As is Christmas known throughout the world, so is the Muslim festival of Eid. 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 calender, 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-Adha 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.
Turn towards Ibadah
If one closely analyses the reasons why Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with more joy and energy compared 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 (pbuh) that encourage increased ibadah during the first 10 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 (pbuh) 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.” (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-Hijja have no match to any other day of the year. Therefore, a Muslim must increase 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, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 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 then those that are done in these ten days. So increase in Tahlil (to say La Ilaha Illalah), takbir (to say Allahu Akbar) and Tahmid (to say Alhamdulillah).” (Tabrani)
This ayah clearly shows Prophet (pbuh) instructing Muslims to indulge in praise of Allah Almighty by reciting different tasbeehat 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.
Sacrifice of Ibrahim:
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.
On the call of Allah Almighty Prophet Ibrahim sacrificed his beloved son Ismail. However, as soon as he was about to slit his throat with a knife, Allah Almighty replaced Ismail with a sheep and accepted his sacrifice. Allah Almighty has made this Sunnah of Ibrahim 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 Ibrahim. 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 Ibrahim. Thus, when such a feeling is developed in the heart of a Muslim, then he or she realizes the true purpose of Eid-ul-Adha and rightful celebration is done.
Sunnah of Muhammad (Pbuh)):
For a Muslim the best personality to follow is the personality of Muhammad (pbuh). 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 (pbuh) and perform the particular thing as Prophet (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) on that particular day. Some of the major Sunnahs of Prophet (pbuh) when it comes to celebrating Eid-ul-Adha are:
- Performing Ghusl 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.
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 (pbuh). If Muslims know and understand the importance of the first ten days of Dul-Hijjah, they try to understand the real meaning of sacrifice as experienced by Ibrahim and if they study the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) pertaining to Eid-ul-Adha celebrations, then they would surely develop the right spirit in which this particular Eid ought to be celebrated.