What is Eid Al Adha?
With the end of August approaching and the new month of September around the corner, Muslims in Qatar and around the world await for their religious Sheikh (a person authorized to give rulings on religious matters) to determine the exact date and timing of Eid Al Adha.
The final pronouncement on when Eid starts is directly linked to the positioning of the moon. Around this time in Doha, you will start to feel the festivities wherever you go, from the vibrant street lights and decorations around the malls to locals rushing to get their new outfits and sweet treats.
Muslims have two major celebrations throughout the year. The first one is Eid Al-Fitr, which takes place directly after the fasting month of Ramadan. Two months later, Muslims celebrate their second Eid, called Eid Al-Adha. This second celebration falls on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, the final month in the Hijri calendar.
In the Islamic lunar calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days back every year. Therefore, Eid Al-Adha often falls on different days are often falls on different days around the world – dependant upon your location and region.
Eid Al-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Greater Eid and honours Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael, as an act of submission to Allah’s command.
Abraham – *Alayhi As-Salaam (AS) had recurring dreams of Allah commanding him to sacrifice his son Ismail (AS). He realised this was not just a dream, but a command from Allah that he should follow. So, he took his son Ismail (AS) to Mount Arafat, where the sacrifice was meant to take place. Ismail (AS) told his father to blindfold himself so that he would not suffer as much.
However, when Abraham (AS) opened his blindfold, he was surprised to see that he had, in fact, sacrificed a male goat and that his son Ismail (AS) was standing right beside him unharmed.
After that, Muslims around the world became obligated to sacrifice a sheep, cow, or goat on the first day of Eid Al-Adha to mark the ancient event. In some countries, Muslim families buy, keep, and slaughter their own animal. Islamic rules also state that the animal must be an adult and in good health.
The meat is then divided into three equal parts – one for the household, one for relatives and friends, and one for the poor (this may be given to any person in need, including non-Muslims).
Eid is a unique occasion because it is a congregational prayer on the morning of the first day of Eid. Muslims will attend morning prayers at Al-Eid mosques, which are open mosques dedicated only for Eid prayers. The Imam will be present, and as a guideline, worshippers should follow the Imam in prayer and mark his actions accordingly. It takes approximately 15 minutes to perform the prayer and Muslims often embark on a different route back home, as this follows the example of the Prophet Muhammad (AS).
Eid Al-Adha also marks the end of the Islamic Pilgrimage, Hajj, a mandatory practice for Muslims to carry out at least once in their lifetime.
Eid Al-Adha in Qatari Culture is a celebratory festival. Men and women in Qatar will prepare for Eid by buying a sheep for the holy sacrifice, shopping for new clothes, decorating their houses, preparing delicious sweets for their guests, and, most importantly, giving money to children.
After Eid prayers, children will be the first to knock on their neighbour’s door for their gift (Eidiya). Eidiyacan vary between QAR 3-10 for each kid. Don’t underestimate this amount. By the time the afternoon roles by, they’ll become little Sheikhs because of the amount of Eidiya they have accumulated.
Families and friends will also gather during the entirety of Eid, as each family invites the other to visit. They exchange gifts, indulge in traditional food, and enjoy the company of each other.
Whether you practice Islam or not, the Eid celebrations can be enjoyed by everyone. If it’s your first time celebrating Eid, you can greet others by saying “Eid Mubarak” which means ‘Blessed Celebration‘. The typical reply to this would also be “Eid Mubarak”.
*(AS) is an abbreviation for Alayhi As-Salaam, meaning ‘Peace Be Upon Him’. It is said after mentioning an Islamic Prophet.