A Muslim Festival of sacrifice
Most of the conflicts in the world are due to ignorance
and unwillingness to understand each other.
If we take the time to learn about each other, myths
will start fading and goodness gets rooting;
apprehensions will also start loosing ground and peace
of mind takes root. Indeed, the essence of the other
being appears to be similar to ours and we see an
emergence of solutions.
I am pleased to share about the Muslim Festival of
Eid-al-Adha this week, in the coming weeks you may enjoy
reading about Hanukkah, Immaculate Conception, Khushali,
Mother Night, Pancha Ganapati, Winter Solice, Kwanza,
Zarthosh deso and Kwanza. You are welcome to share some
good pieces about these festivities to share with
others. My focus will remain on holidays in all
religions and a few cultural celebrations.
A Listing of festivals for December 2008 is available
Note: This article is a compilation of various writings.
Essence of Eid-al-Adha
Mike Ghouse, December 5, 2008
Eid-al-Adha is also known as Hajj or Bakrid (variations
listed below) if you wish to greet Muslims on this day
you may say “Happy Eid” or “Eid Mubarak”. “Eid” is
pronounced as “Eel” the fish but with a 'D'; it is Eed.
I would have preferred to write Eed, but it is popular
as Eid, so I will stick with it. Eid is festivity.
At the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as
Hajj, Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday
of Eid-al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). This
year, Eid-al-Adha will be celebrated on Monday, December
During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the
trials and triumphs of Prophet Abraham. The Qur'an
describes Abraham as follows:
An-Nahl (The Bee) 16:120 – “VERILY, Abraham was a man
who combined within himself all virtues, devoutly
obeying God's will, turning away from all that is false,
and not being of those who ascribe divinity to aught
Love and Sacrifice
A parent would risk his or her life to protect the
child. People in love have the passion to value their
beloved's life and are willing to get the bullet and
save the life, they are willing to rescue her or him
from the freezing lake risking their own life, even
strangers do that. It is the willingness to put the life
of the loved one’ above one’s own life. Every day our
Police officers risk their own lives to protect ours,
the firemen and women risk their lives to save a child,
a pet or an aged person from a fire; and every day our
soldiers put their lives at risk to save fellow soldiers
and to save our freedom.
Firemen and soldiers
I urge fellow Muslims and all others to stop and salute
every one of these men and women, honoring them for
their sacrifices and their love for the humanity. Better
yet, call the Fire, Police, City and other places and
let them know that as a Muslim you appreciate their
sacrifice, and this festival is also about appreciation
for such sacrifices.
Love is sacrifice. God wanted to test Abraham’s faith,
love and devotion. One of Abraham's main trials was to
face the command of God to kill his only son. Upon
hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God’s
will. When he was all prepared to do it, God revealed to
him that his "sacrifice" had already been fulfilled. He
had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all
others that he would lay down his own life or the lives
of those dear to him in order to submit to God.
Thus the tradition of symbolic sacrifice began, where
one would sacrifice a lamb to continue the tradition of
Abraham. During the celebration of Eid-al-Adha, Muslims
commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by
sacrificing an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat.
This action is very often misunderstood by those outside
God does not need one to sacrifice; it has nothing to do
with atoning sins or using the blood to wash ourselves
Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) 22:37 [But bear in mind:] never
does their flesh reach God, and neither their blood: it
is only your God-consciousness that reaches Him. It is
to this end that we have made them subservient to your
needs, so that you might glorify God for all the
guidance with which He has graced you. And give thou
this glad tiding unto the doers of good:
The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things
that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in
order to follow God's commands. It also symbolizes our
willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in
order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those
who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come
from God, and we should open our hearts and share with
others. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid-al-Adha is
given away in three ways; self, relatives and the poor.
It is a symbolic act in the western countries, but it
becomes meaningful in those countries where people are
under nourished and don’t get to eat the meat as we do.
The symbolism is in the attitude - a willingness to make
sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the right
Path. Each one of us makes small sacrifices, giving up
things that are fun or important to us. A Muslim is one
who submits him/herself completely to the Lord and is
willing to follow God’s commands obediently. It is this
strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing
obedience that our Lord desires from us.
God's ultimate will
God does not want anything more from us than asking us
to be just and truthful. It brings tranquility and
balance to an individual and what surrounds him; life
and environment. The creator would be pleased when his
creation is nurtured, cared for and sustained.
Indeed, to be religious is to be a peacemaker, one who
seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for
Eid-al-Adha is one of two major
celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the
Qur'aan. Eid-al-Adha begins with a short
prayer followed by a sermon (khuṭba).
Eid-al-Adha falls on the 10th day of the month of
Dhul Hijja (ذو
of the lunar
The festivities last for two to three days or more
depending on the country. Eid-al-Adha occurs the day
after the pilgrims conducting
Hajj, the annual
Saudi Arabia by
Muslims worldwide, descend from
Mount Arafat. It
happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the
Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their
finest clothing to perform
Eid prayer (Salatu'l-`id)
regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are
demonstrated during Eid-al-Adha by the concerted effort
to see that no impoverished person is left without
sacrificial food during these days. Eid-al-Adha is a
concrete affirmation of what the Muslim community ethic
means in practice. People in these days are expected to
visit their relatives, starting with their parents, then
their families and friends.
I am familiar with the practices in the Indian
Subcontinent, where the individuals visit the local
cemetery to pray for the loved ones, almost like the
Memorial Day. In fact the formal prayer which most
Muslims recite, asks God to forgive parents, teachers,
those living and those that are dead and every one else.
It is a sense of purification one goes through. God in
the Qur’aan says the one who forgives is dearest to him.
I request Muslims from around the world to write if this
is a practice in their culture as well in the comments
When it comes to food, I can share the practice of my
family; The whole family gets to eat the breakfast
together, usually the Flat bread (Paratha, Naan or Roti)
with Meat balls (Kofta Curry). Then they would join the
procession to a place outside the town where they go and
pray as a large congregation, usually it is the cemetery
grounds. Then every one comes back home, and enjoys the
Biryani (Indian version of fried rice) and Shami kabob.
Then visiting as many friends as they can is part of the
culture, have a bite to eat while meeting them and
greeting them with hugs.
upon a time, in North Texas,
when we were just a few, we gathered at the Fair Park.
However, in the last few years, for convenience there
are gatherings in Plano, Fort Worth, Arlington, Allen,
Sherman and Denton. We have also figured out to be very
local as we gather in the Mosques and Jamaat Khana’s in
Carrollton, Watauga, Irving and other cities. However,
still a lot of people prefer to go to the largest
gathering at the Dallas Convention Center. In Dallas
Forth Worth, Muslims also gather at Mosques for
Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia and Sunni denominations.
I am pleased to invite you to join and experience these
congregational prayers. I will be going to the
congregation arranged by the Dallas Central Mosque at
The Dallas convention center. If you wish to join me in
person, please send an email to
at least by Sunday afternoon or call me if you have the
DALLAS: Eid-al-Adha prayer will be on Monday December
8th, 2008 at The Dallas Convention Center Hall F, in
Downtown Dallas 9:30 am Sharp-
is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism,
interfaith, terrorism, peace, interfaith, Islam,
Multiculturism and India. He is a frequent guest on
talk radio and local television network discussing
interfaith, political and civic issues.
His comments, news
analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and
Blogs listed at his personal website
is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton
is his home town. He can be reached at
© MIKE GHOUSE 2001- 2008 :: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Other names for Eid al-Adha
Eid) has other popular names across the
such as Eid el-Kibir (the 'Big' Eid) in
Tfaska Tamoqqart in the
of Jerba; Tabaski or Tobaski in
Babbar Sallah in
and Somali-speaking regions of
it is also called Bara Eid (literally "Big Eid").
In Kashmir, where
is spoken, it is called Baed Eid, and Keralites
say Waliya Perunnal, both phrases also meaning
"Big Eid." In
it is called either
it is also called Bakra Eid (or simply Baqrid
in India, for the Hindi word baqara, meaning "goat",
the traditional sacrifice).
In Southern Indian
which has large concentration of
Muslims, it is called Peru Naal meaning 'The Big
Day'. Sometimes, Tamil-speakers say Bakr Eid Peru
Naal, meaning 'the Big Day of the Sacrifice'.
it is called Kurban Bayramı. Similarly, in
Bosnia and Herzegovina,
it is referred as Kurban Bajram, the same root
with Qorban Bäyräme in
Qurban Bayramı in
and Kurban Bayram throughout
it is referred to as Qurban Ait. In
it is called "Eyd e Qorbán" by
and Loy Akhtar (literally, "the Greater Eid") or
Kurbaneyy Akhtar by
it is called Jejhni Qurban meaning Feast of Sacrifice.
In China it is
called "Corban Festival" (in Chinese) or "Qurban Heyit"
in Uyghur language.
especially in the
the term "Idul Adha" (particularly in Indonesia) or "Aidil
Adha" is used. "Hari Raya Korban", which means the
Sacrifice Celebration Day is also widely used. Another
term is called "Hari Raya Haji" which means Celebration
Day of the
Another term is the festival of sacrifice