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Eid al-Adha
Eid Blessings WDL6855.png
Calligraphic fragment dated to 1729–30 displaying blessings for Eid al-Adha in Arabic
Official name Eid al-Adha
Observed by Muslims and Druze
Type Islamic
Significance
Commemoration of Ibrahim (Abraham)'s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience of a command from God
End of the annual Hajj to Mecca
Observances Eid prayers, animal sacrifice, charity, social gatherings, festive meals, gift-giving
Begins 10 Dhu al-Hijjah nbm,
Ends 14 Dhu al-Hijjah
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2021 date 20 July
Related to Hajj; Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Adha (or Eid al-Azha and Eidul Azha; eed-_-əl-_-ah--,_-_; Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎, romanized: ʿĪd al-ʾAḍḥā, lit.'Feast of the Sacrifice' ) is the latter of the two official Islamic holidays celebrated within Islam (the other being Eid al-Fitr). It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) 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, Yahweh provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, animals are sacrificed ritually. One third of their 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.

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.

Other languages

Language Region Local Names
Arabic Arab World عيد الأضحى (Eid-ul-Adha), العيد الكبير (Eid-ul-Kabir) in Yemen, Syria, and North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt)
Azerbaijani Azerbaijan Qurban Bayramı
Bengali Bengal কোরবানীর ঈদ (Kurbanir Eid), বড় ঈদ (Bari Eid or "Greater Eid")
Berber North Africa Tafaska tameqrant
Dutch Netherlands, Belgium Offerfeest
English British Isles, North America Feast of the Sacrifice
English Trindad & Tobago Bakra Eid
Fulfulde Sahel 𞤔𞤓𞥅𞤂𞤁𞤉 𞤁𞤌𞤐𞤑𞤋𞤐 (Juulde Donkin)
German Germany, Austria, Switzerland Opferfest
Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba Nigeria Iléyá, Big Sallah, Ram Sallah
Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu) India, Pakistan बकरा ईद / بکرا عید (Bakra Eid), बड़ी ईद / بڑی عید (Greater Eid)
Hungarian Hungary Áldozati ünnep
Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore Id-ul-adha, Hari Raya Aid-il-adha, Hari Raya Haji, Hari Raya Korban (Hajj Feast)
Kashmiri Kashmir region Baed Eiz/ بٔڈ عیٖز ( "Big Eid")
Kurdish Kurdistan جەژنی قوربان (Cejna Qurbanê)
Malayalam India (Kerala) ബലിപെരുന്നാൾ Bali Perunnal (Great Day of Sacrifice)
Pashto Afghanistan, Pakistan لوی اختر
Persian Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan عید قربان (Eid-e-Qurban)
Romanian Romania, Moldova Sărbătoarea Sacrificiului
Russian Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan Kurban Bairam
Spanish Spain, Latin America Fiesta del Cordero, Fiesta del Borrego (Festival of the Lamb)
Tamil India (Tamil Nadu), Sri Lanka Peru Nāl (Great Day)
Turkish Turkey Kurban Bayramı
Uzbek Uzbekistan Qurbon Hayit
Wolof The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Senegal Tabaski/Tobaski

Origin

One of the main trials of Abraham's life was to face the command of God by sacrificing his beloved son. In Islam, Abraham kept having dreams that he was sacrificing his son Ishmael. Ibrahim 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. 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.

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.

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

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

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

Sacrifice on Eid al-Adha

The tradition for Eid al-Adha involves killing an animal and sharing the meat in three equal parts – for family, for relatives and friends, and for poor people. The goal is to make sure every Muslim gets to eat meat. The celebration has a clear message of devotion, kindness and equality.

The purpose of the sacrifice in Eid al-Adha is to satisfy Allah. It is about sacrificing something devotees love the most to advance the message of Eid al-Adha. In other words, the sacrifice can be something other than an animal such as money or time spent on community service.

Eid prayers

The Badshahi in all its glory during the 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.

Eid prayers must be offered in congregation. Participation of women in the prayer congregation varies from community to community. 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. The salat (prayer) is then followed by the khutbah, or sermon, by the Imam.

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.

Traditions and practices

PikiWiki Israel 28887 Eid al-Adha Homemade Cookies
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.

The takbir consists of:

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

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


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, cow, sheep, or ram depending on the region) as a symbol of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son. 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. In Pakistan alone nearly ten million animals are sacrificed on Eid days, costing over $2 billion.

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.

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.

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. Each year, Eid al-Adha (like other Islamic holidays) falls on one of about two to four Gregorian dates in parts of the world, because the boundary of crescent visibility is different from the International Date Line.

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. 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 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.

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
1440 11 August 2019
1441 31 July 2020
1442 20 July 2021 (calculated)
1443   9 July 2022 (calculated)
1444 28 June 2023 (calculated)
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