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Eid Al-Adha

Background

The Islamic community celebrates two Eid celebrations annually, one of which is the Eid Al-Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifice.” Also regarded as the “Greater Eid,” it is a commemoration of the selfless act of Ibrahim in offering his son Ismail to Allah. The sacrifice did not push through when Allah interrupted the offering and told Ibrahim that this act of submission was accepted. In place of his son, an animal was placed for sacrifice where the same was divided into three equal parts with the first part kept for the family, the second part to be given to relatives and friends, and the last part to be provided to the poor and those in need. Though there is no fixed day every year for the celebration of Eid Al-Adha, it always falls on the tenth day of the Dhu Al-Hijjah for a duration of four days.

The celebration of Eid Al-Adha teaches everyone of the act of selflessness of Ibrahim wherein he was willing to offer his only son to Allah despite heavy temptation not to do so. The act of selfless devotion shown by Ibrahim to Allah was actually a test of faith on his part and the most difficult and greatest trial of his life, where the timely intervention of Allah saved Ibrahim’s son and where a sacrificial lamb was provided in his place.

In celebration of the Festival of Sacrifice, Muslim devotees, dressed in their best attire, either go to the mosque or an Eidgah (a large place where prayers can be conducted), to start their act of supplication. It usually starts anytime after the sun rises and before Zuhr, or the prayers before midday.

How Afghans celebrate Eid Al-Adha

In addition to the Eid prayers, many Muslim pilgrims try to emulate the act of Ibrahim by sacrificing their best animal following the same apportionment made in the early times.   There are certain requirements before an animal can be considered an acceptable offering. Hence, those who desire to make this offering cannot just pick any livestock but have to ensure that the chosen animal meets certain standards. Portions of the accepted sacrifice are then given to everyone, seeing to it that all those who are in need will be fed and be happy on this very special day. Considering that livestock does not come cheap, it is the affluent people who usually partake in this ritualistic offering. If a devotee cannot afford this, he is encouraged to make a donation to charity.

Though Afghanistan is still engaged in civil conflict, the celebration of Eid Al-Adha is only one of the few occasions where everyone is brought together. As members of the Islamic community are expected to partake in the commemoration of this special festival, the Afghan populace is likewise expected to put their differences aside and offer their prayers to Allah, like their other Muslim brothers. The celebration of Eid Al-Adha serves as an instrument for unity for the people of Afghanistan and is one of the few instances where discord and disagreements do not exist. This is why many festivities take place during this grand occasion.

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Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha

This Muslim festival commemorates Ibrahim or Abraham, and when he showed obedience towards Allah’s order to sacrifice his son. This is why the holiday is sometimes called the Feast of the Sacrifice. It takes place on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Most celebrations last 2-4 days. Eid al-Adha is the counterpart of Eid al-Adha, which together make up the Eid holidays. They are considered holidays of remembrance and accomplishment. The holiday also ends the period of hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which Muslims are supposed to make once during their life.

Background

The main function of the holiday is to commemorate Ibrahim’s submission to God. This occurred when Ibrahim began to have recurring dreams of sacrificing his son, Ishmael, making Ibrahim realize that God was asking him to slaughter his only son. Satan tempted Abraham as he considered God’s commandment, but Abraham threw rocks at him to drive Satan away. This is why observers of Hajj rights will throw stones at symbolic pillars.

Abraham decided to ask Ishmael, who was 13, about the dreams. Ishmael told him that he wanted his father to carry out God’s will. When Abraham attempted to carry out this sacrifice, God stopped Abraham and offered him a dead ram to sacrifice instead. God had been testing Abraham’s willingness to obey. Eid al-Adha is a commemoration of this sacrifice.

Customs

Muslims will prepare for the festival with ablution prayers, personal grooming, or by wearing their best clothes. They then must attend a religious service featuring the Aid al-Adha prayer and a sermon.

Another aspect is the sacrifice of an animal, such as a cow, goat, sheep, ram, or another type of animal. Since most countries outlaw this practice, many observe a feast of meat dishes to symbolically follow the sacrifice.

Some poor observers are sent animals to partake with by affluent Muslims. After services, observers form gatherings of family and friends to exchange gifts. There is no specific tradition for food that must be served at this meal, as this depends largely on location and culture.

Hajj pilgrimage

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. During the time of Eid al-Adha, some Muslims fulfill their duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. In Mecca on Eid al-Adha, observers descend from Hajj ceremonies on Mount Arafat. Before this pilgrimage, those who had not made this journey yet were called pilgrims. After, they were referred to as Hajj. While many divisions between the faith disagree on Islamic tradition, the shared custom of the Hajj provides a sense of unification. After their arrival, pilgrims are read a series of rites that relate to the life of Ibrahim.

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