Eid al-Adha: Its Significance And How It Is Observed

Learn about this holy day for Muslim communities everywhere.

Each year on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha here’s what you need to know about this holy day.

Eid al-Adha (also known as Hari Raya Haji in other parts of the world) is one of the most important days of the Islamic calendar. It is a day for prayer and sacrifice Find out about the events that surround this day.

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What is Eid al-Adha?

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Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) or Hari Raya Haji is celebrated by Muslims to commemorate Ibrahim (Abraham’s) Faith and trust in God. When Ibrahim prepares to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael), as God had commanded, God intervenes and tells Ibrahim his sacrifice has already been accepted. Instead, he provides Ibrahim with a sheep to sacrifice.

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During Hari Raya Haji, Muslims will dress in their finest clothing and go to mosques to pray and listen to sermons. More importantly, is the Korban (sacrifice).

Worshippers sacrifice a live animal, usually sheep, lambs, goats and cows (depending on a number of factors such as where you live, income, and what is accessible). The animal is slaughtered as prayers are recited in remembrance Ibrahim’s devotion to God. The meat is usually divided into thirds with one third for family, one third for friends and relatives and one third for poor and needy.

When is Eid al-Adha observed?

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Hari Raya Haji is observed on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. The date differs each year as it follows the Islamic Calendar instead of the Gregorian one. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle and is about 11 or 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Hari Raya Haji takes place on the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.

So what is Dhu al Hajjah?

Dhu al-Hajjah also known as Hajj is a pilgrimage that Muslims take to the scared holy land of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The cuboid structure called the Kabba which can be found in the courtyard of the Masjid al-Haram mosque is covered with an ornate black silk cloth with gold embroidery called the Kiswa, which is changed once each year on the 9th day of Dhu al-Hajjah. Muslims pray five times a day and these prayers are conducted in the direction of Mecca and the Kabba (since 624 CE). Praying 5 times a day and embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage are two of the 5 pillars of Islam which make up the fundamental principles of the faith. During Hajj pilgrims circle the Kabba seven times, during which they hope to touch the Black Stone or al-Hajar al-Aswad embedded in the corner of the eastern section of the Kabba.

By Kathleen Siddell, September 2015 / Updated + Additional Reporting by K Praveena

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