• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Eid el-Kabir: What is expected of Muslims, animals lawful for sacrifice and everything to know about the festival


Eid el-Kabir, also known as Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice, is one of the most significant festivals in the Islamic calendar.

It commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

Eid el-Kabir falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and coincides with the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The festival honours Ibrahim’s devotion and God’s mercy, as God provided a ram to sacrifice instead of his son. It symbolises faith, obedience, and the spirit of sacrifice.

Muslims around the world engage in several practices to observe Eid el-Kabir. Here are the key activities:

1. Performing the Eid prayer (Salat al-Eid): The day begins with a special prayer held in congregational settings, such as mosques or open fields. The Eid prayer consists of two units (rakats) and is followed by a sermon (khutbah).

2. Dressing in best attire: Muslims are encouraged to wear their finest clothes, often new or specially chosen for the occasion, as a symbol of purity and celebration.

3. Offering sacrifice: The central ritual of Eid el-Kabir is the sacrifice of an animal. This act commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son and is carried out to seek God’s pleasure and blessings.

The purpose of sacrifice is not fulfilled only by shedding the blood of an animal, but it is fulfilled when a man submits himself completely to the command of Allah.

This has been laid down in Quran 22, verse 37; “Not their flesh, nor their blood reaches Allah, but it is the piety from you that reaches Him.”

This verse eloquently speaks of the fact that sacrifice in Islam is nothing else than a natural expression of homage and gratitude to the Creator

4. Distributing meat: The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts: one-third for the family, one-third for friends and relatives, and one-third for the needy and poor. This distribution fosters a sense of community and charity.

5. Feasting and socialising: Families and friends gather to enjoy festive meals, sharing the sacrificial meat. It is a time for socialising, bonding, and strengthening community ties.

6. Giving to charity: Muslims are encouraged to engage in acts of charity, such as giving money or food to the less privileged, ensuring that everyone can partake in the festive spirit.

7. Lawful animals for sacrifices

Islamic law stipulates certain criteria for the animals that can be sacrificed. The animals must be healthy and free from defects. The permissible animals include:

8. Sheep and goats: They must be at least one year old. A single sheep or goat suffices for one person.

9. Cattle (Cows): These animals must be at least two years old. One cow can suffice for up to seven people if they share the cost.

10. Camels: They must be at least five years old. One camel can suffice for up to seven people, similar to cattle.

The sacrifice must be performed by a sane adult Muslim, and the animal should be treated humanely, ensuring it is well-fed and watered before the sacrifice.

The act of sacrifice itself should be done swiftly and with minimal suffering to the animal, following the prescribed Islamic method (halal slaughter).

Before performing the sacrifice, the person must have a sincere intention to seek God’s pleasure and fulfil the religious obligation.

The sacrifice should be performed after the Eid prayer and can be carried out during the three days of Eid (the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah).

During the sacrifice, it is customary to recite specific supplications and the name of God, acknowledging His greatness and mercy.

Ensuring cleanliness during the preparation and distribution of the meat is crucial. The sacrificial act should be conducted in a hygienic environment.