Eid Al-Adha: To Sacrifice for the Dearest

Have you ever thought about sacrificing what you love most? How would you feel then? What if you lose that to gain a better thing; something that would make you a better person, more worthwhile? If you can sacrifice what you love most, to give it away or leave it behind, and if you do that to get near to your merciful sustainer, Allah, then you can feel the spirit of eid al-Adha with all your heart. In what follows, we will delve more into one of the most significant occasions in the Islamic calendar, eid al-Adha.    


What Is Eid al-Adha? When Is It Celebrated?


Eid al-Adha or eid al-Qurban is the second greatest feast among Muslims which is celebrated on the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah every year around the world. This day, also marks a part of Hajj rituals at a place called Mina near Mecca, where the pilgrims are supposed to offer a sacrifice to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s (PBUH&HP) act in submitting to Allah’s will and sacrificing his son, Ishmael (PBUH), for His sake [1]. We will recount Abraham’s (PBUH) moving challenge in the following paragraphs.

eid al-adha

What Do Muslims Do to Celebrate Eid al-Adha?



  • Doing Ghusl (ritual bath): 

Doing Ghusl on the day of Eid al-Adha is highly recommended (mustahab).


  • Eid Prayer:

This prayer is precisely the same as the Eid al-Fitr prayer [i]. 


  • Offering a Sacrifice:

It is compulsory upon those participating in Hajj whether Hajj al-tammattu or Umrah. This act is also recommended for the Muslims who haven’t been attended the Hajj rituals. It is also recommended to share the sacrificial meat with other people, especially those in need so that everyone would have a part in the joy of this day.



  • Reciting Takbirs of this Eid:

Those who are present in the desert of Mina on this day must recite these Takbirs after daily prayers, starting from the noon prayer on the day of Eid and ending in dawn prayer of the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah. However, those who are not present in the desert of Mina on Eid's day should recite the Takbirs after ten daily prayers, starting from noon prayer of Eid's day, to the dawn prayer of the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah. These Takbirs are as follows:

اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، لا اِلـهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ وَ اللهُ اَكْبَر اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، و للهِ الْحَمْدُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما هَدانا ااَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما رَزَقَنا مِنْ بَهیمَةِ الانعامِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی ما أبْلانا

"Allah is great, Allah is great, there's no god but Allah and Allah is great, To Allah be the praise, Allah is great for He has guided us, Allah is great for he has given us sustenance from cattle, Praise be to Allah for He has tested us." [1]


eid al-adha

  • Recommended Supplications:

Some of the supplications recommended for this day include Du'a al-Nudba, 48th supplication of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, which starts with: “O God, this is a blessed and fortunate day …”, and the 46th supplication of this book as well.



  • Forbidden Actions:

Note that fasting (Sawm) on this day is forbidden (Haram), just like Eid al-Fitr. 

What Does Eid al-Adha Mean?

The Arabic word “eid” literally means, “to go back” and generally is a name given to special Islamic celebrations, such as eid al-Fitr, eid al-Mab’ath, eid al-Ghadir, etc. In other words, the Islamic celebrations are in essence a reminder for Muslims to stop and look back at their actions so far, repent from their sins and promise to follow Allah’s lead which has been brought to them by Prophet Muhammad and his progeny (PBUTh). 

Al-Adha roots back to the word “Dhuha” in Arabic meaning “the time when the sun is rising before noon.” This word refers to the time when the pilgrims are supposed to offer their sacrifices, which is at the sunrise. Al-Qurban, however, which means “sacrificing,” refers to the act of offering a sacrifice done by pilgrims on this day.


What Is the History behind this Eid?

At his old age, Prophet Abraham (PBUH&HP) saw in a dream that he had been sacrificing his beloved son, Ishmael (PBUH), his first child, after many years of being deprived of one, for whose birth he married Hagar and dearly prayed to Allah. He knew that this dream was a message from Allah, and there was no way for him to disobey his Lord. He retold the dream to Ishmael, and he, despite his youth, surrendered to Allah’s will and said, “Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient” (37:102).

It wasn’t a simple task for a father, for sure. But Abraham’s (PBUH) unbending faith in Allah gave him the strength to pull himself together and follow the command. He took Ishmael to an altar and was about to cut his throat when the glad tidings came from Allah that, “You have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous! This was indeed a manifest test.”(37:105-106). Abraham’s (PBUH) submission, patience, and trust in Allah were, thus, rewarded and a heavenly ram was sent to him to sacrifice instead. 

Therefore, every year, Muslims celebrate prophet Abraham’s (PBUH) success in sacrificing what he held dearest for the sake of his dear Lord, leaving no doubt in his sincere love and submission to Him.

eid al-adha

What Is the Philosophy behind this Eid?

Abraham (PBUH) made a sacrifice to remove any barrier between himself and Allah and get as close to Him as possible. Thus, Eid al-Adha is the day to sacrifice anything, which has separated us from Allah and has deprived us of feeling His presence in our lives. The reason behind the commemoration of this day and the significance of Abraham’s story is to remind us that one should ignore his/her whims, sacrifice his/her inclinations and attachments to this world, the dearest of which children and the loved ones, for the sake of Allah and His Will. 

In other words, Abraham’s adherence in following Allah’s command, despite the pain he felt and all the fluctuations he might have faced on his way to perform this duty, shows us that for a person who desires to be among the chosen creatures in Allah’s regard, nothing gets in the way between him/her and his/her Lord’s decrees. Nothing is dearer for this person, not even his/her family and children than his/her beloved Creator, Allah. Thus, His will, no matter how hard and painful it may be, goes beyond the love for family and children.  On the other hand, when Allah saw Abraham's (PBUH) utter submission to His will even at the expense of sacrificing his son, He considered the test done and granted them a high status in this world and the hereafter. That is the case with every other person who demonstrates the same attitude toward Allah.     

In fact, we do not sacrifice for Allah, since He is self-sufficient and not in need of our sacrifices. About sacrificing an animal the Quran says: “It is not their flesh or blood that reaches Allah; rather, it is your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He disposed them for your benefit so that you may magnify Allah for His guiding you. And give good news to the virtuous.” (22:37) 

We sacrifice for ourselves, to be a better version of ourselves, to reach perfection. On the path toward perfection, one is always faced with tests and hardships. Trials are signs for us to realize that Allah has seen us worthy of becoming one of His desired creatures. And in every trial, one is required to make a sacrifice; this can be sacrificing your wealth, your life, your selfishness, your grudges, anger, etc. [3].   


[i] Eid prayer consists of two rak'as. After Sura al-Fatiha in each rak'a another sura from the Qur'an is recited; however, it is better to read Sura al-Shams in the former and Sura al-Ghashiya in the latter or Sura al-A'la and Surat al-Shams respectively. After reciting sura in the first rak'a, there are five takbirs followed by five qunuts and in the second rak'a, four takbirs with four qunuts. Any supplications or prayers will suffice in the qunuts, like the other prayer, but it is better to read a special supplication [4].



[1] http://en.wikishia.net
[2] (37:102-105)
[3] http://english.khamenei.ir
[4]  Khomeini, Taḥrīr al-wasīla, vol. 1, p. 273.