Many of us can attest to the fact that the spirit of celebration during ''Īd al-Aḍḥa is subpar, to say the least, when compared to the Muslims' spirit during ''Īd-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 ''Īd 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 ''Īd. 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 ''Īd-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 ''Īd-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 ''Īd al-Aḍḥa.
Now that we know that the reason behind the lack of spirit of celebration of ''Īd al-Aḍḥa 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 Allāh (subhanahu wata'ala) and finally perform udhiya (i.e. sacrifice an animal for the sake of Allāh). In other words, they would live by the statement of Allāh where He (subhanahu wata'ala) says, “Say: 'Verily, my ṣalāh, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are all for Allāh, 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 ''Īd al-Aḍḥa and truly give this blessed day the right and respect that it deserves.
The history of ''Īd al-Aḍḥa relates back to the time of Ibrahim (alayhi salaam). Allāh (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 Allāh wills, you shall find me patient.'” (37:102). This trial was so great that Allāh 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 Allāh tested him to see how far he will act on the command of Allāh. And to top this off further, Allāh 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 Allāh alone.” It is a part of our tradition that during these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah and on the day of ''Īd al-Aḍḥa 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 Allāh, someone whom Allāh has blessed (as is apparent from the durood portion of our ṣalāh) and a leader of all the nations that follow.
'Īd al-Aḍḥa 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 “'Īd Mubarak” or “Have a blessed 'Īd.” It is as the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “The greatest day in the sight of Allāh, 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 Allāh, praying as a large community, and offering the udhiya (the sacrificial animal).
Some scholars said that the ''Īd 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 ''Īd prayer but rather should make every effort to be enumerated therein.
Sunnahs pertaining to the day of ''Īd al-Aḍḥa:
1. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to do ghusl on the day of ''Īd.
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 ''Īd.
3. With regard to ''Īd al-Aḍḥa, 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 ''Īd prayer walking and come back walking. He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to vary his route on the day of ''Īd. He would go by one route and come back by another.
5. Another sunnah is to say the takbeerat “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha illAllah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillaah il-hamd (Allāh is Most Great, Allāh is most Great, there is no god but Allāh, Allāh is Most Great, Allāh is Most Great, and to Allāh be praise)” when coming out of one's house to the prayer place and until the imām comes.
6. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to offer the ''Īd 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 ''Īd prayer.
8. The ''Īd prayer does not consist of an adhān 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 ''Īd prayer (Tirmidhi).
11. The khutbah after the ''Īd prayer is optional. Abu Dawood narrated that 'Abdullah ibn al-Saa'ib said: “I attended ''Īd (prayer) with the Messenger of Allāh (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‘ā’, congratulations or good wishes with the people at the end of the khutbah. Examples include: Taqabbal Allāh minna wa minkum (May Allāh accept (good deeds) from us and from you) or “'Īd 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 Allāh.” It is recommended to remember Allāh 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, 'Īd Kareem! 'Īd Mubarak! A very prosperous and joyous ''Īd! Taqabbal Allāh minna wa minkum! āmīn, ya Rabbil 'alameen.
Footnote: Information on the sunnahs of ''Īd al-Aḍḥa was taken from www.islamqa.com