December 10, 2008

Eid al-Adha

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Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى ‘Īd ul-’Aḍḥā) or the Festival of Sacrifice is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims (including Druze) worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey God and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God intervened and instead provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice an animal (usually a goat or a sheep), as a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to God. The meat is then shared out with family, friends (Muslims or non-Muslims), as well as the poor members of the community.

Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. (Muslims in Iran celebrate a third, non-denominational Eid.) Like Eid el-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon (khuṭba).

Eid al-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.

Other names

Eid-al-Adha has other popular names across the Muslim world. The name is often simply translated into the local language, such as English Festival of Sacrifice, German Opferfest, and Dutch Offerfeest.

The Arabic term for "Festival of Sacrifice", ‘Īd ul-’Aḍḥā (عيد الأضحى), was borrowed as a unit into Indic languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Bengali, and Austronesian languages such as Malay (Aidil Adha) and Indonesian (Idul Adha). In both Farsi and Dari Persian, "Festival of Sacrifice" is translated as Eyde Ghorbân (عید قربان), a name which was later borrowed into Kazakh (Qurban Ait), Uyghur (Qurban Heyit), and various North Indian languages. The Persian word for "sacrifice" (قربان ghorbân or qurbân) was later borrowed into several languages, including Kurdish (Jejhni Qurban), Pashto (Kurbaneyy Akhtar), Chinese (古尔邦节 Gúěrbāng Jié), Malay and Indonesian (Hari Raya Korban, Qurbani), and Turkish (Kurban Bayramı). The Turkish term was then later borrowed into languages such as Azeri (Qurban Bayramı), Tatar (Qorban Bäyräme), Albanian, and several Slavic languages (Kurban Bajram/Курбан бајрам/Курбан байрам).

Another Arabic name, ‘Īd ul-Kabīr, meaning "Greater Eid/Festival", is used in Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. Translations of "Big Eid" or "Greater Eid" is used in Pashto لوی اختر Loy Akhtar, Kashmiri Baed Eid, Hindi and Urdu Baṛā Īd, Malayalam Waliya Perunnal, and Tamil Peru Nāl.

Another name refers to the fact that the holiday occurs after the culmination of the Hajj (حج), or pilgrimage to Makkah. Such names are used in Malay and Indonesian (Hari Raya Haji "Hajj celebration day", Lebaran Haji), and in Tamil Hajji Peru Nāl.

In Hindi- and Urdu-speaking areas, the festival is also called بقرعید Baqra Īd or Baqrī Īd, meaning "Goat Eid", as goats are the traditional sacrifice in those regions. That term was also borrowed into other languages, such as Tamil Bakr Eid Peru Nāl.

Other local names include 宰牲节 Zǎishēng Jié ("Slaughter-livestock Day") in Chinese, Tfaska Tamoqqart in the Berber language of Jerba, Tabaski or Tobaski in West African languages , Babbar Sallah in Nigerian languages, and Ciidwayneey in Somali.

History

Four thousand years ago the valley of Mecca was a dry and uninhabited place. Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was instructed to bring his wife's servant, Hagar (Hajira) and their child Ismael to Arabia from Palestine by Allah's command, as his first wife Sarah started to get jealous after Hagar got her baby.

With some supplies of food and water he left them without wanting, his wife Hagar asked him: "Who ordered you to leave us here", Ibrahim replied :"Allah", she said: "than Allah will not forget us, you can go". However the supplies quickly ran out and within a few days Hagar and Ismael were suffering from hunger and dehydration.

In her desperation Hagar ran up and down two hills called Safa and Marwa trying to see if she could spot any help in the distance. Finally she collapsed beside her baby Ismael and prayed to Allah for deliverance.

Ismael struck his foot on the ground and this caused a spring of water to gush forth from the earth. Hagar and Ismael were saved. Now they had a secure water supply they were able to trade water with passing nomads for food and supplies.

After a while the Prophet Ibrahim returned from Palestine to check on his family and he was amazed to see them running a profitable well.

The Prophet Ibrahim was told by Allah to build a shrine dedicated to him. Ibrahim and Ismael constructed a small stone structure – the Kaaba - which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in Allah.

As the years passed Ismael was blessed with Prophethood and he gave the nomads of the desert the message of surrender to Allah.

After many centuries, Mecca became a thriving city thanks to its reliable water source, the well of Zam Zam.

In the year 628 the Prophet Muhammad set out on a journey with 1400 of his followers. This was the first pilgrimage in Islam, and would re-establish the religious traditions of the Prophet Ibrahim.

Traditions and practices

Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer (Salatu'l-`id) in any mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) sacrifice. The sacrificed animals, called "udhiya" Arabic: أضحية" also known as "qurbani", have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. Generally, these must be at least a year old. At the time of sacrifice, Allah's name is recited along with the offering statement and a supplication as Muhammad said. According to the Quran[citation needed], the meat is divided into three shares, one share for the poor, one share for the relatives and neighbors, and the last to keep to oneself. A large portion of the meat must be given towards the poor and hungry people so they can all join in the feast which is held on Eid-al-Adha. The remainder is cooked for the family celebration meal in which relatives and friends are invited to share. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished person is left without sacrificial food during these days. Eid al-Adha is a concrete affirmation of what the Muslim community ethic means in practice. People in these days are expected to visit their relatives, starting with their parents, then their families and friends. (Arabic audio with English meaning).

In the name of God بسم الله
And God is the greatest والله أكبر
O God, indeed this is from you and for you اللهم إن هذا منك ولك
O God accept from me اللهم تقبل مني

Distributing meat among people is considered an essential part of the festival during this period, as well as chanting Takbir out loud before the Eid prayer on the first day and after prayers through out the four days of Eid. (See Takbir in "Traditions and practices" of Eid el-Fitr.) In some countries families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need.

The Republic of Turkey modified Kurban regulations. Turkish law prohibited the locations of the sacrifice from public space and most sacrifices are now at secluded areas or indoors, so that they will not offend the sensitivity of many people and will not be viewed by children.

Eid al-Adha in the Gregorian calendar

While Eid al-Adha is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. The Lunar calendar is approximately eleven days shorter than the Solar calendar.[3] Each year, Eid al-Adha (like other Islamic holidays) falls on one of two different Gregorian dates in different parts of the world, due to the fact that the boundary of crescent visibility is different from the International date line.

The following list shows the official dates of Eid al-Adha for Saudi Arabia as announced by the Supreme Judicial Council. Future dates are calculated according to the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia. The three days after the listed date are also part of the festival. The time before the listed date the pilgrims visit the Mount Arafat and descend from it after sunrise of the listed day. Future dates of Eid al-Adha might face correction 10 days before the festivity, in case of deviant lunar sighting in Saudi Arabia for the start of the month Dhul Hijja.


Source: Wikipedia

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