Hello friends, for the past two days I was not feeling very well and today I am back to office and also to my desk. Okay, I would like to brief you on the second biggest Muslim festival after Eidul Fitri (after fasting in Ramadhan), which is known as Eidul Adha, The Feast of Sacrifice in Islam.

Eidul-Adha (a.k.a. the Feast of Sacrifice or Day of Sacrifice) is observed after the Hajj — the annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia.

A duty of each Muslim, as described in the Five Pillars of Islam, is to go on Hajj at least once once during their lifetime, unless they are prevented by finances or ill health. “The Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of prophet Ibraham and his family…The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colors, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together.”

In Malaysia, it is more commonly known as Hari Raya Korban or Hari Raya Haji and a public holiday is observed.

Though in Malaysia the celebration of Eidul Adha is relatively solemn compared to Eidul Fitri, by no means it is less important, for it is a day when Muslims reaffirm their faith in God, giving thanks for the many blessings that He has bequeathed to them.

Celebrated about two months after Eidul Fitri, on the 10th day of Zulhijah, the 12th month of the Muslim calendar, Eidul Adha marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage period (about two weeks); hence the name Hari Raya Haji (festival of the pilgrimage).

Eidul Adha is also the Feast of the Sacrifice, which symbolically marks the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Prophet Ismail, in obedience to Allah.

Today, this festival is celebrated in conjunction with the pilgrimages performed by Muslims, called the Hajj and to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s spirit of Qurban or sacrifice.

As in other parts of the world, the Feast of Sacrifice is celebrated for four days in Malaysia. Interestingly, the Eidul Adha celebration is said to be more happening in the East Coast states of the Peninsular Malaysia like Kelantan and Terengganu where the population is pre-dominantly Malay-Muslims.

Like Eidul Fitri, Eidul Adha celebration in Malaysia is a joyful occasion marking the achievement of enhanced piety. Similarly, it is also a day of forgiveness, moral victory and peace, of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity.

In Malaysia, the day is spent offering thanksgiving prayers and prayers for forgiveness at the mosques early in the morning. Then, it is customary for Muslims to visit their parents and relatives where a wide selection of traditional Malay food is served.

The one thing that separates Eidul Adha from Eidul Fitri celebration is the sacrificial ritual (Korban) performed only during this period.

After Eidul Adha prayers, Muslims conduct the Korban where livestock of goats, sheep, cows, bulls, buffaloes or camels are slaughtered and distributed.

A Muslim can offer either a goat or sheep, or one seventh of a cow, buffalo or camel as Korban, where seven people can agree to offer a cow, buffalo or camel at a time. Impaired animals cannot be slaughtered for Korban religious rite, including animals that are blind or crippled.

This ritual is often held at the mosque’s compound where festive mood prevails. Tourist may walk into any of these mosques compound to witness the activities.

The story behind Eidul Adha

Every year millions of Muslims make the journey to the Holy Land of Makkah in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj where pilgrims will perform certain religious rituals and prayers. Performing the Haj is one of the central religious duties of Muslims that is enshrined in the Quran. According to the fifth tenet of Islam, Muslims who are financially and physically able are required to perform a pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah at least once in their lifetime.

Upon completion of the haj, the men earn the title of Haji and the women, Hajjah.

Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple white garments, which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.

The pilgrimage is also inspired by the earlier example of obedience to God set by the Prophet Ibrahim. After the completion of the Hajj, the pilgrims would perform the Korban or sacrifice.

This act is in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his elder son, Prophet Ismail, when God commanded him to do so as a test of his commitment to his faith. God appeared in a dream to Prophet Ibrahim and told him to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismail.

Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail then set off to Mina to perform the act. On their way, the devil attempted to persuade Prophet Ibrahim to disobey God and not to sacrifice his beloved son. But Prophet Ibrahim stayed true to God, and drove the devil away. As Prophet Ibrahim prepared to kill his son, God stopped him and replaced his son with a lamb instead.

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