Eid al-Adha is known by many names worldwide. It is called Eid al-Kabīr (or the greater Eid), or Eid al-Baqarah (Eid of cows) by many in the Arabic speaking world. It is referred to as the Festival of the Sacrifice in English, Opferfest in German, and Kurban Bayramı in Turkish.
No matter what language you speak, it is a time of celebration and worship for Muslims the world over. Eid al-Adha commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) willingness to sacrifice his son for the sake of Allah (swt), and Allah’s mercy on Ibrahim (as). Ibrahim (as) was commanded via a vision to sacrifice his son. The identity of the son is not mentioned in the Quran, but Muslims believe it to be Ismael. Upon interpreting and accepting the vision, Ibrahim discussed what he believed Allah (swt) had asked him to do with his son. In agreement, his son obeyed his father, and followed him to a mountain for the sacrifice. On his way up the mountain, Satan tried to convince him to disregard Allah’s command. Ibrahim threw pebbles to cast him away. This is the reason Muslim’s throw stones at the three pillars or jumarat in Mina during Hajj. When Ibrahim (as) followed Allah (swts) command and proceeded to sacrifice his son, he was surprised to find his son unharmed. Allah then revealed that this was indeed a test of submission and sacrifice. He provided Ibrahim with a ram to slaughter as a substitute for his son and as a mercy to mankind. He also forbade human sacrifices. The Eid marks the last day of Hajj each year, and is a time of festivities and gratefulness to Allah for his mercy and bounty.
On Eid, believing men and women dress in their best clothes and go to the masjid for Eid prayer. Prayer on Eid is 2 rakat, with seven takbirs in the first raka, and five takbirs in the second raka. The prayer is followed by a sermon, or khutbah. After prayer, people greet one another, visit the homes of friends and family, and give gifts.
It wouldn’t be Eid without food. People who can afford to do so slaughter an animal, usually a cow or lamb, but other animals such as goats are also used. The meat is divided into three parts. One third is kept by the person or family performing the slaughter, one third is given to the needy, and one third is given to other family members. In many parts of the world, ma’amoul cookies are made and distributed. Ma’moul cookies are shortbread cookies stuffed with dates or nuts.
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