By Imam Murtadha Gusau
Saturday, Dhul-Hijjah 9, 1440 A.H. (August 10, 2019)
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly till the Day of Judgement.
Dear brothers and sisters! The literal meaning of the word ‘Eid’ is ‘Happiness’ or ‘Joy’, thus, the festival of Eid is a festival of joy where Muslims celebrate happiness by sharing it. Throughout the Islamic calendar, Muslims celebrate two Eids, one is known as ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’, while the other is the renowned ‘Eid-ul-Adha.’
Eid-ul-Fitr is the one that comes after Ramadan where after a month of fasting Muslims celebrate. While Eid-ul-Adha is the one on which Muslims also celebrate but the celebrations are usually overshadowed by the events of sacrificing in the name of Allah. If both Eids be compared, then one realises that at present Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with more zest and energy compared to Eid-ul-Adha. This should not be the case as both the Eids are equal and both are from Allah. The lines below discuss some ways in which a Muslim can celebrate Eid-ul-Adha in the true spirit in which it is supposed to be celebrated:
Respected brothers and sisters! If one closely analysis the reasons why Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with more joy and energy compared to Eid-ul-Adha, then the major conclusion that one comes up with is the fact that the former Eid is preceded by the month of Ramadan in which Muslims pray and worship excessively, thus, when Eid comes they consider it their reward for all the prayers and worship hence give it more energy and spirit. On the other hand, because of lack of knowledge, Muslims don’t have any such motivation available to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha and they just opt for doing it with ordinary spirit. There are some Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that encourage increased Ibadah (worship) during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which if done gives the same spirit and motivation for celebration of Eid-ul-Adha as is for Eid-ul-Fitr.
In one Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the Companions) said, “Not even Jihad?” He said, “No not even Jihad except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything.” [Imam Al-Bukhari]
From the Hadith it is clear that compared to rest of the year, the good deeds committed in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have no match to any other day of the year. Therefore, a Muslim must increase worship (Ibadah) in these ten days, so that he or she gets the maximum possible reward and then as an expression of reward, one celebrates on Eid-ul-Adha.
In another Hadith, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah than those that are done in these ten days. So increase in Tahlil (to say La Ilaha Illallah), Takbir (to say Allahu Akbar) and Tahmid (to say Alhamdulillah).” [Imam At-Tabrani]
This Hadith clearly shows Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) instructing Muslims to indulge in praise of Allah Almighty by reciting different Tasbihat in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Thus, when a Muslim praises and worships Allah Almighty excessively for ten days then he or she surely does celebrate Eid-ul-Adha in the same way as they celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.
Great servants of Allah! One of the major attractions of Eid-ul-Adha is the sacrifice of animal that takes place on the day of Eid. All the Muslims who are able to afford an animal for sacrifice do so on that day and all this is done in commemoration of the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).
On the call of Allah Almighty Prophet Ibrahim (AS) sacrificed his beloved son Ismail (AS). However, as soon as he was to slit his throat with a knife, Allah Almighty replaced Ismail (AS) with a sheep and accepted his sacrifice. Allah Almighty has made this Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) a part of Eid-ul-Adha and Muslims since then have been sacrificing animals following his footsteps.
The thing that can bring the spirit of celebration back for Eid-ul-Adha is Muslims realising and relating with Prophet Ibrahim (AS). He loved his son but when the order of Allah came he was willing to sacrifice his beloved son for Allah. All Allah wants from Muslims is to sacrifice an animal for Him, however, if Muslims buy this animal days before the day, then they could also develop affiliation with it and when it is to be sacrificed then they can have a very slight idea of what went through the mind and heart of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Thus, when such a feeling is developed in the heart of a Muslim, then he or she realises the true purpose of Eid-ul-Adha and rightful celebration is done.
My beloved people! For a Muslim the best personality to follow is the personality of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He was complete in every sense of matter, therefore, whenever Muslims are in a condition where they seek guidance, they instantly turn towards the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and perform the particular thing as Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) performed in His life or the instructions that He gave about the particular subject matter. When it comes to celebrating Eid-ul-Adha, it can best be celebrated in the best spirit if a Muslim follows the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on that particular day. Some of the major Sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) when it came to celebrating Eid-ul-Adha are:
- Performing Ghusl (Bath) on Eid day.
- Wearing the best and most beautiful clothes available before going to the Mosque for Eid prayer.
- Taking one route while going to prayer and coming back from other way around.
- Offer the Eid prayer in congregation at the Eid prayer place.
- Congratulating all at the congregation as well as all those who meet on the way back home.
- Eating nothing in breakfast until the animal was sacrificed and choosing something to eat from its meat.
Thus, if a Muslim can follow these Sunnahs then he or she can be assured that they have celebrated Eid-ul-Adha in the rightful and deserving manner.
Dear brothers and sisters! The reason why the spirit for celebrating Eid-ul-Adha is not the same as for Eid-ul-Fitr is the lack of knowledge of Muslims about Hadith and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). If Muslims know and understand the importance of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, they try to understand the real meaning of sacrifice as experienced by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and if they study the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) pertaining to Eid-ul-Adha celebrations, then they would surely develop the right spirit in which this particular Eid ought to be celebrated.
Dear servants of Allah! Over two Million Muslims are now off to perform the Hajj Pilgrimage and those not going can also be a part of the noble ritual by watching Hajj Live and exploring the Hajj Guide.
Similarly, Eid preparations have long been begun and households are being flooded with sacrificial animals! May Allah bestow us all immense Barakah, ameen.
My people! Know that Eid-ul-Adha is the second largest religious festival for Muslims worldwide. This occasion is also referred to as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice.’ It is fervently celebrated and marks the remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Prophet Isma’il (AS) as an act of obedience to the command that had been made by Allah the Almighty. As Eid-ul-Adha falls on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, this year the tentative dates are accounted as the 11th of August 2019, depending on the place and region.
“That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.” [Qur’an, 22:28]
Eid is just around the corner and the shopping sprees for its preparations have begun by fellow Muslims across the globe. From the purchase of sacrificial animals such as goats, cows, lambs and camels to new outfits for this happy occasion. Apart from the embarkment of several Eid preparations, the extensive Ibadah (worship) by Muslims is not behind at all. Muslims all over the world drape this cape of protection around themselves by immersing themselves into constant Zikr around this time.
“And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience. And indeed do the devils inspire their allies [among men] to dispute with you. And if you were to obey them, indeed, you would be associators [of others with Him].” [Qur’an, 6:121]
Dear brothers and sisters! The day of Eid begins with the Eid prayer, offered on the morning of 10th Dhul-Hijjah after the sun rises completely; before the time for the Zuhr prayer starts. This prayer consists of two Raka’ats (units) and is performed with complete devotion worldwide.
After offering the Eid prayer, Muslims are meant to sacrifice the animals and divide out the meat amongst people. As far as the meat distribution of the slaughtered animals is concerned; the meat division is split into three parts; poor, relatives and friends, and family respectively.
In regards to the sacrifices offered, the term Zabihah is used to reflect the act of slaughtering the animals in the Halal way; pronouncing Tasmiyah (The name of Allah Almighty) and Takbir; “Bismillah Allahu Akbar.” The knife to be used in the slaughter must be razor sharp; straight and smooth. Moreover, the blood should be drained completely before the removal of the animal’s head. In Islam, flowing blood is considered to be impure and highly prohibited for food consumption. The reason behind this is that blood is a good medium for germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. Therefore, Zabihah (Slaughtering) is to be done such that the meat is purified and suitable for consumption. Furthermore, the blood should ideally be drained in the corner area of the garden, so that the blood is absorbed by the land rather than being drained directly in gutters. For instance, a devastating sight of blood flooded across the streets of Nigeria was witnessed back in 2018.
Narrated Anas Bin Malik: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever slaughtered the sacrifice before the prayer, he just slaughtered it for himself, and whoever slaughtered it after the prayer, he slaughtered it at the right time and followed the tradition (Sunnah) of the Muslims.”
I hope that this Eid will bring immense joy for each Muslim individual and confer ease as they carry out their respective sacrifices. I wholeheartedly wish our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters a very happy Eid, Eid Mubarak!
And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Written by your brother, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.