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Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha – What is the Difference?

Eid is an important word in Islam, hence why it comes up more than once throughout the year. The word 'Eid' in Arabic translates as 'Festival' or 'Celebration' and Allah (SWT) wants nothing more than for His people to be joyously rejoicing in celebration.

Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha fall at two very different yet very important times within the Islamic lunar calendar. Although there are many similarities between the two sets of festivities in terms of the acts to be carried out and the rituals that must be performed, the two occasions are focused on very different aspects of Islam.

When is Eid?

The question of ‘When is Eid?’ is almost always followed by another question - 'which one?'

In the Islamic calendar, Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two festivals of Eid, falling at the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, the time that is often the culmination of our Zakat charitable giving, a time of focused and careful prayer, and the season of month-long fasting during daylight hours. The actual festivities happen on the first day of the month of Shawwal, and in the western Gregorian calendar, Eid ul-Fitr 2019 falls on 4th June.

Eid ul-Adha comes later, specifically on the tenth day of the twelfth and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Dhul Hijjah. Eid ul-Adha 2019 is expected to fall on the 11th of August.

What is Eid ul-Fitr?

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and traditionally lasts for approximately three days. A typical routine of a day that comes within that special time involves the following:

  • Waking up early and greeting the family
  • Performing Salah (prayers)
  • Performing ghusl (ablution)
  • Preparing clothes (often new attire) and getting ready for the day ahead
  • Sitting down for breakfast with family and friends
  • Ensuring Zakat-ul-Fitr is paid prior to Eid Salah
  • Performing Eid Salah in congregation
  • Greeting all fellow Muslims and wishing them a blessed Eid
  • Visiting family and friends and celebrating

The festivities are characterised by thanking Allah (SWT) for his help and blessings through the successful completion of the month, or if a Muslim has not completed the fasting successfully, his mercies in providing Fidya and Kaffarah.

What is Eid ul-Adha?

The celebration of Eid ul-Adha comes at the end of the time linked to the annual pilgrimage of the Hajj. The purpose of these festivities is to celebrate, remember, and venerate the devotion and submission of the Prophet Ibrahim to Allah (SWT). This comes in the form of Qurbani, the sacrifice of an animal in the name of Allah (SWT). This sacrifice is conducted immediately following Eid Salah.

Although many of the activities listed above will also happen during Eid ul-Adha, there are some key and important differences. Most notable of all is the act of Qurbani.

What Links Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr?

Aside from both being important festivals, the two Eids, and the reasons why Eid is celebrated, are all linked by the importance of charity.

Eid ul-Fitr falls at the end of Ramadan, which is itself the time of Zakat-ul-Fitr, the giving of necessary food to the less fortunate, and additionally, many Muslims chose to give their Zakat during Ramadan.

Eid ul-Adha is the time for Qurbani, and Muslims in many more prosperous parts of the world choose to give their Qurbani in the form of a financial donation. This is used to pay for the provision of a sacrificial animal in a more poverty-stricken part of the world, allowing all in the Ummah to take part in this important celebration.

The spirit of charity is crucial to Islam. It is a key expression of Allah's (SWT) love for us and we are privileged to be able to celebrate with our brothers and sisters around the world.

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