Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Eidul Adha Al Mubaraq

On this day of Hajj which is the day of Eid-ul-Adha or the day of sacrifice, millions of Muslims around the globe, whether in Hajj or not, will be commemorating the event of the trial of Ibrahim and his son Ismail and will be offering their sacrificial animals or Udhiya and Qurbani, following the example of their forefather Ibrahim alaihi-s-salam.

This day by far is the most blessed and virtuous day of the entire year. The Messenger of Allah(pbuh) said:

(إنَّ أَعْظَمَ اْلأيَّامِ عِنْدَ الله تبارك وتعالى يَوْمُ النَّحْرِ ثُمَّ يَوْمُ الْقَرِّ)

“The best day with Allah is Yawm-un-Nahr, the day of sacrifice and then Yum-al-Qarr (the day that follows, when the pilgrims reside in the camps of Mina for worship).” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood and an-Nasa’iee)

It is considered so virtuous because of the amount and variety of acts of worship offered on that day by the millions of pilgrims and Muslims around the world.


Eidul Adha falls on the 10th day of the 12th month (Dhul Hijjah) of the Islamic calendar. This is the day when the pilgrims gather in Makkah by the millions, after having completed many of the essential rites of Hajj, out of ihram and out of the restrictions that go with ihram.

Ihram (which consists of two unstitched pieces of white cloth for men and any modest dress for women) symbolizes kafan, the white sheet in which the dead are wrapped in preparation of burial. The restrictions associated with ihram further reinforce this symbolism. When a pilgrim wears ihram on or before the 8th of Dhul Hijjah he or she symbolically passes to the OTHER SIDE (of the grave) and when on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah he or she comes out of ihram it is like a return to THIS SIDE. At this point the rest of the Ummah which had stayed behind on THIS SIDE joins the pilgrims through the festivities of `Eid Al-Adha.

Thus Eidul Adha is linked with Hajj, the "fifth pillar" of Islam just as Eidul Fitr is linked with fasting, the "fourth pillar". But unlike Eidul Fitr which marks the end of fasting, `Eidul Adha does not mark the end of Hajj, which continues until the 12th or 13th of Dhul Hijjah, two or three days after the start of `Eidul Adha. `Eidul Adha is a kind of joining in Hajj by those who could not make it to Makkah.

This "joining in" is done in two ways.

First, through Eid prayers. Just as the pilgrims have gathered in Makkah for remembering Allah in various ways, so also the rest of the Muslims gather in large numbers in their own cities and remember Allah through special prayers.

Second, through sacrificing an animal. Just as many pilgrims (i.e. those that perform Hajj at-Tamattu`, one of three types of Hajj) sacrifice an animal on 10th, 11th or 12th of Dhul Hijjah, so also the Muslims the world over perform sacrifices on one or the other of the same three days. All other rites of Hajj are bound with specific places, e.g. Tawaf with the Ka`bah and Sa`ei with the hills of Safa and Marwah. But getting together and remembering Allah through prayers and Takbirs (calling 'God is greater than anything else) and making sacrificial offerings is not so bound to any place. So the Muslims all over the world "join in" Hajj through these two types of actions.

Nahr,(sacrifice) as we all know, commemorates the exemplary manifestation of obedience and love shown to God by the prophet Ibrahim when he bowed to God's command and prepared himself to sacrifice the dearest thing he had in his life, his son Ismail. Such surrender to the will of God and love for Him is expected not just of prophets but of all believers, since all believers are expected to be "Muslims", meaning those who surrender their wills to God and all believers are expected to "love God most of all" (2:165). Nahr is meant to remind us this stage of Islam and iman (inner conviction), if not to make us strive to reach it.

Nahr also commemorates the mercy and love that God showed to Ibrahim when He stopped him before he actually sacrificed his most beloved son. This mercy and love of God for prophet Ibrahim is a manifestation of the mercy and love that He has for man generally and Nahr celebrates it.

I hope the above overview of Eidul Adha or Yawm-un-Nahr, the day of sacrife has shed some light on what is Eidul Adha. On this auspicious day, I'd like to wish my Muslim friends and relatives a happy and joyous Eidul Adha. May Allah bless us all with the best of characters in the footsteps of the prophets and grant us all understanding and wisdom of the people of the middle path, for indeed Allah forbids extremism.

I leave you with a quote:

"Modesty begins in the heart, travels through the mind, and is shown on the body. All three aspects of humility are totally necessary: sacrifice, submission, and physical modesty." - Abdel Rahman Murphy

Assalamualaikum and take care of yourselves.


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