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Eid al-Adha-History & Origin

by | Jul 6, 2022

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Eid al-Adha is an important 3-day holy festival celebrated worldwide by Muslims to honour the willingness of Hazrat Ibrāhīm (A.S) (Abraham). It is celebrated to sacrifice his first son Ismā’īl (R.A) (Ishmael) as obedience before God intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead. Eid means the solemn festival, while The Arabic word “Adha” means “sacrifice”, having its root in the word “duha”, which also means “light” or “illumination”. Eid al-Adha is the festival of sacrifice. It is also called Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival, and the Greater.


The word “Eid” appeared in Surah e Maida verse 114, meaning “solemn festival.”

قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ ٱللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَآ أَنزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَآئِدَةً مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيدًا لِّأَوَّلِنَا وَءَاخِرِنَا وَءَايَةً مِّنكَ ۖ وَٱرْزُقْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰزِقِينَ

 “Said Jesus, the son of Mary: “O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a solemn festival (Eid) and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs).”

(AlQuran 5:114)


The basis of Eid al-Adha

The basis of Eid al-Adha comes from this verse of the Holy Quran,

وَأَتِمُّوا۟ ٱلْحَجَّ وَٱلْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا ٱسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ ٱلْهَدْىِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا۟ رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ ٱلْهَدْىُ مَحِلَّهُۥ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِۦٓ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِۦ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَآ أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِٱلْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى ٱلْحَجِّ فَمَا ٱسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ ٱلْهَدْىِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَٰثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِى ٱلْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُۥ حَاضِرِى ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعِقَابِ

“And complete the Hajj and ‘umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter.

And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, whoever performs ‘umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with the ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] – then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home].

Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty.”

(AlQuran 2:196)

The history behind the great festival; Eid al-Adha

The history behind Eid al-Adha follows the story of the faithful Hazrat Ibraheem (A.S). he was instructed in a dream by Allah to raise the foundations of the holy Kaaba, a black stone, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca. Immediately responding to the Lord’s call Hazrat Ibraheem (A.S) set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael.

Hazrat Ibraheem (A.S) had to face a lot of hardships in his way. However, he supplicated Allah’s commands uncomplaining. He also saw himself sacrificing his son Ishmael for Allah’s sake in a divine dream. When he told this to Ishmael, the latter immediately asked his father to carry out Lord’s commands without faltering and assured him that he was completely ready to give up his life for God.

Abraham could not bear to watch his son die, so he covered his eyes with a blindfold. When he cut Ishmael’s throat and removed the blindfold, miraculously enough, he was astonished to see that Ishmael was unharmed. Instead, he found a dead lamb which was slaughtered, And this is what Abraham ultimately sacrificed. In remembrance of this outstanding act of sacrifice (Qurbani) by Prophet Abraham(R.A), people sacrifice a lamb, goat, ram, or another animal on Eid al-Adha and give the meat to friends, neighbours, relatives and the needy. People away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this traditional sacrifice.

This is mentioned in surah e As-saffat.

رَبِّ هَبْ لِى مِنَ ٱلصَّٰلِحِينَ

“O, my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!” 

فَبَشَّرْنَٰهُ بِغُلَٰمٍ حَلِيمٍ

So We gave him the good news of a boy possessing forbearance. 

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعْىَ قَالَ يَٰبُنَىَّ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ فِى ٱلْمَنَامِ أَنِّىٓ أَذْبَحُكَ فَٱنظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَٰٓأَبَتِ ٱفْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِىٓ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ

And when (his son) was old enough to walk and work with him, (Abraham) said: O my dear son, I see in vision that I offer you in sacrifice: Now see what your view is!” (The son) said: “O, my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah wills, you will find me one practising patience and steadfastness!” 

فَلَمَّآ أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُۥ لِلْجَبِينِ

So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead, 

وَنَٰدَيْنَٰهُ أَن يَٰٓإِبْرَٰهِيمُ

We called out to him, saying: O Ibrahim! 

قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ ٱلرُّءْيَآ ۚ إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِى ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ

You have fulfilled the vision; surely thus do We reward those who do good. 

إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلْبَلَٰٓؤُا۟ ٱلْمُبِينُ

Most surely, this was a manifest trial. 

وَفَدَيْنَٰهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ

And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.

وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِى ٱلْءَاخِرِينَ

And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations.

سَلَٰمٌ عَلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ

“Peace and salutation to Abraham!” 

كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِى ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ

Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. 

إِنَّهُۥ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Surely he was one of Our believing servants.

(AlQuran 37:100–111)

As a reward for this sacrifice, God then granted Abraham the good news of the birth of his second son, Ishaaq (Isaac)

وَبَشَّرْنَٰهُ بِإِسْحَٰقَ نَبِيًّا مِّنَ ٱلصَّٰلِحِينَ

“And We gave him the good news of Ishaaq, a prophet from among the righteous.”

(AlQuran 37:112)

Abraham had shown that his love for God superseded all others: that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dearest to him in submission to God’s command. Muslims commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice every year during Eid al-Adha.

The Eid prayers

According to Islamic law, men (who are residents of a particular area) must offer Eid prayer, while for women, it is optional to offer Eid prayers.

The Eid al-Adha prayer is performed on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah anytime after Sunrise before the time of Zuhr.

Muslims are encouraged to prepare themselves for the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, keeping in view the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW): the Sunnah. They should make waddu (ablution) and offer fajr prayer before Sunrise. They are also encouraged to wear the best clothes available and take proper care of their cleanliness.

The spirit of Eid al-Adha

The spirit of Eid al-Adha directly results from the number of sacrifices we make before it. In other words, investing our time, money, and wealth translates into self-contentment and a successful and joyous Eid. Thus, it is not surprising that even though we do not put in as much effort as we should in the month of Ramadan, the little that we do has an impact on ourselves and makes us feel deserving of celebration when Eid al-Adha comes around.

The spirit of Eid al-Adha should be to help those who can’t offer Qurbani (sacrifice), so they can also be joyous on this occasion of Eid.

From all of us AlQuranClasses, we wish you a very happy and joyous Eid. Remember all of us on the holy occasion of Eid al Adha.



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