For many Muslims, the dates of Eid are second knowledge but for a revert, they might still be confused about how many Eids are in Islam. In the Islamic calendar, we have two special dates of festivities we can enjoy; they are known as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha and they were designated by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself.
Although both festivals are known as the short term ‘Eid’ they are quite different in how they are celebrated and the months they follow.
Following the month of Ramadan, the holy ninth month of the Islamic year and a time of great reward, is the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr; a three-day festival that sees loved ones and friends coming together.
Ramadan is a blessed time for fasting and abstaining of temptations to reconnect you with Allah (SWT) and a shared activity that unites you with your Muslim brothers and sisters across the world. The month of Ramadan is a time to purify not only the body, but also the mind and soul, by avoiding all sinful acts between sunrise and sunset.
It is during Ramadan that many Muslims choose to make their Zakat donation and make further contributions to help those in need, as the blessings and rewards are said to be multiplied throughout Ramadan, especially for charitable gestures and acts of kindness.
Eid-ul-Fitr, also known as the Lesser Eid, is the first day after the month of Ramadan for which you are not permitted to fast and, instead, should come together with friends and family to celebrate your month of sacrifice and spend time with your community. Eid-ul-Fitr is a time for great feasts, sweet treats and Eid gifts shared between elders to their children. It is also tradition on Eid-ul-Fitr to rise in the morning and dress in your best clothes before attending the local mosque to make Eid Prayer.
Prior to making Eid prayer, it is time to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr, a donation made by every able Muslim that helps provide staple foods to allow those living in poverty to enjoy the festival of Eid as well.
Eid-ul-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid, is the festival that follows Hajj, the annual pilgrimage, and the fifth pillar of Islam. Hajj is an obligatory act that all able-bodied Muslims must take part in at least once during their life and falls in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, known as Dhul Hijjah. Eid-ul-Adha doesn’t have a direct link to Hajj but simply falls after the time of the annual pilgrimage.
The festival of Eid-ul-Adha is considered the holier of the two Eids and is celebrated in memory of the sacrifice that the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was willing to make for the sake of Allah (SWT). Following a dream in which Allah (SWT) came to Ibrahim (AS) and commanded him to sacrifice what he treasured most. Ibrahim (AS) realising it was his son Ismail, took him to be sacrificed in the name of Allah (SWT). At the last moment, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram in recognition of Ibrahim’s (AS) loyalty and devotion. Today, we continue to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha and make our own sacrifices to prove our own dedication to Allah (SWT) and in remembrance of Ibrahim (AS).
Eid-ul-Adha is also called the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’ and a key part of celebrating this Eid is the act of Qurbani (sacrifice) that every able Muslim must take part in. Qurbani is the ritual of sacrificing a Qurbani animal, often a cow, sheep, goat, bull or camel, and sharing the meat into three portions. These three portions are distributed between the individual making the sacrifice, a friend or family member and the final portion is given to those in need who cannot afford to make their own sacrifice or feed themselves.
Many Muslims who live in the UK, Europe and other countries that do not allow unqualified individuals to carry out animal slaughter choose to donate their Qurbani through Muslim Aid. Our teams ensure the animals are sacrificed according to Qurbani rules and meet the Qurbani guidelines in health and quality and are all sourced from local farmers to support the local economy. We work in some of the poorest countries in the world, delivering Qurbani food packs to those in the greatest need.
Yes, both the festivals and the question of how many Eids are there is answered in the Qur’an by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is reported;
“The Messenger of Allah PBUH arrived in Medina during two days in which they were celebrating. The Prophet said, “What are these two days?” They said, “We would celebrate these two days in the time of ignorance.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah has replaced these two days with two better days: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.”
In the Islamic calendar, the date Eid-ul-Fitr falls on is always the first day of the month of Shawwal, following the 30 days of Ramadan. As the Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle, the date of Eid-ul-Fitr in the Gregorian calendar changes by approximately 10 days every year.
Eid-ul-Fitr 2020 started in the evening of Saturday 23rd May and ended in the evening of Sunday 24th May. Next year’s Eid-ul-Fitr 2021 is anticipated to fall on Wednesday 12th May and end in the evening of Thursday 13th May. However, all dates are subject to the sighting of the moon and you should always check with your local mosque or Imam for confirmed dates nearer the time.
Following the Islamic calendar, Eid-ul-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu-al-Hijjah but, like Eid-ul-Fitr, has no fixed date in the Gregorian calendar. Eid-ul-Adha 2020 fell on the evening of Thursday 30th July and ended on Monday 3rd August and next year, Eid-ul-Adha 2021 is expected to start in the evening of Monday 19th July and end on Friday 23rd July in the evening.
To help our brothers and sisters across the world, Muslim Aid will accept your Zakat-ul-Fitr donation and ensure that is distributed to those most in need in the countries worst affected by poverty and conflict. Your continued donations enable us to bring hope and support to communities often left behind and ensure everyone across the world can enjoy Eid-ul-Fitr together.
From all of us here at Muslim Aid, we wish you a blessed Eid!