Eid-ul-Azha is the second most important festival of Muslims across the world. Today’s celebration comes almost two and a half months after Eid-ul-Fitr, the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan. The spirit of Eid-ul-Azha is incorporated in Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. The underlying flavour is the spirit of sacrifice or qurbani, commemorating Abraham’s great act of faith many centuries ago.
Eid-ul-Azha, also known as Eid-e-Qurban, is a time for Muslims to learn the value of self-denial by making a sacrifice of something living to God. Apart from the congregational prayers and other festivities, the essential feature of the festival is qurbani, the offering of sacrifice of a prescribed animal. The spirit of sacrifice is exalted as a noble quality. Once Prophet Abraham had a dream in which God asked him to sacrifice his beloved son Ismael.
Persistence of the dream convinced him that it wasn’t just a dream but an allusion from the Infinite. He narrated the dream to his son who readily concurred. When the father and son reached the appointed place of sacrifice, the son suggested to his father to cover his eyes so that his love does not distract him from obeying the Lord. The moment Abraham pulled out his knife, the son was miraculously substituted with a lamb.
Allah was most benevolent; He rescued Abraham’s son and was pleased with Abraham’s and Ismael’s sincere devotion and absolute resignation to the will of their Creator. The day this happened has been held sacred. Every year the Hajjis retrace the steps of Abraham and Ismael in the valley of Mina and offer a sacrifice of animals in His Love. Similarly the faithfuls all over the world do this practice of sacrifice, according to their means, in true resignation to the Will of their Creator and to pay tribute to Abraham who lived up to the true meaning of ‘Surrender to Allah’.
Though other religions too contain the provision for offering of sacrifice in one form or the other, the Islamic concept of sacrifice is a little different. The Divine Being is Allah the merciful; there is no concept of appeasing an offended deity; neither does Allah take delight in flesh or blood. ”It is not their meat, nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety, taqwa that reaches Him. He has thus made them (animals) subject to you that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you”. (Qur’an 22:37).
For Muslims the qurbani is a definite act of worship and it is one of the honoured institutions of Islam. This is an expression of thanks for the benefits provided by Allah. It is also a commemoration of the supreme sacrifice offered by Ismael and is an expression of determination to sacrifice, if need be, his life when called upon to do so for the sake of motives more precious than his own existence.
Another important objective of qurbani is to feed the poor and needy with meat of the animals sacrificed. One-third of the meat of the sacrificed animal is distributed among the poor and needy; one-third is to be given to relatives and friends, and the remaining one-third is to be used by the person who made the qurbani. For some poor people this festival is perhaps the only occasion when they eat mutton or goat meat. The skins of the animal sacrificed are given to schools (madrassas) where orphans and destitutes study. This, apart from Zakat or Islamic charity, helps the management of madrassas to meet their expenses.
Qurbani is wajib or a ‘must’ for every Muslim who is an adult and who is mentally sound, who is not journeying and who owns and possesses property to the prescribed extent called nisab, and is free from encumbrances of any kind. In case of silver the nisab is 612.32 grams and for gold it is 87.48 grams or its value at prevalent rate or its equivalent in other valuable goods. It is desirable to offer the qurbani on the Eid-ul-Zuha after the congregational prayers and not before; but if one can not offer qurbani on that day he may do it on the second or third day of the festival. Ultimately the basic objective of qurbani is to invoke the spirit of self-sacrifice shown by Prophet Abraham and to submit oneself to the will of Allah.
Prescribed Work On Eid-Ul-Azha
Beginning from the Fajr of the 9th Zulhijjah up to the ‘Asr prayer of the 13th, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the Takbir of Tashriq after every farz prayer in the following words.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd.
(There is no god but Allah and Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)
According to authentic Islamic sources, it is obligatory on each Muslim, to recite this Takbir after every farz salah. For women also, it is commendable though not obligatory. Whether you are performing salah with Jama’ah (collectively) or on your own (individually) makes no difference. You must recite the Takbir. However, male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice, while females should recite it in a low voice.
2. Sunnahs Of Eid-Ul-Azha
The following acts are sunnah on the day of Eid-ul-Azha:
- To wake up early in the morning.
- To clean one’s teeth with a miswak or brush
- To take bath.
- To put on one’s best available clothes.
- To use perfume.
- Not to eat before the Eid prayer.
- To recite the Takbir of Tashriq in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer.
3. How to Perform Eid Prayers
The Eid prayer has two raka’at performed in the normal way, with the only addition of six Takbirs, three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah, and three of them just before ruku’ in the second raka’ah. The detailed way of performing the Eid prayer is as follows:
The Imam will begin the prayer without Adhan or iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting Takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands up to the ears, and after reciting the Takbir, you should set your hands on your navel. The Imam will give a little pause during which you should recite Thana’ (Subhanakallahumma .:.). After the completion of Thana’, the Imam will recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times. At the first two calls of Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after reciting Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But, after the third Takbir, you should set them on your navel as you do in the normal prayers.
After these three Takbirs, the Imam will recite the Holy Qur’an, which you should listen calmly and quietly. The rest of the raka’ah will be performed in the normal way.
After rising for the second raka’ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Holy Qur’an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three Takbirs once again, but this time it will be just before bowing down for ruku’. At each Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after saying ‘Allahu Akbar’, bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbirs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another takbir for bowing down into the ruku’ position. At this takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku’ saying, ‘Allahu Akbar’. The rest of the salah will be performed in its usual way.
4. Khutbah: The Address of Eidul-Adha
In this salah of Eid, Khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the salah, unlike the salah of Jumu’ah where it is fard and is delivered before the salah. However, listening to the khutbah of Eid salah is wajib or necessary and must be listened to in perfect peace and silence.
It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutbah by recit