Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice

Meaning of Sacrificing

Tina S
Tina S
Nov 27, 2009
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The word Eid translates to "feast." Eid- Ul- Adha is one of the special festivals of Muslim. Eid- Ul –Adha celebrations start after the Hajj. The first day of Eid- Ul –Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Duhl -Hijja, that is the last month of the Islamic year. In some areas. Eid- Ul –Adha is celebrated for several days by Muslims.
Eid- Ul –Adha is also known as Bakr- Eid, Qurbani and festival of sacrifice.
On this festival Muslims sacrifice their domestic animals like goat (Bakr- Eid), sheep, cow, camel etc.

This sacrifice made by Muslims is a symbol of sacrifice made by Prophet Abraham.
Sacrifice, as practised by Holy Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is an essential religious rite in memory of the sacrifice performed by Prophet Abraham.
The aim of sacrifice, like all other fundamentals of Islam, is to imbibe piety and self righteousness. It also promotes the spirit of sacrifice for a right cause.

To explain its purpose, God says in the Quran. ? It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches God, It is their piety that reaches God?: (22:37)


The history of Eid-ul-Adha can be traced back to the story which states that Abraham was instructed by Allah, in a dream, to raise the foundations of Kaaba,the most sacred shrine in Mecca. Muslims believe that even after undergoing a lot of trials and tribulations on his way to Mecca, God revealed in a dream to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isma’il.Abrahim and Isma’il set off to Mina for the sacrifice.

As they went, the devil attempted to lead Abraham astray by disobeying God and not to sacrifice his beloved son. But Abraham remained unfaltered in his decision and true to God, and drove the devil away. As Abraham prepared to kill his son, God stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead.
Popularly known as the Festival of Sacrifice, this Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing (Qurbani) his own son to the One God, Allah. The festival reminds everyone of the mercy and benefits bestowed upon mankind by Allah.

The Time of Qurbani

Qurbani can only be performed during the three days of Eid, namely the 10th, Ilth and 12th of Zulhijjah. It is only in these days that slaughtering of an animal is recognized as an act of worship. No Qurbani can be performed in any other days of the year.
Although Qurbani is permissible on each of the three aforesaid days, yet it is preferable to perform it on the first day i.e. the 10th of Zulhijjah.
No Qurbani is allowed before the Eid prayer is over. However, in small villages where the Eid prayer is not to be performed, Qurbani can be offered' any time after the break of dawn on the 10th of Zulhijjah.
Qurbani can also be performed in the two nights following the Eid day, but it is more advisable to perform it during daytime.

What to Sacrifice

The Urdu and persian word Qurbani (Sacrificial slaughter) is derived from the Arabic word Qurban. Lexically, it means an act performed to seek Allah's pleasure. Originally, the word Qurban included all acts of charity because the purpose of charity is nothing but to seek Allah's pleasure. But, in precise religious terminology, the word was later confined to the sacrifice of an animal slaughtered for the sake of Allah.
All the permissible (halal) domesticated or reared quadrupeds can be offered for Qurbani. Generally, slaughter of goats, sheep, rams, cows, and camels is offered.
It is permissible for seven persons to share the sacrifice of a cow or a camel on the condition that no one?s share is less than one seventh and their intention is to offer Qurbani.

Age of Sacrificial Animals

Sacrifice of goat or sheep less than one year old (unless the sheep is so strong and fat that it looks to be a full one year old) is not in order. Cow should be at least two years old. Camels should not be less than five years old.

Disqualifying defects

Sacrifice of an animal will not be in order if it is one eyed, or blind, or has lost one third or more of its eyesight, or one third or more of its tail, or its ear has been cut off, or it is lame, or its bones have no marrow, or it has no ears by birth or its horns have been broken from their roots, or it has no teeth at all. If the number of teeth intact exceeds the lost ones, it is permissible. If it has no horns by birth, or has less than one third broken horns, it is permissible.

Distribution of meat

One should eat the meat of the sacrifice, give it to relations and friends, (to non-Muslims also) and also to the poor in charity. One third should be given in charity, but if it be less it will not be a sin.

Method of Sacrifice

The animal for slaughter should be laid on its left side facing Kaabah and its throat cut open with a sharp knife, and its blood allowed draining. In the case of a camel, it should be allowed to remain standing after its left fore leg has been stringed. A sharp spear should then be thrust in its breast and on both sides of its neck, and the blood allowed draining.

Philosophy of the Sacrifice

According to the teachings of Islam, the sacrifice of animals is not offered to appease offended deities nor to win their favor as an atonement of sins as was the case of many other nations. The Holy Quran made it quite clear by stating:
"Neither the flesh nor the blood of your sacrifices reaches God, but it is the righteous motive underlying them that reaches Him." (22:37)

In other words, the slaughtering of animals is a symbolic expression whereby a Muslim declares his readiness to lay down his own life and everything he owes for the sake of God Almighty. The animal that is sacrificed really stands for the animal in man himself.

One important aspect of the Eid ul-Adha is that it commemorates Abraham’s (Ibrahim) readiness to obey Allah and sacrifice his son. To some Islamic people, this son is always Ishmael. That comes as a surprise to Christians and Jews who traditionally think God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
In other Islamic sects, it is not specified which son Abraham was asked to sacrifice. The Eid ul-Adha simply celebrates Abraham’s willingness to comply with the request of Allah to sacrifice a beloved son. At the last minute of this sacrifice, Allah spares Abraham and allows him to sacrifice a goat instead; some accounts say a lamb.

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