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Eid al-Adha: A Celebration of Faith, Sacrifice, and Community

By Emma Prineas | June 12, 2024

Eid al-Adha, also known the Festival of Sacrifice begins on the evening of Saturday 15 June, ending on Wednesday 19 June; the date of Eid al-Adha is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, so it varies each year.

The festival commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

In the end, God provided a ram to sacrifice instead, symbolising divine intervention and mercy. Eid al-Adha follows the important day of Waqfat Arafa (Day of Arafah), the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage, where pilgrims gather on the plain of Arafat to seek forgiveness and mercy.

We spoke to Gulshan Rasheed from Navitas Skilled Futures who will be observing Eid al-Adha. Gulshan is originally from Turkman, Iran and has lived in Australia since 1997.

  1. What is the meaning of Eid al-Adha?

    It’s a major holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide for three to four days. Most Muslims will attend the special prayers held at major mosques and Islamic centres in Sydney and throughout the world. Muslims usually wear new clothes and some exchange gifts. Children take a day off from school (including college students), and many adults do not go to work.

  2. What is the history behind the religious event?

    When asked about the origin of Eid al-Adha, our Prophet Muhammad, is reported to have said, “It is a tradition that has come down to us from Abraham.”  The Feast of Sacrifice originates from the historic event when Prophet Abraham was commanded by Allah in a dream vision to sacrifice his son, Ishmail. While he was in the act of sacrificing his son, Allah sent the Angel Gabriel with a huge ram. Gabriel informed Abraham that his dream vision was fulfilled and instructed him to sacrifice the ram as a ransom for his son. The story is mentioned in Chapter #37 of the Holy Qur’an. Eid al-Adha enjoys special significance because the Day of Sacrifice marks the climax of Hajj or Pilgrimage, the fifth pillar of Islam.

    This annual pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia is an obligation only for those men and women who are physically and financially able to perform it once in their lifetime.

  3. What traditions do you observe?

    On the first day of Eid, my family and I rise early in the morning to perform prayers. Back in my home country, Iraq, we would usually sacrifice a sheep and give it to people in need.

  4. How will you and your family recognise this holy time this year?

    People visit each other for the following days, and if there is a member of the family preforming Hajj we will be getting ready to welcome them back home. It is a very special time for us all.

    Eid al-Adha is a time of reflection, community, and celebration, marking one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. Through the acts of prayer, sacrifice, and charity, Muslims around the world come together to honour the spirit of obedience and mercy that defines this holy festival.

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