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THE FESTIVAL
OF SACRIFICE…
EID AL-ADHA
Eid Al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj or holy pilgrimage, which is one of
the five pillars of Islam. Often Muslims celebrate this occasion over a period
of several days, making special prayers, visiting one another and enjoying
festive meals.
HEALTH
explains the concept of Eid Al-Adha.
While many non-Muslims
understand the significance of Eid
Al-Fitr after an entire month of
fasting in Ramadan, there’s less
awareness surrounding Eid Al-
Adha. The Festival of the Sacrifice
or Eid Al-Adha is one of two
major Islamic celebrations which
takes place on the tenth day of
the Islamic month Dhul-Hijjah,
the last month of the Islamic
calendar. Millions of Muslims
from around the world make an
annual pilgrimage to Makkah in
order to worship Allah (God) and
to commemorate the willingness
of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace
be upon him) to sacrifice his son
Ishmael in response to a command
from God. Satisfied with Ibrahim’s
devotion, God replaced Ishmael
with a sheep at the last second,
and the sheep was slaughtered
instead. While pilgrims in Makkah
re-enact this scene by slaughtering
sheep of their own, Muslims who
can afford it in the rest of the
world also participate in this rite
by slaughtering sheep, camels and
cows.
Different cultures have
their own celebratory dishes
for Eid, but the main focus
on Eid Al-Adha is meat.
On the first morning of Eid
Al-Adha, Muslims around
the world attend morning
prayers at local mosques.
Prayers are followed by visits with
family and friends with an exchange
of greetings and gifts. At some point,
members of the family will make
arrangements for the slaughter of
an animal. The meat is distributed
during the days of the holiday or
shortly thereafter. One-third of
this meat is eaten by immediate
family and relatives, one-third is
given away to friends, and one-
third is donated to the poor. The
act symbolizes our willingness to
give up things that are of benefit to
us or close to our hearts, in order
to follow Allah’s commands. It also
symbolizes our willingness to give
up some of our own bounties, in
order to strengthen ties of friendship
and help those who are in need.
H
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Oct/Nov 2014