•Vital Things To Know About The Annual Festival
Come Saturday, 9 July 2022, Muslims across the globe would be in their happiest mood as they will be celebrating Eidul Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), a festival which is the biggest festival among the believers. The festival is so big and special to Islam and Muslims. In fact, it is one of Islam’s most important holidays. It involves the slaughtering of animals like Ram, Cow, Sheep, Goat, and Camel in reference to the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (Peace Be Upon Him), known as Abraham in Christianity and Judaism, to sacrifice his son, Ismail as ordered by Allah. Muslims don’t joke about it as they usually look forward to celebrating it every year. Here in Nigeria, many Muslims travel to their respective home town to celebrate the festival with their families and relations. No wonder the Yoruba referred to it as Ileya (A festival which Muslims travel to their home town). For instance, the Ijebu people travel home from far and near for the festival and most especially to take part in the annual Ojude Oba glamorous carnival. Many communities in the southwest also have their peculiar ceremonies they organize during this period. They enjoy every bit of the annual festival. In the north, there are a series of activities planned to mark the celebration. Among them is the Durbar festival. Several cities in the region like Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zazzau, Bauchi, Bida and Ilorin hold the colourful event in style.
THE STORY OF EID AL-ADHA
According to the Quran, Ibrahim has a dream in which Allah commands him to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as a sign of obedience to God. In the writing, Shaytaan, or Satan attempts to confuse Ibrahim and tempt him not to carry out the act, but Ibrahim drives him away. However, as Ibrahim is about to kill Ismail, Allah stops him, sending the Angel Jibreel, or Gabriel, with a ram to sacrifice instead. The festival commemorates the sacrifice and Ibrahim’s act of obedience and his willingness to follow God’s command without question. It usually takes place on the final day of the Hajj pilgrimage, the fifth pillar of Islam.
WHEN IS EIDUL-ADHA USUALLY CELEBRATED?
Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of the Dhul-Hijjah (12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar) which is about two months after Eidul-Fitr (festival of the breaking of the fast). It also marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The date of the festival is the same every year according to the Islamic lunar calendar. The Western 365-day Gregorian calendar is about 11 days longer, causing the dates to change each year.
HOW EID AL-ADHA IS CELEBRATED
Because Ibrahim was allowed to sacrifice a ram instead of his son, Eid al-Adha is traditionally celebrated on its first day, by those with the means to do so, with the symbolic sacrifice of a lamb, goat, cow, camel or other animals. The slaughtered animals are therefore meant to be divided into three and should be shared equally among family, friends and the needy. Also Muslims dress in their finest garments, often having bought new clothes for the occasion. Other activities that mark the occasion are:
(1) EID PRAYERS:
The day usually starts with communal prayer (Eid Salaah). Muslims congregate at the local mosque or an open field after sunrise to say special Eid prayers and hear a sermon.
(2) EID MUBARAK CELEBRATION:
This usually follows the Eid prayer. Meanwhile, the faithful wish each other Eid Mubarak, meaning Happy Eid or Blessed Eid. They do this by exchanging pleasantries and small gifts. Non-Muslims can also join at this point to felicitate with the Muslims on Eid day. Of course, it’s a day of goodwill and mutual respect. It will most likely at least earn you a smile, if not an invitation to a lavish Eid feast.
(3) Slaughtering Of Animal
In commemoration of the story of Ibrahim and Ismail, Muslims around the world sacrifice animals on Eid ul-Adha. This tradition is called Qurbani. Many millions of animals are slaughtered on this day by the Muslim faithful. Before these animals are slaughtered, there are strict rules to be observed. They include: (1) Only certain animals can be sacrificed, such as sheep, lambs, or camels. (2) The animal must be in good health. (3) It has to be over a certain age. (4) It must be slaughtered in a specific way prescribed by Islamic law (halal).
THE PROPER WAY TO SLAUGHTER ANIMALS IN ISLAM
Islam is a complete religion that addresses every aspect of human endeavour. It leaves nothing unattended to. Even when it comes to the slaughtering of animals, there are basic prescriptions to be followed. The humane slaughter of animals is strongly backed by the Islamic tradition. For example, Sahih Muslim (Book 21, Chapter 11, Number 4810) records Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) saying:
“Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.”
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) has also said, “When one of you slaughters, let him complete it”, meaning that one should sharpen the knife well and feed, water, and soothe the animal before killing it.
He also said, “Do you intend (on) inflicting death on the animal twice—once by sharpening the knife within its sight, and once by cutting its throat?”
Islam has therefore laid down other rules for humane slaughter and they are:
(1) Animals should have a pre-slaughter rest, and be well fed and well looked after at the point of slaughter.
(2) The animals must be alive or deemed to be alive at the time of slaughter.
(3) The slaughtering must be performed by a Muslim (who is of sound mind, mature, and fully understands the Islamic procedure and conditions for the slaughtering of animals).
(4) Animals to be slaughtered should be securely restrained, particularly the head and neck, before cutting the throat.
(5) The competence of the slaughterman is of great importance in order to carry out a satisfactory and lawful slaughter.
(6) The tools and other implements used must be for the slaughter of halâl (lawful) animals only.
(7) The knife for the slaughter must be razor-sharp and without blemishes and damage. For animals with normal necks, the act of slaughter must begin with an incision on the animal’s neck just before the glottis, and for animals with long necks such as chickens, turkeys, ostriches, camels, etc., the incision must be before the glottis.
(8) The animal’s trachea and oesophagus must be severed. The spinal cord should not be cut and the head not severed completely so as to induce immediate and massive haemorrhage. Uttering the phrase “Bismillah” meaning “In the name of Allah” immediately before the slaughter is compulsory and highly encouraged.
(9) Slaughtering must be done once only. The slaughtering implement must not be lifted off the animal during slaughtering. Any lifting is construed as one act of slaughter. Multiple acts of slaughter on one animal are prohibited.
(10) The animal should be slaughtered in such a way that its life departs quickly, and it is not left to suffer.
(11) The slaughtering must be spontaneous and complete.
(12) The animal should not be shackled and hoisted before bleeding.
(13) It should be done only after the animal has lost consciousness. Restraining equipment should be comfortable for the animal.
(14) Further preparation and dressing of the carcass must be delayed until all signs of life and cerebral reflex have disappeared.
HOW TO SHARE THE MEAT OF THE SLAUGHTERED ANIMAL
The meat of the animal you slaughtered for Eid will be divided into three equal parts. One portion is donated to those in need, and the second portion is given to friends. The third portion is kept for one’s own consumption, and it typically forms part of the Eid feast to be enjoyed with family and friends.
Eidul Adha festival is further interpreted as a symbolic and selfless interpretation of the Muslim tradition which encourages sacrificing your personal desires and sharing your wealth with those less fortunate—in other words: giving up something you hold dear, just like Ibrahim demonstrated when he showed himself willing to sacrifice his own beloved son. Sharing and charity play a large part on Eid, and many people give money to charitable causes on this day, in addition to sharing the meat of the slaughtered animal with people in need.
EID AL-ADHA FOOD
A lavish meal is another integral part of the celebration. Since many traditional Eid al-Adha dishes are savoury as family, friends, and associates come visiting to enjoy the meal in the spirit of the festival.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS FOR EID?
Aside from the lessons on obedience to Allah’s command without hesitation, Eidul-Adha is highly significant in many ways. The festival has a clear message of piety, charity as well as equality. The Quran states: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” (Quran 22:37). The festival ensures that even those who can’t afford meat get plenty of it at least once a year. In Mecca, the meat of the animals slaughtered by the Haajis is distributed to third-world countries too.
WHAT IS THE REWARD OF SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS FOR EID?
For every hair of the Qurbani, you receive a reward from Allah (SWT)” (Tirmidhi). Think of how many strands of hairs are on the goat or the cow or any other animal you slaughter. It’s obvious there are uncountable numbers of hairs on each of these animals! So are the rewards you get. You can even get more rewards if the animals are properly slaughtered you observe it based on the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
WHAT ARE THE DOS AND DON’TS’ ON EID DAY?
There are some dos and don’ts every Muslim should observe to maximize the reward of the Eidu Adha celebration. Desirable actions to be done on the Day of Eid are: In Eid al-Adha (Eid of the Hajj), based on the sunnah, one does not eat until they sacrifice, unlike Eid al-Fitr (Eid of Ramadan).
(1) Bathing and wearing one’s best attire before going for the Eid prayer.
(2) Every Muslim should strive to attend the Eid prayer; men, women, and children. Even women who are unable to pray due to their menstrual cycle, are still encouraged to attend the celebration of the Muslims. However, she is not to join in the prayer as was stated by the Prophet.
(3) Walking to the prayer ground rather than riding (if it is within walking distance and does not burden or create a hardship).
(4) It is from the sunnah to go back to one’s house walking from a different route than that which was taken to get there. Some scholars explain this as a way to meet and greet more people.
(5) To say “Takbeer” out loud because it is one of the symbols of that day.
(6) One of the most common forms of takbeer used by the Prophet is “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilah Ila Allah, Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wallilahil-hamd”
(7) Those in charge should try to make the Eid prayer outside in an open area unless there is a reason barring them from this. It was the consistent pattern of the Prophet to perform all Eid prayers out in the open.
(8) Performing the Eid prayer before the khutbah is from the sunnah. Unlike Jumu’ah, sitting and listening to the Eid khutbah is Sunnah.
(9) Eid is a joyous occasion for Muslims and should be celebrated with family, friends, and the community.
(10) After the completion of the khutbah, Muslims should greet each other. A common statement of greeting among the sahabah ý(ÑÖí Çááå Úäåã) was: “Taqabalallahu Minna Waminkum”, meaning; May Allah accept it (deeds) from us and from you.
(11) It is from the sunnah to make tasbeeh during Eid prayer. At the beginning of Salatul-Eid, the leader will say Allahu Akbar at the start of each raka’ah several times. One should continue to recite the following in between the takbiraat: “Subhan Allah, Walhamdulillah, Walilaha illa allah, Wallahu Akbar.”
On the other hand Muslims should do away with the following Undesirable Actions on the Day of Eid:
(1) It is haram (forbidden) to fast the day of Eid.
(2) One should avoid excessive mixing and mingling with the opposite sex who are not mahram relatives. Naturally, this should be done throughout the year, but even more so during the Eid, given the celebratory nature of this day.
(3) Sisters should be cautious of wearing too much make-up and perfume when leaving their houses and being in public.
(4) There is no sunnah prayer before the Eid prayer. If the Eid prayer is performed in the masjid, then one should pray 2 rakat of tahiyat al-masjid — in respect to the masjid — upon entering it. When the Eid prayer is held in an open area, such as a hall or ballroom, then one does not pray the 2 rakat of tahiyat al-masjid.
(5) One should always observe the limits prescribed by Islam. Although it is from the sunnah to enjoy the celebration of Eid, one should avoid parties that contain instruments of the devil, or staying up late to the point of missing Salatul-Fajr.
(6) The celebration of Eid is especially joyous and usually seen as an opportunity to worship God and not aggregate sins.
As you celebrate this year’s Eidul Adha, remember your brethren in faith in your prayers. You may be happy this Eid, remember that there are masses of Muslims who are oppressed, occupied, suffering and need to be reached out to. May Allah accept it from us.!
-Jamiu Abubakar with some online contributions.