Eid Al Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice marks the end of the annual Haj or pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is a time when Muslims from across the globe honor the faith of Prophet Ibrahim and recall the sacrifices that Prophet Ibrahim had to make. Allah the Almighty commanded Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismail, to test his will. The Prophet was prepared to do so to prove his faith in Allah. Ismail himself was prepared to sacrifice his life for his father to obey the command of Allah. When the time came and Prophet Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice Ismail, Allah revealed that the sacrifice had already been fulfilled and spared his son by placing a sheep in his place.
Muslims who can afford it sacrifice a sheep as a symbol of Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his only son. The sacrificed animals, called aá¸á¸¥iya, have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. This tradition accounts for the slaughter of more than 100 million animals during Eid.
The meat from the sacrificed animal is preferred to be divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy. Eid sacrifice may take place until sunset on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.
The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are highlighted during Eid al-Adha by concerted efforts to see that no impoverished person is left without an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial meal during these days. In some countries, families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need.
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah for Eid al-Adha is a tradition that has continued to unite Muslims from all over the world for more than 14 centuries. As the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, performing Haj means following one of the Five Pillars of Islam and all Muslims should try to make the journey at least once in their lifetime.
Being with relatives is a much-loved part of Eid for many. They look forward to Eid as long as they can spend time with their extended family. For some, the main aspect to look forward to during Eid is seeing family members they have not seen for a long time. No matter where people are in the world, the most special moments during Eid Al Adha for Muslims is when they are close to Allah and their loved ones.