It honors the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ishmael (Ismail)a as an act of submission to God's command, before God then intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. In the lunar-based Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days. In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.
It takes place at the end of the Hajj. It is also known as 'Id al-Qurban or al-'Id al-Kabir (Major Festival).
Eid al-Adha is the latter of the two Eid holidays, the former being Eid al-Fitr. The basis for the Eid al-Adha comes from the 196th ayah (verse) of Al-Baqara, the second sura of the Quran. The word "Eid" appears once in Al-Ma'ida, the fifth sura of the Quran, with the meaning "solemn festival".
Eid ul Adha is a public holiday in Muslim countries.
Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a Sunnah prayer of two rakats followed by a sermon (khutbah). Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the descent of the Hajji from Mount Arafat, a hill east of Mecca. Ritual observance of the holiday lasts until sunset of the 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. Eid sacrifice may take place until sunset on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. The days of Eid have been singled out in the Hadith as "days of remembrance". The days of Tashriq are from the Fajr prayer of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah up to the Asr prayer of the 13th of Dhul Hijjah (5 days and 4 nights). This equals 23 prayers: 5 on the 9th–12th, which equals 20, and 3 on the 13th.
Today Muslims all over the world who can afford it , sacrifice a sheep (sometimes a goat) as a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to Allah. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.
The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes the willingness to give up things that are of benefit or close to their hearts, in order to follow Allah's commands.
Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents.
At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.
The Hajj is pilgrimage to Makkah. It is the Fifth Pillar of Islam and therefore a very important part of the Islamic faith. All physically fit Muslims who can afford it should make the visit to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lives. Every year around 2 million Muslims from all over the world converge on Makkah.
They stand before the Kaaba, a shrine built by Ibrahim praising Allah together.
The Hajjis or pilgrims wear simple white clothes called Ihram which promote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah. During the Hajj the Pilgrims perform acts of worship and they renew their faith and sense of purpose in the world.