Welcoming Eid al-Adha
Muslims around the world will be celebrating Eid al-Adha – one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar – on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The holiday, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, or the Greater Eid, is distinct from Eid-al-Fitr, which was celebrated in July.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of the Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. In the U.S., it is expected to start on Tuesday, September 12 and go through Wednesday, September 13.
The Greater Eid “commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Allah – and Allah’s mercy in putting a lamb in Ishmael’s place at the last moment.” It is believed that Ibrahim passed God’s test of faith in this moment.
Eid al-Adha is also celebrated as the end of Hajj, which is an annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and a mandatory journey for all Muslims. According to the five pillars of Islam, all adult Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the pilgrimage must do so at least once in their lifetime.
Over the course of six days, millions of Muslims from around the world fly to Saudi Arabia to take part in Hajj. Pilgrims perform a series of rituals, which they believe date back to the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.
Included in Hajj is a walk around the Ka’aba, running between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drinking from the Zamzam Well, standing vigil in Mount Arafat, spending a night in Muzdalifa, and throwing stones at three pillars symbolizing the devil.
Muslims everywhere will celebrate the holiday by sacrificing a goat, lamb, ram, or cow. The meat from the sacrifice is retained in three parts: one third goes to the family; the second third goes to friends, relatives, and neighbors; and the last third goes to the poor and needy.
In America, Muslims dress up in nice clothes, gather at their local mosques for a large feast with family and friends, and exchange gifts. Most of all, charity and communal prayer mark this holiest of Muslim holidays.
Arab America wishes Muslims everywhere a happy and healthy Eid al-Adha!
Compiled by Arab America