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Eid ul-Adha: Commemorating Ibrahim’s Sacrifice


Every year, for four days in Dhul Hijjah month in the Hijri calendar, millions of Muslims all around the world gather to celebrate the joyous occasion of Eid ul-Adha or the “feast of sacrifice”. Eid ul-Adha is associated with a memory that happened thousands of years ago, starring our Prophet Ibrahim and his obeying son, Ismael.


Studio Arabiya is here to tell the whole story as well as the rituals associated with Eid ul-Adha. Keep reading to know more.

The Story of Ibrahim’s Sacrifice 

carbox sheep to show Eid ul-AdhaOne day, Prophet Ibrahim (Peace Be Upon Him) dreamt that Allah wants him to sacrifice. Being obedient, he proceeded to fulfill this sacrifice the very next day by sacrificing one hundred goats for the sake of Allah. When he went to sleep that night, he had the same dream, so the next day he sacrificed one hundred camels. 


This didn’t stop the dream from occurring, in a more clear tone, “Dear Ibrahim, you have to sacrifice your beloved Ismael”. Full of shock but willing to please Allah, Ibrahim told Ismail, who was 13 or 14 during this time, about Allah’s orders. Ismael didn’t resist one bit, he wanted to please Allah just like his father.


Quran pictured this exact scene in Surah as-Saaffaat saying:

“he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills, one practicing Patience and Constancy!”


As usual, Satan (Shaitan) appeared and tried to persuade Ibrahim to flee and disregard the call when he was climbing Mount Arafat to perform the sacrifice. “Murdering your only son? “How could you!” he said repeatedly. Ibrahim, on the other hand, refused to give in and stoned Satan three times to get him to go and stop messing with his head.


Coming from Ibrahim’s family, they understood what sacrifice meant: giving up priceless things in exchange for something much more precious bestowed by Allah, the Almighty. Ismael requested that he face the ground rather than his father’s face throughout the slaughter.

That’s in order to prevent feeling sorry for him or stopping the sacrifice.


Just as Ibrahim was sharpening the knife, ready to give his son as a sacrifice with a heart full of obedience, Allah called him to a halt. He informed Ibrahim that this is all He wanted to see and to demonstrate to the rest of the world how far Ibrahim is willing to go for His love and approval, even if it meant making a severe type of sacrifice.

At the last moment

Instead, Allah sent a ram from heaven as a ransom for Ismael, Ibrahim slaughtered it and the sacrifice was fulfilled. That’s why Muslims slaughter an animal every year during Eid ul-Adha days in commemoration of this spiritual memory of Ibrahim’s obedience.


After the terrifying experience turned into a joyous one, Allah chose Ibrahim and Ismael for a special glorious mission, which is building the Kaaba. Ibrahim and Ismael started to build The Holy House of Allah in Mecca. As Quran told us:

“And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Temple, [they prayed:] “O our Sustainer! Accept Thou this from us: for, verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing! O our Sustainer! Make us surrender ourselves unto Thee, and make out of our a community that shall surrender itself unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and accept our repentance: for, verily, Thou alone art the Acceptor of Repentance, the Dispenser of Grace!”

(Surah Baqarah)

When Does Eid ul-Adha Take Place?

Eid ul-Adha occurs on the tenth day of the Muslim calendar’s final month; Dhul Hijjah. The Muslim calendar is lunar in nature, hence the months are determined by the moon’s phases. This means it’s 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.


As a result, Eid al-Adha is celebrated on a different day each year. Eid ul-Adha in 2021 begins on the evening of Monday, July 19, and ends on Friday, July 23. The first day of Eid ul-Adha also marks the climax of Hajj, the major pilgrimage in Mina. Depending on where you live, Eid ul-Adha celebrations might last anywhere from two to four days.

Muslims’ Celebration Of Eid ul-Adha

Muslims give great significance to Eid celebrations. It’s Sunnah to show joy during Eid days and celebrate it with our loved ones. 


Aside from the traditions of wearing new clothing, heading to Salat ul-Eid (Eid prayers), visiting relatives and friends with presents, and giving money to children (Eidiyya), households that can afford it, perform Udhaia or Qurbani. 

Eid Prayers

The Eid prayers are one of the Eid ul-Adha rituals. These prayers are held in the nearby mosque on the first morning of Eid. Eid prayers should be performed 15 minutes after sunrise and continue till 10 to 15 minutes before midday (Dhuhr). 


Before performing Salat, you must make Niyyah or (intention) that it’s not said out loud, then you start the prayers with Imam. Eid prayer consists of two rakaahs plus takbeers. Takbeerat Al-ihram (Allahu Akbar) is the first takbeer, followed by six more takbeers in the first rakah.


For the second rakaah, five takbeers will be announced, and you will repeat the imam’s call and action. Between takbeers, you must say “Subhanallah, walhamdulillah, wala ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar.”


You must raise your hands and silently recite “subhanallah, walhamdulillah, wala ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar” after each takbeer from the Imam. Then you quietly listen to the Imam recite Fatiha and another short Surah from the Quran.


After bowing and kneeling and reciting Tashahhud, you should follow Imam as he closes the prayer by repeating “Assalamu Alaikum” twice, like in daily prayers.

The Sacrifice: Udhaia

The act of slaughtering an animal as a sacrifice to commemorate this anniversary in honor of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice for Allah is known as Udhaia. “Udhaia” is the Arabic translation of “the sacrifice”.


The sacrificial animal might be a lamb, goat, sheep, bull, camel, or cow. The difference is that a sheep, lamb, or goat has one Udhaia share, whereas a bull, cow, or camel, being bigger, has seven shares instead. This simply means that you and the other six individuals can buy one Udhaia for all of you.


Choosing Udhaia has certain rules that must apply or it won’t count. When selecting an animal to sacrifice, ensure that it is in excellent health and of a certain age in order to be murdered in a “halal” Islamic manner.  That means it does not frighten or torment the animal.


It should be noted that not all Muslims sacrifice an animal. Some Muslims purchase special meat from stores and donate it instead, or they donate money to charities that provide special meat to others.


The Udhaia meat can then be divided into three equal portions:

  1. one-third going to you and your family
  2. Another one-third going to friends
  3. The last one-third going to the needy


Related Questions

What are The Eid Takbeers?

Eid Takbeers (or Takbeerat ul-Eid) is an Islamic recitation announced from mosques on the night of Eid.  Particularly after Ishaa prayers. It takes the form of “Allahu Akbar [3 times], la illaha illa Allah”. Takbeers are known as a way of spreading Eid vibes among Muslim neighborhoods.

Did Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Celebrate Eids?

Yes, the prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) used to celebrate Eids. He encouraged all Muslims to enjoy Eids and spread joy among each other. In Eid ul-Adha, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to encourage his companions to eat meat from the very sacrifice they made. After giving away the poor share, of course.