How Prophet Muhammad Celebrated Eid Al-Adha | About Islam
Home > Reading Islam > About Muhammad > How Prophet Muhammad Celebrated Eid Al-Adha

How Prophet Muhammad Celebrated Eid Al-Adha

How Prophet Muhammad Celebrated Eid Al-Adha
Whether a Muslim is a pilgrim performing hajj, or if they are present anywhere else in the world, the days of 10th till 13th Dhul Hijjah are special days that involve the remembrance and worship of God.

Sautéed liver, char grilled steaks, barbecued veal chops, spare ribs, mutton stew, beef biryani, mince kebabs, lamb roast – you name it, and every meat delicacy is there on the menu – jovially prepared and heartily feasted on by Muslims around the world as they celebrate the second Eid of the Islamic year: Eid Al-Adha, or the festival of sacrifice.

The significance of the day of sacrifice goes much deeper in spirituality and more symbolic in meaning than the outwardly widespread hearty feasting on a variety of curried, sautéed, fried, grilled, baked, and barbecued meats by Muslims on the three days after the completion of the annual Hajj every year.

Excellence of the Day of Eid

The 10th of Dhul Hijjah is the Day of Sacrifice, referred to in Arabic as ‘Yaum Al Nahr’, especially by the pilgrims who are in Saudi Arabia performing Hajj. The 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah possesses many virtues: This day, on which Eid Al-Adha falls, is the greatest day of Hajj:

It was narrated that Ibn Umar said:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) stood between the jamarat on the Day of Sacrifice during his Hajj and said:

“This is the greatest day of Hajj’.” (Ibn Majah)

It is also the greatest day of the year for Muslims around the world, i.e. those who are not performing hajj.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“The greatest of days before Allah is the Day of Sacrifice.” (Abu Dawud)

The 10th of Dhul Hijjah is indeed a great day for the pilgrims who are performing hajj because they do a multitude of unique and rare good deeds on this day, continuing to do them in the 3 days that follow it, if all of them cannot be done on the 10th. due to crowding.

These great deeds are: stoning the jamarat, offering the sacrifice of an animal, shaving the head (for men) or cutting the hair (for women pilgrims), Tawaf al-Ifada (the special circumambulation of the ka’bah that is a main pillar of hajj), followed by the strenuous sa’i (walking between the mounts of Safa and Marwah).

Finally, after all these sacred and symbolic rites have been done, pilgrims perform ghusl and leave the state of ihram, which puts an end to all of its restrictions except the prohibition of sexual relations with one’s spouse.

All these important rites are carried out by pilgrims from the dates of 10th. Dhul Hijjah till the morning of the 13th. of Dhul Hijjah.

Whether a Muslim is a pilgrim performing hajj, or if they are present anywhere else in the world, the days of 10th till 13th Dhul Hijjah are special days that involve the remembrance and worship of God.

They are days for expressing joy, and partaking in festivities of eating and drinking from God’s blessings, all the while proclaiming the greatness of God:

The Prophet said:

“The day of ‘Arafah, the day of Sacrifice, and the days of tashriq are our festival, O people of Islam, these are days of eating and drinking.” (Abu Dawud)

Not Eating in the Morning until the Meat of the Sacrifice

The Eid prayer on Eid Al-Adha is offered the same way as it is for Eid ul Fitr. The day begins early with the family taking a ghusl (full bath) after Fajr prayer and putting on new clothes to proceed to the Eid prayer place, reciting takbirs along the way.

However, there is one difference on this Eid, which is called the greater of the two Eids, and that is related to the animal that has to be sacrificed after the Eid prayer:

Abdullah ibn Buraidah said:

“The Messenger of Allah did not go out on the day of Eid ul-Fitr until he had eaten, and he did not eat on the day of Eid Al-Adha until he came back, then he would eat from his sacrifice.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Despite this “Day of Sacrifice” commencing the period of Eid festivities which involve eating and drinking as encouraged by the Prophet, the sunnah of the Prophet for the first part of this day is not to eat anything in the morning before or after the Eid prayer, and to break this short fast only with the cooked meat of the sacrificial animal.

This means that on the day of Eid Al-Adha, if one wants to follow the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad related to this day to earn extra rewards, one should not eat or drink anything until one’s animal has been sacrificed after the Eid prayer, and its meat (usually the liver is the first part to reach one’s hands) has been cooked.

Sacrifice: The Deed Loved Most by Allah on the Day of Al-Nahr

The sooner the animal is sacrificed after Eid prayer on the morning of 10th. Dhul Hijjah, the greater the reward. However, this sacrifice can be done on any day between 10th. and 13th. of Dhul Hijjah.

Nowadays, it is a common observation to see some people, including Muslims, turn up their noses in disgust at the sight of blood and meat that is rampant on the days of Eid Al-Adha, especially in Muslim-majority countries, where the ritual of sacrifice is done openly in public places.

Some Muslims outright refuse to eat this meat because they claim that it gives off a peculiar smell or that they dislike its taste, while others transgress even further and call it a wasteful activity that only incurs expenditure and hardship.

May Allah guide us all to stay away from such thoughts and actions.

This disdainful attitude is extremely unbecoming of a sincere believer, because God has Himself commanded Muslims in the Quran to carry out the ritual of sacrifice happily and enthusiastically, mentioning it directly after prayer in one of the earlier chapters:

{Therefore, to your Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice.} (108:2)

Eating the Meat and Giving It to Others

God commands Muslims to eat the meat from their sacrifices and to feed others with it in the Quran:

{Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor having a hard time.} (22:28; 22:36)

The Prophet liked eating meat, albeit not very often. He openly encouraged Muslims to eat from the meat of their sacrifices on Eid Al-Adha. It was narrated from Aisha that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Eat some, store some and give some in charity.” (An-Nasa’i)

This command was always applied except for just one year in his life, in which he ordered the Muslims not to store the meat from their sacrifices for more than 3 days, but to give away any that was left after those 3 days, as charity to the hungry and poor:

Narrated `Abis:  I asked Aisha, “Did the Prophet forbid eating the meat of sacrifices offered on Eid Al-Adha for more than three days?”

She said:

“The Prophet did not do this except in the year when the people were hungry, so he wanted the rich to feed the poor. But later we used to store even a trotter of a sheep to eat it fifteen days later.”

She was asked: “What compelled you to do so?”

She smiled and said:

“The family of Muhammad did not eat to their satisfaction white bread with meat soup for three successive days till he met Allah.” (Al-Bukhari)

The narrations above prove that while the Prophet encouraged Muslims to eat meat on Eid Al-Adha, he himself did not eat it regularly in his daily life throughout the rest of the year. This should be a lesson for us in preventing the committing of excess in our meat intake.

The narrations above also throw light on the wisdom behind the Prophet’s command not to store the meat from the sacrifices for more than 3 days, during that particular year in which most of the Muslims were needy and starving.

He wanted the facilitation of charity and sharing during that period of hardship. He also wanted all the meat to be consumed in order for food to be abundantly running through the community of Muslims that year, most of whom were starving, the way blood runs through all the veins of a single body to keep it thriving.

Narrated Nubayshah: The Prophet said:

“We forbade you to eat their meat for more than three days in order that you might have abundance; now Allah has produced abundance, so you may eat, store up and seek reward. Beware, these days are days of eating, drinking and remembrance of Allah, Most High.” (Abu Dawud)

Therefore, Muslims should heartily give some of the meat from their sacrifices to others, including their relatives, neighbors, as well as the chronically hungry, poor and needy people in their community. This increases love and brotherhood between Muslims. It is also permissible for them to store it in their freezers for future personal consumption.

Even if one’s relatives and friends are wealthy and are offering their own sacrifices, it is not illogical to gift them meat from your own sacrifice, just because they apparently do not need any more meat since they have much of their own.

Gifting meat from the sacrifice to affluent Muslims is a proven sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. Aisha narrated:

“I was not jealous of any wife of the Prophet as I was jealous of Khadijah, and it was not because I saw her. It was only because the Messenger of Allah mentioned her so much, and because whenever he would slaughter a sheep, he would look for Khadijah’s friends to gift them some of it.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Conclusion:

The Day of Sacrifice in Islam, celebrated heartily on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah as Eid Al-Adha, offers the most balanced and humane approach towards the treatment and use of the animals that God has permitted us to eat.

This is done by offering them as sacrifice for the pleasure of God, in commemoration of the sacrifice of a son that was carried out by Prophet Ibrahim on God’s command, and by consuming their meat, bones, and hides in a balanced and permissible manner, by also sharing it with others.

In a world where people abide by two extremes towards the treatment of animals,- either by avoiding their consumption completely and becoming vegans and vegetarians, or by mercilessly hunting and killing them using barbaric means in order to consume and profit from their body parts, Islam offers the most balanced and beneficial approach.

So in obedience to God’s and Prophet Muhammad’s commands, let us all enjoy ourselves on this Eid Al-Adha by spending its 3 days in eating, drinking, remembering God through Eid prayer and sacrifice of our animals, proclaiming His greatness through takbirs, and rejoicing at the completion of the great obligation of hajj by our pilgrim brethren in Saudi Arabia.


About Sadaf Farooqi

Sadaf Farooqi is an author, blogger and freelance writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. To date, Sadaf has authored over 300 original articles, most of which can be accessed on her blog, "Sadaf's Space" (sadaffarooqi.wordpress.com). She has recently started self-publishing her past articles as non-fiction Islamic books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle (www.amazon.com/author/sadaffarooqi)

find out more!