By Agencies / 26 Sep 2013
Islam has two beautiful celebrations that will be part of your life: Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. Some basic facts about Eid ul-Adha:
· Pronounced EED-ul-ADHA, it can be translated as the “Feast of the Sacrifice.”
· Eid ul-Adha is tied to Hajj - the pilgrimage to the sacred city of Mecca that brings in 2 million Muslims every year from all over the world.
· Eid ul-Adha lasts four days. On the other hand, Eid ul-Fitr, celebrated at the conclusion of Ramadan, is a one day celebration.
· During Eid ul-Adha, many Muslim families sacrifice an animal and share the meat with the poor.
In accordance to the command of Allah both Muslim festivals were celebrated since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Hence they are Allah and authentic. No human being made them up. What is their spirit? Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us,
“They are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of Allah.”
In other words, we can enjoy and have halal, wholesome fun without forgetting our Creator.
Before Eid ul-Adha
As stated earlier, Eid ul-Adha is tied to Hajj. Performing Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that is performed in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar known as “Dhul-Hijjah.” Eid ul-Adha is celebrated by Muslims all over the world on the 10th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah. The first ten days of this month have a special merit. In Arabic, they are known as ‘al-Ayyam ul-Ashr.’ The season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct one’s faults and make up for shortcomings or anything that one might have missed.
Virtues of the ‘Ten Days’
The following are five virtues of the ‘al-Ayyam ul-Ashr’ (the Ten Days):
1. Allah swears an oath by them in the Quran, and swearing an oath by something shows us it’s paramount significance and genuine benefit. Allah says:
“By the dawn; by the ten nights”(Quran 89:1-2)
Early authorities of Quran have explained that this verse refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
2. To further convince us of their merit, the Prophet testified that these are the “best” days in the world. The Ten Days are better than all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadan! But the last ten nights of Ramadan are better, because they include Laylat al-Qadr (“the Night of Power”).
3. There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which good deeds are more loved by Him than these ten days, so a Muslim must frequently recite “SubhanAllah”, “Alhamdulillah” and “Allahu Akbar” during this time.
4. The Ten Days include the days of sacrifice and Hajj.
5. The 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah is called ‘Yaum ul Arafah’ (The Day of Arafah). This is the date when the pilgrims assemble on the plain of Arafah, six miles away from Mecca. The Day of Arafah itself has many virtues.
Virtues And Practices of Day of Arafah
1. Yaum al-Arafah is the day on which Allah completed the religion of Islam.
2. Yaum al-Arafah is one of the biggest gatherings of any place in the world.
3. Yaum al-Arafah is a day on which prayers are answered. One of the etiquettes of praying on this day is to raise one’s hands as Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made du’a in Arafah, his hands raised up to his chest (Abu Daud).
4. It is recommended to fast on the day of Arafah for those who are not performing Hajj. The Prophet said,
“Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it.”
“But for the pilgrims it is disliked to fast the day of Arafah in Arafah as Allah’s Messenger has informed.”
If you want to offer a sacrifice or have it done for you, you must stop cutting your hair, nails, and removing anything from your skin, from the beginning of the Ten Days until after you have offered your sacrifice or it has been offered on your behalf.
History & Purpose of Eid ul-Adha
The history of Eid ul-Adha goes back to the time of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), a major figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Eid al-Adha commemorates the great event when Allah asked Abraham in a dream to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience.
“And, when he [his son] was old enough to walk with him, he said, ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so see what you think!’ He said, ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me patient.’”(Quran 37:102)
As Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others, that he would make any sacrifice in order to submit to Allah. A version of the story also appears in the Bible’s Old Testament.
Some people are confused as to why Allah asked Abraham to slaughter his own son. Islamic scholars explained, “the purpose was not for Ibrahim to kill his son; rather it was to sacrifice him in his heart so all love belonged to Allah alone.”
Thus, it is a part of our tradition that during the blessed Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah and on the day of Eid ul-Adha we remember the sacrifice of Abraham. We reflect on what made him such a strong believer, a close friend of Allah, someone Allah blessed and made a leader of all the nations that were to follow.