What is Eid Al Adha?

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi

What is Eid al-Adha?

At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). 

What does Eid al-Adha commemorate?

During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. The Qur'an describes Abraham as follows:

"Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him on the right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next, he will most surely be among the righteous." (Qur'an 16:120-121)

One of Abraham's main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah's will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his "sacrifice" had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others, that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.

Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?

During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.

Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name in the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we are reminded that life is sacred.

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third 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. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: "It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)

The symbolism is in the attitude - a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah's commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.

What else do Muslims do to celebrate the holiday?

On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.

Gulfnews announcements of Eid Al Adha Holiday in the UAE

Ministries and federal bodies will remain closed from Thursday, November 26 to Thursday, December 3 to mark Eid Al Adha and National Day, according to a circular issued by Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Federal Human Resources Authority. The extended break for Eid Al Adha and National Day was announced in line with the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Ministries and federal bodies will resume work on December 6. Al Qutami seized the opportunity to thank Shaikh Khalifa for his noble initiative linking the Eid holiday to the National Day holiday. He congratulated the President and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Ruler of the Emirates, and the UAE people on the glorious occasion. Al Qutami also congratulated the Arab and Muslim nations on the occasion. Meanwhile, the private sector will get a three-day holiday from November 26 to 28 to mark Eid Al Adha, and one day on December 2 for the National Day, according to a circular by Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour. Work will resume on Sunday, December 3.

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.


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  1. happy eid holiday, thanks for dropping by. hope to see you around. enjoy your holiday.

  2. BTW, just add your site to my blog link exchange page http://lifemoto.blogspot.com/2006/06/other-links.html

    have a nice day!

  3. life moto naadd na ata kita teka nga check ko lng. sure add you up. thanks din the greetings

  4. Happy Eid to you dear. Simula ng pasok namin ngayon and I really feel soooo sleepy. I still have a post-Eid vacation hangover (not from liquor but from sleeping late, waking up later routine). D bale it's only two more days then another weekend. Hehe. I did a lot this holiday and none of them is productive. Hay buhay...

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