Many of us can attest to the fact that the spirit of celebration during 'Eid al-Adha is subpar, to say the least, when compared to the Muslims' spirit during 'Eid-ul-Fitr. In fact, the underlying reason for this phenomenon may not be as secreted as we think.

I firmly believe that the spirit of 'Eid is a direct result of the amount of sacrifices we make prior to it. In other words, investing our time, money, and wealth translates into not only self-contentment but also to a successful and joyous 'Eid. Thus, it is not surprising that even though we do not put in as much effort as we should in the month of Ramadan, the little that we do has an impact on ourselves and makes us feel deserving of celebration when 'Eid-ul-Fitr comes around.

I know that sounds deep and complicated, so let me explain. When I strive hard for success in my exams, I feel deserving of a break once my exams are over. On the contrary, there have been instances in the past when I did not put in as much effort in my exams as I should have and the feeling of regret degraded the quality of enjoyment I had during my break. Similarly, our sacrifices during the blessed month of Ramadan instill a sense of pride and achievement within us which inclines us to rejoice and celebrate as we reflect on our feats! This is only because of the esteemed position we have given to the month of Ramadan in our lives that the believers feel as though their hard work is being paid off and they wish to take advantage of it during 'Eid-ul-Fitr.

On the other hand, Muslims tend to undermine the value of first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, whether it be due to a burn out from Ramadan or just plain ignorance of the merits of these blessed days. We forget that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) informed us that the most blessed days of the year are the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah and the most blessed nights are the last 10 nights of Ramadan. Since, we have not given the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah a similar importance in our lives as the month of Ramadan, we do not feel accomplished due to the lack of effort in doing good deeds, and that dampens our spirit of celebration on 'Eid al-Adha.

Now that we know that the reason behind the lack of spirit of celebration of 'Eid al-Adha is the lack of amount of sacrifices we make during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, let us take from the example of  the companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). In the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, the companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would fast, perform extra dhikr and nafl prayers, do extra reading of the Qur'an, be overly generous in giving charity, repent for their sins, show gratefulness to Allah (subhanahu wata'ala) and finally perform udhiya (i.e. sacrifice an animal for the sake of Allah). In other words, they would live by the statement of Allah where He (subhanahu wata'ala) says, “Say: 'Verily, my salah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are all for Allah, the Lord of the 'Alameen' (6:162). Thus, we too need to increase in our ibaadah in the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah just as we do in the month of Ramadan.  Then, and only then, will we be able to enjoy the community celebration of 'Eid al-Adha and truly give this blessed day the right and respect that it deserves.

The history of 'Eid al-Adha relates back to the time of Ibrahim (alayhi salaam). Allah (subhanahu wata'ala) says, “And, when he [his son] was old enough to walk with him, he said, 'O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so look to what you think!' He said, 'O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me patient.'” (37:102). This trial was so great that Allah said in Surah Ss-Saffat (37:106), “Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial. We are all aware that Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) did not actually slaughter his own son, Isma'eel, but Allah tested him to see how far he will act on the command of Allah. And to top this off further, Allah presented Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) with a ram to sacrifice instead. Ibn al-Qayyim said regarding this, ‎”The purpose wasn't for Ibrahim to kill his son; rather it was to sacrifice him in his heart so all love belonged to Allah alone.” It is a part of our tradition that during these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah and on the day of 'Eid al-Adha that we remember the sacrifice of Ibrahim (alayhi salaam), and we reflect on what made him to be the strongest of the believers, a close friend of Allah, someone whom Allah has blessed (as is apparent from the durood portion of our salah) and a leader of all the nations that follow.

Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth and final month in the Islamic Lunar calendar. It marks the end of Hajj, which is the annual pilgrimage of Muslims worldwide to city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is a time to rejoice and celebrate by wishing each other “Eid Mubarak” or “Have a blessed Eid.” It is as the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “The greatest day in the sight of Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, is the Day of Sacrifice…” (Abu Dawud). The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) also said: “The day of 'Arafah, the day of Sacrifice, and the days of al-Tashreeq are our festival, us Muslims, and they are days of eating and drinking.” (Tirmidhi). It is the day when many acts of worship are combined, such as reciting takbeerat exalting Allah, praying as a large community, and offering the udhiya (the sacrificial animal).

Some scholars said that the 'Eid prayer is fard kifaayah (a communal obligation), and some scholars said that it is fard 'ayn (an individual obligation). Regardless of which opinion you follow, it is the day when believers unite and show their strength in numbers as they gather together, so a believer should not neglect the 'Eid prayer but rather should make every effort to be enumerated therein.

Sunnahs pertaining to the day of 'Eid al-Adha:

1.      The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to do ghusl on the day of 'Eid.

2.      He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to wear his most beautiful garments to go out to pray. For modesty reasons, the women should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for 'Eid.

3.      With regard to 'Eid al-Adha, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used not to eat anything until he came back from the place of prayer.  He would eat some of the meat of his sacrifice. If a person is not planning to offer a sacrifice, then there is nothing wrong with eating before the prayer.

4.      And he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to go out to the 'Eid prayer walking and come back walking. He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to vary his route on the day of 'Eid. He would go by one route and come back by another.

5.      Another sunnah is to say the takbeeratAllahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha illAllah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillaah il-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise)” when coming out of one's house to the prayer place and until the imam comes.

6.      The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to offer the 'Eid prayers in the prayer-place (musalla).

7.      He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not offer any prayer in the prayer-place before or after the 'Eid prayer.

8.      The 'Eid prayer does not consist of an adhan or an iqaamah.

9.      The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would start with the prayer before the khutbah.

10.  There are seven takbeerat in the first raka'h and five takbeerat in the second raka'h of 'Eid prayer (Tirmidhi).

11.  The khutbah after the 'Eid prayer is optional. Abu Dawood narrated that 'Abdullah ibn al-Saa'ib said: “I attended 'Eid (prayer) with the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and when he had finished the prayer he said: 'We are going to deliver the khutbah, so whoever wants to sit and listen to the khutbah, let him do so, and whoever wants to leave, let him go.'”

12.  Exchange du'a, congratulations or good wishes with the people at the end of the khutbah. Examples include: Taqabbal Allah minna wa minkum (May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you) or “Eid Mubarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.

13.  The Days of Tashreeq: The days of Tashreeq are the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul Hijjah. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said concerning the days of Tashreeq: “They are days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.” It is recommended to remember Allah immediately after the prescribed prayers by reciting the takbeerat. This is prescribed until the end of the days of Tashreeq according to the majority of scholars.

So from all of us here at Muslim Matters, Eid Kareem! Eid Mubarak! A very prosperous and joyous 'Eid! Taqabbal Allah minna wa minkum! ameen, ya Rabbil 'alameen.


Footnote:  Information on the sunnahs of 'Eid al-Adha was taken from www.islamqa.com

27 Responses

  1. Umar

    Very informative article!

    Could you clarify something please:..

    “…ram to sacrifice instead. Ibn al-Qayyim said regarding this, ‎”The purpose wasn’t for Ibrahim to kill his son; rather it was to sacrifice him in his heart so all love belonged to Allah alone.””

    I’m just wondering if this viewpoint is correct?…by Ibrahim (as) sacrificing his son, it was more of fulfilling Allah’s command, being in absolute obedience to Allah than Ibrahim (AS) giving up love for his son. As I understand, Ibrahim would have still loved his son but was giving up something he loved for the sake of Allah. It is this sincere obedience which we commemorate.

    Still – thanks for your time writing this, and may Allah reward you for your efforts.

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    • Kanika Aggarwal

      Jazzak Allah khair for taking the time out to read this and thankyou for your feedback.

      You are absolutely right in saying that by Ibrahim (as) sacrificing his son, it was more of fulfilling Allah’s command, being in absolute obedience to Allah. You are also right in saying that the love for his son would not have diminished from him after this incident. I feel as though the idea behind this was to purify the heart of Ibrahim (as) to make sure that if ever in the future he has to make a choice between Allah and his own loved ones (who are the most priced possessions to us in duniya), then he would choose Allah. Many a times we are not able to follow the commands of Allah because of what our loved ones would think or how it would make them feel and Allah, subhanaa wa ta’aala wished to cleanse His messenger of this. and Allah knows best.

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  2. Mezba

    Very informative article, particularly about the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah being the best 10 days – I did not know that.

    Some clarifications please.

    1. “He would eat some of the meat of his sacrifice. If a person is not planning to offer a sacrifice, then there is nothing wrong with eating before the prayer.”

    I thought EVERY one has to offer the sacrifice? Can you choose not to do it?

    2. Most of the time it is evening by the time we get the meat of the sacrifice home. So should one wait till then?

    3. “For modesty reasons, the women should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for ‘Eid.”

    Was this really necessary? And also, is it not valid for brothers also? Why the explicit targeting of women?

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    • trez

      If you read the ayah telling women not to adorn themselves outside, you will know why, no targeting going on here.

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    • Kanika Aggarwal

      Jazzak Allah khair for your feedback Mezba. I will try my best to clarify the points you have brought up, inshaAllah.

      1. Every capable Muslim is responsible for sacrifice. In case, a person follows the opinion that sacrifice is not mandatory or they are not capable of making sacrifice, then they may eat.

      2. In ideal situations, the sacrifice would be offered early in the morning and if this is the case then it is mustahaab (recommended) to eat after the sacrifice. In other situations, you may eat before ‘eid prayer.

      3. This was necessary because at times there is a misconception that we have to follow the sunnah and adorn ourselves because the prophet (sal allahu alayhi wa sallam) did so. But there are some sunan that he (sal allahu alayhi wa sallam) performed that women should not follow, to keep Islamic etiquette in mind. For example, the sunnah is to shave head as part of hajj rites but this sunan is not to be followed by women. For brothers, it is sunnah to wear their best garments. But women should wear nice-looking, new clothes that are first and foremost modest in appearance.

      I hope this clarifies it inshaAllah. and Allah knows best.

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    • noor

      umm

      no you don’t have to wait till the evening.. yo can go on and have breakfast..cause it is imposible to get the meat from the animal (sacrifice) early in the morning..
      sacrifice is on the one who also pays zakat or has sm kind of extra wealth.
      on the prayer and not on what girl who passed by is wearing..

      ALLAH KNOWS BEST

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  3. SA

    Salaam,

    I have a question. When women go out for Eid, are they allowed to dress in nice clothing, while it of course being modest. Like for example, can she wear a colored Hijab? Or a nice jilbab? No makeup or anything though…

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    • Mansoor Ansari

      I think the author meant the fashionistas that come out in droves to the masjid on Eid day.

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      • Kanika Aggarwal

        thankyou for your comment brother Mansoor. the “fashionistas” on ‘Eid day are a sad sight to see, subhanAllah.

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      • Mansoor Ansari

        I came to US when I was 18 and I was shocked to see the scene on Eid day. It was just not the appearance but how much flirting was going on amongst the youth, that too at the masjid. The more embarrassment aspect was hearing uncles complementing other aunties on how beautiful, thin & young they look. Creepy!

        But I think now things have gotten better with the youth getting more knowledge, so I am optimistic abt the future.

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      • ansari

        kafni, zabba, kurta , means not allowed any jinz but insan galt ho to dharm ko dosh dena achhi bat nahi he kayu ki islam ne libas bhi batayahe

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    • Kanika Aggarwal

      Wassalam SA,

      jazzak Allah khair for your question. As I said in the above comment, women should wear nice-looking, new clothes that are first and foremost modest in their appearance.

      For a discussion on colored hijab, see this

      and Allah knows best.

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  4. Shamsiya

    As salam aleycum wr wb
    a great write up kanika!! so different from the many others i read! n i absolutely agree with the ramadan n dhull hijjah comparison!
    keep up the good work!!
    sadly in india we gals dont go to masjid for eid prayer :((

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    • Kanika Aggarwal

      walaykumusalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu Shamsiya!

      jazzak Allah khair for the encouraging comments girl :) alhumdulillah, may Allah accept from all of us, ameen! awww make the best of your situation and have a lot of fun on ‘Eid inshaAllah! :)

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  5. sahira

    assalaamualaykom brothers and sisters. i have a question. i wasn’t able to perform eidl adha prayer due to sleep. i woke up realizing that the prayer is over. huhuhu.. is there any rule concerning about it? pls. i need ur advice. im now at my lowest depression :((

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    • Rehana

      Do not get depressed – it is Shaytans way of attacking you. Sometimes we win sometimes we lose. Learn the lesson – its happened now. The purpose of it is to remember Allah swt, the fact you are feeling regret shows a sign of eman – build on that regret, utilise by remembering him, keep reciting Takbeer whereever you go. And dont stop, especially in these three days.

      WSalam, wish you a blessed day.

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    • Kanika Aggarwal

      Walaykumusalaam sister Sahira, I am sorry to hear that! For ruling on making up ‘Eid prayer please see this

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  6. Muslimah82

    Eid Mubarak! Very informative article. We should all put more effort into the first days of Dar Al-Hijjah as we do with Ramadan.

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  7. SHOAIB ALI

    Eid ul adha is eid of sacrifice,and commitment to Allahs orders,May Allah bless us with the same in all circles of life,and help all amongst us,who are helpless,worried,and waiting for his rehmat,Ameen.
    Eid Mubarak Kanika.
    MASHAALLAH u all r doin a Fab job by sharin wit us n lettin us increase our knowledge bout ISLAM..
    JazakALLAHU khiran sister

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    • Kanika Aggarwal

      jazzak Allah khair for your kind comments brother Shoaib. taqqabal Allah minna wa minkum! ameen! Eid Mubarak.

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  8. mohd imran

    Reaching Across The Miles…
    Send Eid Mubarak to your loved ones and let them know that you miss them a lot.

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  9. Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

    As-salamu alaykum Kanika, you’ve highlighted an important and unfortunate phenomenon, and I’ve been guilty of it too. I’ve often wondered why Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated with less enthusiasm than Eid-ul-Fitr, when it is the major Eid. You’re exactly right, it’s because many of us do not sacrifice enough for it. Next year I will make more of an effort Insha’Allah.

    I just came from Eid prayer and it’s funny how focused some of the people are on the food, and they haven’t even been fasting. I remember last year many people jumped up right away after the salat, without listening to the khutbah, so they could get to the donuts and pizza, lol. This year the organizers decided not to give out the food until after the khutbah. So instead I looked over and saw many people standing in line with plates in their hands during the khutbah, waiting so they could get first crack at the food, instead of sitting and listening to the khutbah. SubhanAllah. Deen or donuts? Apparently this is a difficult choice for some.

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  10. Mariam

    You have given me such a wonderful awakening. The first ten days of Zil Hajj are as important as the last ten nights of Ramadan. Heard that a couple of years ago in my 35 years of life but never understood or practiced Zill Hajj with such a required zeal and passion. Jazak Allah Khair.

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