Muslims celebrate not just one Eid during an Islamic year, but two – one of which comes after the auspicious month of Ramadan (Eid ul-Fitr – small Eid) and the second during Qurbani (Eid ul-Adha – big Eid). The second of these two Eid's represents the most sacred time of the year for Muslims as it marks the Hajj pilgrimage.
Hajj is a religious duty that should be carried out by all able-Muslims at least once during their lifetime. Millions of Muslims travel to Mecca every year for Hajj, retracing the steps of Ibrahim (AS) as he left his wife, Hajra, and his son, Ismail, in the desert of ancient Mecca by the command of Allah (SWT). The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) later established Hajj as an annual pilgrimage.
The Hajj pilgrimage is regarded as an honour for Muslims, with all those who complete it allowed to adopt the title of Hajji (men) or Hajjah (women) for life. Those who feature such titles in Islamic culture are thought to hold more wisdom, thus earning greater respect from their peers.
The first pilgrimage, called Hijrah, was the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) migration from Mecca to Medina, then called Yathrib, and this is when the tradition as we know it today came into fruition. Hajj, which takes places over three days, runs into Eid ul-Adha (Qurbani) and, thus, Muslims on the pilgrimage carry out the traditional sacrifice of livestock as per the Qur’an’s ruling.
Eid ul-Adha, or Qurbani Eid, begins on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah as per the Islamic calendar and Muslims prepare for festivities by performing Wudhu, Fajr prayers and taking extra care of their personal appearance (such as cleanliness and buying/wearing new clothes).
Traditionally, Eid prayers are offered as part of a large congregational gathering. Prayers include two Rakats with six additional Takbeers. The prayer is then followed by a sermon, known as a Khutba, which lasts for between 15 and 20 minutes in length.
Once the Eid prayers and sermon are over, the Qurbani sacrifice may begin and the meat of the sacrificed animal is shared three ways (one for the person making the sacrifice, another for friends and family and one for the poor and needy). Following this, Muslims come together to celebrate the festival of the sacrifice, which sees the exchanging of gifts and greetings.
Everyone at Muslim Aid wishes you a blessed Eid, and that Allah (SWT) is receptive to the Hajj pilgrimage that will be offered by those taking part this year. If you will not be completing the Hajj pilgrimage this year, you can still offer your thanks, earning rewards by donating to Muslim Aid today.
Please your Qurbani with Muslim Aid today and we will ensure that the sacrifice and distribution of meat will be carried out following Islamic law. Through this, families in need will receive fresh cuts of meat that they can use to cook a nutritious meal.