THE FEAST OF SACRIFICE IN ISLAM
Eid-Ul-Adha (a.k.a. the Feast of Sacrifice or Day of Sacrifice) is observed after the Hajj -- the annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia.
A duty of each Muslim, as described in the Five Pillars of Islam, is to go on Hajj at least once once during their lifetime, unless they are prevented by finances or ill health. "The Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of prophet Abraham and his family...The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colors, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together." 1
It is the second of the two major Muslim holy days. The other is Eid-ul-Fitr which follows Ramadan -- a lunar month of partial fasting.
When is it celebrated?
Eid-Ul-Adha is observed after the conclusion of the Hajj. The first day of this celebration is held on the 10th day of Duhl-Hijja, which is the last month of the Muslim year. In most areas, the Feast of Sacrifice is celebrated over several days. 2
Islamic months begin at sunset on the day when the lunar crescent appears after the new moon, and can be sighted by the unaided eye . "Visibility depends on a large number of factors including weather condition, the altitude of the moon at sunset, the closeness of the moon to the sun at sunset, the interval between sunset and moonset, atmospheric pollution, the quality of the eyesight of the observer, use of optical aids etc." 3 As a result, although the phases of the moon can be predicted accurately, the moon's visibility at a given place on Earth cannot be estimated in advance. Thus, the feast day has always been celebrated on different days in various areas of the world.
Because the date of the Feast of Sacrifice is determined by a lunar calendar, it is observed about 11 days earlier each year. According to the Gregorian calendar:
According to the website TheEid.com:
Muslims around the world celebrate
Some of the meat is given to the poor -- often one third. The rest is shared among the family, relatives and friends.
In addition, Eid-Ul-Adha is a time when Muslims pray for forgiveness from God and strength of faith. They, in turn, forgive others, releasing any feelings of enmity or ill feeling towards others. 2 Many Muslims exchange greeting cards at this time. 6
Misunderstanding by the media:
In 2003-FEB, a rumor spread that there would be a terrorist attack on the U.S. on Eid-Ul-Adha. Some news services garbled the story and described the Day of Sacrifice as a time when passions and the potential for violence were at their height throughout the Muslim community. In fact, it is a time when Muslims concentrate on spiritual matters and their forgiveness of those who have wronged them. To claim that many Muslims will resort to violence on this day would be analogous to claiming that many Christians will become violent at Christmas time, or Easter.
Copyright © 2003 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious