Eid ul Adha (عيد الأضحى) is an Islamic festive event. Muslims, all over the world, celebrate two such religious festivals, Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated after a month-long fasting, on the first of the Islamic month of Shawwal. The second such festive occasion comes after around two months and 10 days, from the Eid ul Fitr, on the 10th of Dhul Hajj.

Eid ul Adha is also known as the “Feast of Sacrifice” or “Eid-e-Qurban”, as Muslims sacrifice animals on this day, in remembrance of the Great Act of Sacrifice by the Prophet Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. Apart from this mandatory act of slaughtering animals, Eid ul Adha is celebrated as a festive occasion amongst the Muslims, in all parts of the world.

Historical Background of Sacrificing Animals on Eid ul Adha

Sacrificing animals on the day of Eid ul Adha is also referred to as Sunnat-e-Ibraheem (the Sunnah of Prophet Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. The Prophet Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is believed to have a dream consistently for three days, where he was urged to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismael عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. He shared his dreams with his beloved son, who encouraged him to fulfill this divine dream and offered his willingness to be sacrificed in fulfillment of the Will and Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.

So, the Prophet Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ laid down his son Ismael عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ for sacrificing him in obedience of the Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. At this point, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى was pleased with the obedience and sacrifice of His Prophet and replaced his son with a lamb, sent from the heavens. The Prophet Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ then slaughtered that lamb. This act of sacrifice was so liked by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى that it was made mandatory for the Muslims to sacrifice animals to commemorate this historical event.

This event is narrated in verses 100 to 109 of Surah As-Saffat.

Translation

And he prayed:) “O Lord, grant me a righteous son.

So We gave him the good news of a clement son.

When he was old enough to go about with him, he said: “O my son, I dreamt that I was sacrificing you. Consider, what you think?” He replied: “Father, do as you are commanded. If God pleases you will find me firm.”

When they submitted to the will of God, and (Abraham) laid (his son) down prostrate on his temple

We called out: “O Abraham,

You have fulfilled your dream.” Thus do We reward the good.

That was indeed a trying test.

So We ransomed him for a great sacrifice,

And left (his hallowed memory) for posterity.

Peace be on Abraham.

Hence the Muslims commemorate this historic event on the 10th of Dhul Hajj by sacrificing animals, which is the mandatory act on the occasion of Eid ul Adha.

Days of Eid ul Adha

Eid ul Adha is celebrated in the month of Dhul Hajj, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. It lasts for 2 to 4 days in different countries per their traditions. It starts on the 10th of Dhul Hajj. From the religious perspective Eid ul Adha, especially the ritual of sacrificing animals lasts for four days, from the 10th to the 13th of Dhul Hajj.

When is Eid ul Adha 2024?

The Islamic months start with the appearance of the moon. Hence, the exact day of the start of an Islamic month cannot be predicted, as it is subject to the sighting of the moon. Similarly, an Islamic month may not start on the same day in the entire world, as the moon may appear in different parts of the world on different days, with a variation of 1 to 3 days.

Accordingly, the exact day of Eid ul Adha 2024 cannot be determined precisely at this point. However, Eid ul Adha 2024 is most likely to fall on Monday, 17th of June 2024, in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and most of Europe and England. In other parts of the world, it may fall on the 18th of June 2024, subject to the sighting of the Dhul Hajj moon.

Observance of Eid Ul Adha

All Islamic festive events are associated with one or more religious rituals. Most importantly, celebrations have to be within the permissible limits of Islamic teachings. Eid ul Adha is also one such festive occasion.

The day starts with the regular Fajr prayers, followed by a special Eid prayer comprising two Rakahs (units). This special prayer is performed, preferably in open places but can also be done in Mosques depending on the weather conditions or non-availability of a proper open space.

After the performance of Eid Prayers, the mandatory act of sacrificing animals starts. Hadith 5545 of Sahi Al-Bukhari explains the right time to slaughter sacrificial animals.

Translation

The Prophet (ﷺ) said (on the day of Idal-Adha), “The first thing we will do on this day of ours, is to offer the (`Id) prayer and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunna (tradition), and whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) before the prayer, what he offered was just meat he presented to his family, and that will not be considered as Nusak (sacrifice).” (On hearing that) Abu Burda bin Niyar got up, for he had slaughtered the sacrifice before the prayer, and said, “I have got a six month old ram.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Slaughter it (as a sacrifice) but it will not be sufficient for any-one else (as a sacrifice after you). Al-Bara’ added: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) after the prayer, he slaughtered it at the right time and followed the tradition of the Muslims.”

Slaughtering of sacrificial animals can be done starting from the 10th of Dhul Hajj up to the 13th of Dhul Hajj before sunset.

Eid ul Adha Observance – Sunnahs

  • Perform regular Fajr Prayers on time.
  • Clean your teeth.
  • Perform Islamic baths (Ghusl).
  • Wear the best of your clothes, preferably the new ones.
  • Do not eat before Eid Prayers.
  • Recite takbeer (اَللهُ أَكْبَرُ ، اَللهُ أَكْبَرُ، اَللهُ أَكْبَرُ، لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ ، وَاللهُ أَكْبَرُ، اَللهُ أَكْبَرُ، وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ) on your way to and from the place of offering Eid Prayers.
  • Take different routes from your home to the place of Eid Prayers and back home.
  • Listen to the Eid Khutba delivered by the Imam.
  • Slaughter sacrificial animal after offering Eid Prayers.

Cultural and Traditional Activities on the Day of Eid

Apart from the essentials and Sunnahs on the day of Eid ul Adha, Muslims are at liberty to celebrate this day per their cultural and traditional norms while observing the basic teachings of Islam. The most common activities on the day of Eid ul Adha in different parts of the world are summarized here.

  • Wearing new clothes.
  • Special arrangements are made for the best dresses and shoes for women and kids.
  • Meet and greet friends, family, and community members.
  • Visiting close relatives and friends with families.
  • Making special festive meals for the guests.
  • Exchange of gifts between families.
  • Visiting recreation parks with kids and families.

Conclusion

Eid ul Adha is a religious festival. It is one of the two most prominent festivals for Muslims, along with Eid ul Fitr. The day of Eid ul Adha is also the day of sacrificing animals in remembrance of the sacrifice of Prophet Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ when he offered his son for sacrificing on the Will and Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.

Apart from this mandatory act of slaughtering sacrificial animals, the day of Eid ul Adha is also celebrated as a day of festivals, all around the Muslim world.