Eid Mubarak, a traditional Muslim greeting for the holy festival, is trending on Twitter to mark one of the most sacred Islamic festivals, Eid al-Adha. The festival began on the evening of Thursday, July 30th and will be celebrated by millions of Muslims all around the world until the evening of Monday, August 3rd.
Eid ul-Adha, also known as the Great Eid, Feast of the Sacrifice or Qurban, marks the remembrance of the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God. By celebrating, Muslims express their intention and preparation to sacrifice their lives for God.
Here is everything you need to know about the Feast of the Sacrifice.
Islamic Hijri Calendar
The celebration date of Eid ul-Adha is calculated in advance using astronomical data by the Islamic Hijri calendar. The date is based on confirmed sightings of the crescent moon that begin the final month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar.
However, there are date variations between countries as the moon may be difficult to be observed due to weather conditions. Some communities follow announcements made in Saudi Arabia, considered the centre of the Muslim world, while others stick to the moon sightings in their home countries.
Qurbani, or Udhiyah in Arabic
Generally, the Islamic calendar consists of two Eid festivals, Eid al-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. The word Eid in Arabic translates to festival. On both Eids, Muslims celebrate by going to special Eid prayers at their local mosques or spending time with family and friends.
Eid ul-Adha is celebrated by the sacrifice, qurbani, of an animal that Muslims are permitted to eat. The sacrifice can be of a goat, sheep, cow or camel, and the person paying for the animal distributes the meat to their community. Those who cannot buy an animal for sacrifice often make a financial donation to those in a more poverty-stricken part of the world.
Adjustment to Lockdown
In 2020, Eid al-Fitr fell in the middle of lockdown, when mosques were shut, and celebrations were restricted to people’s homes. However, Eid al-Adha falls this week when pandemic’s rules are more relaxed, bringing a more community embraced feeling.
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Pictures of mosques around the world online are already showing COVID-19-secure environments, disinfected markets, parks and packed ferry ports in line for Eid preparations. People are also seen travelling regionally to their homes for the festival.
Priority to Safety
The announcement for reopening of mosques, made by Secretary-General Harun Khan from the Muslim Council of Britain, reassured the importance of the safest way possible for the celebration, adapting to online spiritual development during the pandemic.
“It is of the utmost importance that we do this and continue to worship in the safest way possible, which means maintaining a distance, wearing face masks and taking extra precautions if we are high risk or live with someone who is,” Harun Khan said.
Today, the Muslim leader also criticised the UK government for “shockingly short notice” of new restrictions in northern England that were announced the day before Eid celebrations began.
Khan told the BBC that new restrictions failed to provide clarity for British Muslims. ”Failure to communicate makes it difficult for communities across the country to continue working together to minimise the spread of the virus,” he said.
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