*As the CUB website was recently down and Freshers week was in full swing, I must admit that this article is well overdue but just as informative. So, I apologise if the read feels a tad bit out of season, but nonetheless enjoy!*
This year, Eid-ul–Adha fell on September 1st, a month for many students that also marks the beginning of the academic year, as summer reaches an end.
Like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Diwali, Eid is a religious festival which usually lasts for three days in Muslim countries, and is celebrated twice a year by billions of Muslims all over the world from all backgrounds. The first Eid is known as Eid-ul–Fitr which translates as ‘Feast of Breaking the Fast’, whilst Eid-ul–Adha, the second Eid (and also the focus of this article) translates to ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’.
Eid-ul–Fitr is given more recognition because its celebration marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan – the thirty days of fasting observed by , from Fajr (dawn) prayer until Maghrib (sunset) prayer. However, that’s not to say that Eid-ul–Adha is of less importance – it’s just that the religious practises of this Eid are mainly experienced by those performing Hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lives), which was performed by over . Mecca is home to the holiest site in Islam; the ‘Kaaba’, which is also the focal point that all Muslims all over the world pray towards. Hajj usually lasts for about five days, beginning on the 8th and ending on the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah (Month of Hajj), whilst Eid-ul–Adha falls on the 10th of the month.
On this day, Muslims in Mecca and all over the world commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), whose submission to God was tested by him being asked to sacrifice his son, the Prophet Ismail (Ishmael); God acknowledged his obedience by replacing the required sacrifice of his son with that of a ram. Muslims perform Qurbani (an act of worship which requires the sacrifice of an animal such as a goat or sheep), and the meat can then be distributed between the poor, friends and family.
The reason I wrote this piece was because I felt the significance of Eid-ul–Adha isn’t as well recognised. As mentioned earlier on, many people are aware of the thirty days of fasting, which is then celebrated by Eid-ul–Fitr. However, and I am sure many fellow Muslims would agree with me when I say that, Eid-ul–Adha just sort of passes by. There is nothing as obvious as fasting that Muslims do in Western countries, which continues to demonstrate the general approach of this second celebration.
Before I was endeavouring to write this article, I did some research asking both my family and friends about the specifics of Hajj and Eid-ul–Adha, which had helped me to understand the significance of celebrating Eid twice a year.
So, I want this piece to act as a learning tool for whoever reads it, if you are Muslim or not; sharing and exchanging knowledge on a platform like CUB reminds us as students of the diversity at Queen Mary, Britain and ultimately the rest of the world.