Arfa Ruhee, Assistant Company Secretary and member of our Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, explains the importance of Eid Al-Adha, its history, and how she’ll be celebrating this important religious festival.
What is Eid Al-Adha?
On the eve of Sunday 11th August Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid Al-Adha otherwise known as the ‘festival of sacrifice’ to commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham who was prepared to sacrifice his son Ishmael to show his commitment and obedience to Allah. Eid al-Adha is a major holiday in the Islamic calendar and marks the end of the annual holy pilgrimage of Hajj.
Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam alongside the Shahadah, prayer, charity giving and fasting and is a mandatory religious duty for all Muslims who are fit and able to travel to undertake the journey at least once in their lifetime. Every year around 2 million people travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage and offer their prayers to Allah and to ask for forgiveness.
▲ The Kaaba – the building at the centre of Islam’s most important mosque, the Great Mosque of Mecca. It is the most sacred site in Islam.
The sacrifice in Eid Al-Adha denotes that you have to be willing to let go of even your most prized possessions in service of the Almighty. Although the practice of slaughtering animals is still carried out, this is largely symbolic for when Allah substituted a lamb in Ishmael’s place when the Prophet Abraham was prepared to sacrifice him. The meaning of Eid al-Adha is about the sacrifice of attachment to material desires and possessions and other things for the greater devotion to God. (Celebrate Eid-Al-Adha, n.d.)
How do Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha?
Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha with their loved ones, the whole day is filled with good food, love for family and immense joy. If they can afford to do so, Muslim families will sacrifice an animal such as a goat, lamb or sheep and the meat is mostly given away to family and friends and those in need. They will wear new clothes, give money to the poor, go to mosque for Eid prayers, exchange gifts and visit the homes of their relatives, neighbours and friends.
How do you prepare for Eid Al-Adha?
In preparation for Eid al-Adha, I will go clothes shopping with my mum and sisters to hopefully find a lovely outfit to wear, this can be pretty stressful as everyone else is doing the same thing! On the plus side, we can get some amazing bargains since this is when sales start to tempt you to buy stuff. I have many nephews and nieces and spend an inordinate amount of time looking for presents to give them, however, if I run out of time as a last resort this can sometimes mean just giving them cash on the day.
In the lead-up to Eid, we will watch live streaming of Hajj on TV and listen to talks on Islam and the importance of this time of year. We will arrange to send money to Pakistan which will go towards the donation of food and meat to the less well off. My sister also decorates her house with balloons and Eid Mubarak signs as she has two little ones.
On Eid, we all pray together and get ready to visit our nearest and dearest, we call members of our extended family who live overseas or send them messages via social media and the day ends with a lovely and delicious feast.
▲ Eid-ul-Adha is known as the “Salty Eid” because many of the dishes served are savoury, including beef or mutton. Rice dishes, such as the Biryani pictured, are also popular.
For me, this is a time of reflection and an opportunity to check in with family who I may not have spoken to in a while as well as making important memories with close family and friends.
What is St. Modwen doing to celebrate Eid Al-Adha?
On Monday 12th August, we will be celebrating Eid across our offices with savoury snacks and Asian sweets – raising awareness of the Eid festivals and educating our colleagues on their history and importance to Muslims.
Celebrate Eid-Al-Adha. (n.d.). Explaining Eid Al Adha to Kids. Retrieved from http://www.eid-al-adha.org/eid-al-adha-explained-to-kids.html