Eid al-Adha.. Sacrifice, Rituals and Joys

Eid al-Adha is one of the two legally approved Eids in Islam. It comes in the tenth of Dhul- Hijjah every Hijri year, and is considered the day of the “greater pilgrimage” in which pilgrims perform most of the rituals. In it, Muslims in all parts of the world perform specific religious rituals, live their joys, and solidarity prevails among them.


It has other names in the popular cultures of the Arab and Islamic countries. For instance, it is called the “Great Eid” in the regions of the Maghreb and some regions of the Levant. It is also called the “Feast of the Pilgrims” in some regions of the Arabian Gulf. And there is “Feast of Qurbaan ” used among some Muslim peoples in Asia such as Turkey and Iran.

Eid in the lingual meaning is a name for everything that is familiarized, and it is called Eid (in Arabic) because it returns and is repeated every year. Although non-Muslims have many annual religious holidays, Islam has prescribed only two annual feasts for its followers. It made them one of his major rituals and related them to two great pillars of the five pillars of religion; Eid al-Fitr comes at the end of the month of fasting (Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha comes during Hajj after the great day of Arafah.


Eid al-Adha began in the second year of migration. The jurists and the reporters of al- hadith said that the first Eid prayer that the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, performed was Eid al-Fitr prayer in the second year of migration, and that the first al-Adha Eid prayer he performed was in the same year.

It was narrated that the prophet Muhammed came to Al- Madina as a migrant from Mecca and found people celebrating two Eids, then he said:

‘You had two days when you would play, but Allah (SWT) has given Muslims something instead that is better than them: the day of Al-Fitr and the day of Al-Adha.’

Muslims also reminisce in Eid al-Adha the story of the Prophet of God Abraham with his son Ismail, peace be upon them, when he saw in a dream that he was slaughtering his son, and when he go to carry out that vision, God protected Ismail and send a scapegoat to be slaughtered instead of him.

And that is the story that is summarized in the Holly Quran. Allah says:  “And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast (102).” And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, (103)” “We called to him, “O Abraham, (104) You have fulfilled the vision. Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. (105) Indeed, this was the clear trial (106). And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice,(107). (As-Sāffāt. Verses from 102 to 107)

Eid Rituals

In everywhere Muslims do spend enjoyable time in Eid al-Adha. The prayers of al-Eid are done in public squares. And the greatest Eid prayer and its sermon are in the Ka`bah in Mecca; where voices get raised with Invocation of Allah and takbeer.

In addition, Muslims get close to Allah during Eid days by slaughtering the sacrifice, wearing new smart clothes, and they finally congratulate each other.

Islam has legislated on Eid al-Adha a group of collective rituals for Muslims to perform on it wherever they are, and the most prominent of these rituals are:

1- Takbeer (Saying Allah is the Greatest)

It is prescribed to say the takbeer in homes and mosques after the prayers, in the markets, and elsewhere, from the dawn of the day of Arafah until the afternoon of the last days of Tashreeq, The three days after the Day of Sacrifice, (the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah) as Allah The Almighty says “And remember Allah during the appointed Days.”

2- Eid Prayer

Imam performs Salat al-Eid which is two rak’as, then he delivers two sermons. It is approved from Sunna to perform the prayer early when the sun elevated. Some Sunni schools of thought say that performing Eid prayer is confirmed Sunna, but others say it is obligatory either individual obligation or Collective duty. On the other hand, being presented to Eid’s Sermons is recommendable, not obligatory.

There is no adhan, the call to prayer, nor Iqama, calling for the performance of Prayers. Imam just prays two rak’as loudly saying Allah Akbar, Allah is Great, seven times in the first rak’a and five times in the second one.

It is from the Sunnah of the Prophet that the returnee from the Eid prayer place should take a different way. It is also desirable for him to wash, wear perfume, and wear the best clothes as possible.

3- The sacrifice

One of the confirmed Sunnahs on the day of Eid is the slaughtering of sacrifices and gifting them to the poor and needy. Importantly to mention that are Conditions stipulated in Islamic jurisprudence books explain their type, age, description, and validity. Moreover, the sacrifice must be from the cattle, which are camels, cows, sheep, goat, lambs. And it is proven from the Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, that he sacrificed two fat rams, with horns.

It is sufficient in the sacrifice of sheep that have completed 6 months of cows that have completed two years, and of camels that have completed 5 years, and they must also be free of defects. It is not permissible to sacrifice a one-eyed animal whose one-eyedness is clear, the sick one whose disease is evident, the lame one, and the broken one that cannot be chosen.

The sacrificial animals are not slaughtered or sacrificed until after the end of the Eid prayer, because the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, said in Hadith Sahih: “Anybody who slaughtered (his sacrifice) before the prayer should slaughter another animal in lieu of it, and the one who has not yet slaughtered should slaughter the sacrifice mentioning Allah’s name on it..” As for the pilgrims in Mina, they can slaughter after the sun has risen, because they do not have to perform the Eid prayer.

The legitimate time for slaughtering the sacrifice continues from the Day of Sacrifice (the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah) until the end of the days of al-Tashreeq, as the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, said: “All the days of al-Tashreeq are slaughtered.” And It is from Sunnah for a person to eat from his sacrifice, feed his family and relatives, and give some of it in charity to the poor and needy.

4- Joy and congratulations

It is from Sunnah to show joy and pleasure on the days of Eid and practicing types of permitted entertainment with alternatives and family.

It also includes visiting neighbors, relatives and friends, and exchanging expressions of congratulations with any well-known wording, such as “Eid Mubarak” and “May God accept from us and from you.” When the companions of the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, met on the day of Eid, they would say to each other, “May God accept from us and from you.” One of the purposes of Eid legislation is to develop feelings of brotherhood among people, reminding them of the virtues of God and His grace upon His creatures, a as result they should glorify God’s rituals, reject all forms of quarrels and grudges, bring happiness and joy to people and the family, and strength the relations with love, mercy, cooperation and solidarity among members of society.


Translated from عيد الأضحى.. فداء ومناسك وأفراح