Festival of Sacrifice

14.11.11 | (Photos: AP)

Muslims all over the world celebrated their main holiday Eid al-Adha also called the Festival of Sacrifice. Eid al-Adha is celebrated annually on the 10th day of the 12th and the last Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah of the Islamic lunar calendar. Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide

On the eve of the celebrations Muslims performing the Hajj pilgrimage climb Mount Arafat and on the day of sacrifice they symbolically beat the Devil with stones and walk seven times around the Kaaba (a cube-shaped building in Mecca, the most sacred site in Islam) in a counter-clockwise direction. The Qur´an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham and his son Ishmael, after Ishmael had settled in Arabia.

The Festival of Sacrifice is celebrated to remember the sacrifice of Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham). Receiving a revelation in which he was ordered to sacrifice his only son Ishmael. Ibraheem was ready to fulfill Gods command despite the fact that Ishmael was his only beloved son. This was the major test of Isma´el´s maturity in faith, love and commitment for Allah, willingness to obey his father and sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah. However, Allah called out to Ibraheem stating that his sincere intentions had been accepted, and that he need not carry out the killing of Ishmael. Instead, Abraham was told to replace his son with a goat to sacrifice instead. Allah also told them that they had passed the test imposed upon them by his willingness to carry out God´s command. Observing this tradition Muslims sacrifice animals on this day. They believe the first drop of blood forgives them all sins. The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the other third is given to the poor and needy.

On the Festival of Sacrifice Muslims perform Eid prayer in mosques, visit their relatives, pray for the deceased and give alms.