What is Eid ul-Adha?

Eid ul-Adha ('Festival of Sacrifice') is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar.

The festival remembers the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.

When is Eid ul-Adha celebrated?

Eid ul-Adha is a public holiday in Muslim countries. In 2020, Eid ul-Adha will begin on the evening of Thursday 30 July and end on the evening of Monday 3 August.

A ram beside a knife

What is the story of Eid ul-Adha?

Eid ul-Adha celebrates the time when Ibrahim had a dream which he believed was a message from Allah asking him to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God.

The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

How is Eid celebrated?

In some countries, Muslims sacrifice a sheep or goat (in Britain the animal is killed at a slaughter house). The meat is shared equally between family, friends and the poor.

Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers. They dress in their best clothes and thank Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is a time when they visit family and friends. Muslims will also give money to charity so that poor people can celebrate too.

Hajj

Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Adha on the last day of the Hajj. The Hajj is pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. It occurs every year and is the Fifth Pillar of Islam (and therefore very important).

All Muslims who are fit and able to travel should make the visit to Makkah at least once in their lives.

During the Hajj the pilgrims perform acts of worship and renew their faith and sense of purpose in the world. They stand before the Ka'bah, a shrine built by Ibrahim, and praise Allah together.

Aerial view of Makkah
Every year around 2 million Muslims from all over the world visit Makkah for Hajj.

The Ka'bah

The Ka'bah is the most important monument in Islam. Pilgrims walk around the Ka'bah seven times and many of them try to touch the Black Stone located at the corner.

Where next?

What is Islam?
What is Ramadan?
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What is Eid ul-Adha?