Today is the start of a four-day Muslim festival, Eid-ul-Adha.
Eid-ul-Adha is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar. It is a public holiday in Muslim countries, but not a public holiday in the UK. Most Muslims living in the UK are likely to take one or more days of annual leave at this time.
Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Ibrahim’s will to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to. The story goes that Allah ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice his youngest son as an act of obedience. The devil then appeared to Ibrahim telling him to disobey Allah. Ibrahim ignored the devil. When he was about the kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.
This story is also found in the Jewish Torah and in the Old Testament.
Today, Muslims around the world sacrifice a sheep or a goat as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience. It is common to sacrifice the sheep at home, but in the UK the animal must be killed in the slaughterhouse.
Eid-ul-Adha is always a great feast. One of the most important things about the festival is sharing. The lamb meat is usually shared among family, friends, and the poor. Helping the less fortunate is also very important during the festival, and many Muslims donate money to charities during Eid.
Eid-ul-Adha also marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi-Arabia.
Happy Eid Everyone!