obligation.