When he was old enough to assist in his endeavour, he said, ‘My son! I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. See what you think.’ He said, ‘Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient.’ O So when they had both submitted [to Allah’s will], and he had laid him down on his forehead, O We called out to him, ‘O Abraham! O You have indeed fulfilled the vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous!
(Quran Surah Al-Saffat Ayah 102-105)
On the 10th of Dhul Hijja which is the 12th and the final month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha which also marks the end of the sacred pilgrimage, hajj that millions of Muslims from around the world make to Mecca. There are two important celebrations that are rewarded to Muslims in Islam along with others; these are known as Eid al-Fitr and the aforementioned Eid al-Adha. There is however some difference in the level of excitement and celebration that Muslims feel regarding these two Eids. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated with much more energy, and joy as compared to Eid al-Adha simply due to the fact that, the holy month of Ramadan, in which Muslims worship extensively and do good deeds precedes Eid al-Fitr, and people tend to have a sense of being rewarded on the day of Eid al-Fitr for all that they have practiced patiently in the blessed month. However it can often be seen that Muslims lack similar excitement for Eid al-Adha. This is not to say that Muslims do not celebrate this holiest of days with considerable fervour, rather it is meant to address that there is a significant lack of knowledge regarding the importance of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has encouraged the Muslims to increase in their worship and good deeds in these 10 days on multiple occasions.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” They said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Bukhari)
As it is quite evident from this blessed saying of the Prophet (SAW), the worship and good done in these 10 days is superior to all the worship and good deeds done in any other days of the year. Muslims are encouraged to increase in their remembrance of Allah (SWT) and to seek His great favour extensively in these days so that they may acquire the greatest rewards as they are able and celebrate Eid al-Adha with greater excitement and with a sense of it being a reward.
Honouring thesacrifice of Ibrahim (AS):
The main aspect of Eid al-Adha is the sacrificing of an animal in the name of Allah (SWT). In Islam, all Muslims that are able to afford an animal are commanded to sacrifice in the remembrance and honour of the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). On the command of Allah (SWT), Prophet Ibrahim (AS) sacrificed his own son Prophet Ismail (AS). Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was an old man when Allah (SWT) blessed him with a son and there was great love between the father and child. When Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was about to slit the throat of Prophet Ismail (AS), Allah (SWT) replaced him with a sheep and accepted the sacrifice. The lesson to be learned from this event is that a Muslims should be willing to sacrifice even what he holds most dear to his or her heart in the way of Allah (SWT).
Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) Sunnah on Eid al-Adha:
There is no one greater to follow as an example in this world than Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He is the last messenger sent by Allah (SWT) and to him was sent the last scripture, the holy Quran. Whenever Muslims are in need of guidance, they need only turn to the book of Allah (SWT) and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). In the case of Eid al-Adha along with everything else for that matter, it is encouraged to follow the example of Prophet (SAW).
1. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would perform Ghusl on the day of Eid.
2. Wearing the best clothes when going to the mosque for Eid Prayer.
3. Taking alternate routes when going to the mosque and when returning from it.
4. Offer Eid prayer in congregation and congratulating all present and those who are met on the way home.
5. Not eating anything until the animal is sacrificed and eating something from its meat.