Muslims around the world celebrate 2 occasions of ‘Eid’ (a joyous day) . One at the end of Ramadan after 29/30 days of Fasting called Eid Al-Fitr and the other one on the 10th day of the 12 month of the Islamic Lunar calendar called Eid Al-Adha, which marks the day of sacrifice of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Makkah. This year Eid Al-Adha falls on Friday, the 31st of July 2020.
If they can afford, All adult Muslims are required to do a pilgrimage once in their lifetime to Makkah in Zilhaj, or the 12 month of the Islamic Lunar calendar. They are required to be in Makkah from 7th to 12th Zilhaj and after visiting Kaaba, Arafaat, Muzdalifa and Mina sacrifice an animal, three days stay to end the Pilgrimage and celebrate Eid. The Holy Quran makes the Haj mandatory in the following verse: In it are clear signs, the standing place of Ibrahim, and whoever enters it shall be secure, and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon muslims for the sake of Allah, (upon) every one who is able to undertake the journey to it (3:27). All pilgrims who come from all parts of the world wear the same clothes, perform the same actions, refrain from the forbidden acts and pray in unity. One of the acts during Pilgrimage is a reminder of the intense love mothers have for their children. As Prophet Ibrahim’s wife Bibi Hajra ran back and forth to get water for her son, all Muslims do the same every year
The history of this Eid is fascinating and is a reminder of the importance of Sacrifice. Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismail (peace be upon him) which was supposed to be a test. Prophet Ibrahim asked his son and he replied: ” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.” (Quran 27:102). Prophet Ibrahim went on to sacrifice him in the name of God and at the last moment Prophet Ismail was replaced with a lamb which was then sacrificed. This happened on the 10th day.
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah is a reminder to all Muslim that they are all united under the command of one Lord regardless of their color, financial position, background, culture or country. The annual sacrifice, which Muslims do whether they are in Makkah or their own cities, is a reminder of few things. A reminder about respecting parents. A reminder to submit their will to the will of God. A reminder that even your closest, most loved can be sacrificed in the name of God. A reminder to be steadfast in the religion of Islam. A reminder to not let the evil powers overcome your heart and mind and move you away from doing good.
As you can imagine if millions of Muslims sacrifice all these goats, there must be a lot of meat!. In Makkah the government has arrangements to freeze and to pack the meat and distribute to poor countries. In other cities meat is divided into 3 parts. One for poor neighbours, one for relatives and one for yourself. As the laws of UK don’t allow animal sacrifices, Muslims here arrange the sacrifices through slaughter houses & charities in different parts of the world.
This year Eid Al-Adha will be different, like Eid Al-Fitr, however the spirit and message remain the same. Limited prayers will be held in mosques according to the social distancing guidelines but broadcasted online for the congregations to pray and remember the sacrifices and abiding of religion together. At homes, Muslims will be celebrating with close family members only praying together and cherishing the love between them. For the rest of the people, following the belief they will be offering whatever they have to anyone who needs it