Eid Al Adha – Origin and Traditions

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Eid Al Adha, which is also known as Feast of the Sacrifice or Greater Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world. It celebrates the obedience of prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) to Allah and his willingness to sacrifice his son to honor him. 

The story goes that Ibrahim, an ordinary believer, had a dream in which Allah wanted him to sacrifice his most beloved thing. So, on the next day, Ibrahim slaughtered one of his best animals. But, the very next night he had the same dream, and the story repeated itself (he again slaughtered an animal). However, he had the same dream on the next night and he realized that he had to sacrifice something more precious to him than his cattle – his son Isma’il.

So, he told his son Isma’il that he was taking him to a feast and set off for the sacrifice. On their way the Satan appeared before his son Isma’il and told him about the real intentions of his father. However, the son did not falter and, ready to accept his faith, cursed Satan. In the end, as the sacrifice was about to be performed Allah sent an animal to be slaughtered, instead of the boy.

Nowadays, the holiday reminds everyone of the mercy of Allah. People celebrate the readiness of Ibrahim to sacrifice what was dearest to him by slaughtering an animal, usually a sheep, camel, or a goat. The tradition dictates that, when the sacrifice is performed, 1/3 of the meat is given to the needy people, 1/3 goes to neighbors and friends, and 1/3 stays for the family. In this way, all believers are reminded that they should share what they have with those that are less fortunate than them.

Eid Al Adha is usually celebrated on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. This holiday is not only about the act of sacrifice, but also about appreciating the benefits bestowed upon mankind by Allah.

Shopping and spending is not originally mentioned or encouraged by any religion, but Muslims from around the world tend to spend more for food, new clothes and home decorations during the celebrations of Eid Al Adha.

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