With Eid-ul-Adha around the corner, Muslims across the world are gearing up to celebrate the occasion with their family and friends and distribute sacrificial animal meat to the needy. People from the faith celebrate two Eids every year. They are:
With Eid-ul-Adha around the corner, Muslims across the world are gearing up to celebrate the occasion with their family and friends and distribute sacrificial animal meat to the needy.
People from the faith celebrate two Eids every year. They are:
- Eid-ul-Fitr (celebrated for three days after a month of fasting in Ramadan)
- Eid-ul-Adha (celebrated for three days every year after the annual Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca for Muslims who can afford it).
Though not all the Muslims perform the pilgrimage of Hajj every year (they are required to do it only once in a lifetime if they are physically able and can afford it), The celebration of Eid-Ul-Adha begins on the 10th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah. A major duty of Muslims during Eid-ul-Adha is the sacrifice of animals.
What do Muslims do on Eid-ul-Adha?
Every year, just before Eid al-Adha, Muslims purchase animals (sheep, cow, camel or goat) to sacrifice. The animal is to be treated and loved like a pet till the day of the sacrifice, when it is slaughtered. The meat of the sacrificed animals is than divided into three equal portions; one to be consumed by the family itself, the second distributed among other relatives, neighbors and friends and the third is to be given to the needy.
In most Muslim countries, people sacrifice the animals in their own homes; however, those that cannot perform the ritual at their residence for some reason can visit designated places or farms. Sometimes, Muslims even give a monetary equivalent of the price of an animal if the sacrifice cannot be performed..
It says in the Quran (the holy book of the Muslims) that, “To every people did We appoint rites (of sacrifice) that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food). But your God is One God: Submit then your wills to Him (In Islam): and give thou the good news to those who humble themselves”. (Surat-Al-Hajj 22: 34)
Why do they sacrifice animals?
The practice of sacrificing animals is basically to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to follow God's command to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
The Muslim faith says that Abraham dreamt of God asking him to sacrifice his son. Even though he loved his son dearly and couldn’t think of harming him, he went ahead and followed his dream. However, just when he was about to go ahead with the sacrifice, God, in his greatness and benevolence, replaced Ishmael with a ram, which Abraham sacrificed.
The event is so described in the Koran, “Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "Oh my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!" So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him, "Oh Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice”) (Surat As-Safat 37: 102-107)
Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son to show his obedience and submission to his God and the Muslims have since been following in the same footsteps to not only honor Abraham, but also show their willingness to sacrifice in the name of Allah.
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How is it Different from other cultural and religious sacrifices?
Sacrificing animals is neither new nor confined to the religion of Islam. It has been carrying on from long before . The pagans, Jews and Christians all have a history of sacrificing for various reasons, be it to appease a God or to placate nature.
However, even though sacrificing animals is part of Islam, it is not to appease some deity or offer atonement. It is more a show of submission and to share with others.
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