In the days leading to Eid al-Adha, Muslims devote time to prayer and
contemplation much in the manner of Abraham as he struggled with
submitting to the will of Allah by making the sacrifice of his son.
“It is an inner reflective journey in reassessing where you are in
your faith practice and commitment and closeness to our god, and how you
live your life as a reflection of your faith, reflecting on where you
are at, and refining and refocusing where your goals should be. We do
what we would normally do the rest of the year but with a lot more focus
and intention.”—Naz M.
“What I have noticed about myself in the holidays is that I’m less
judgmental. I try to be more intentional about what I do and what I say
and how I treat people. That allows you to become more at peace with who
you are and what you have. Everyone is on their own journey with their
relationship with God.”—Yasmin E.
Worship gatherings are an important part of the holiday as people
gather at mosques early in the day to offer prayers together that are
specific to the holiday.
“The way we celebrate is by worshipping Allah in a special prayer for
that festival alone. We say this prayer, then we listen to a short
sermon, which is a reminder of the importance of what we have done and
the importance of continuing to do these things. The prayer is
universal; every Muslim says the same prayer.”—Mirza Yawar Baig
Commemorating Abraham’s sacrifice is also important. Muslims will do
this by arranging for the meat of a ritually prepared lamb, sheep, goat,
camel, bull or cow to be divided into three portions: a third to be
given to charities or persons in need, a third to be distributed to
friends and family members, and a third to be kept and consumed
personally, although many Muslims will contribute that portion as well.
“We try to make it solemn as well as a good community experience to
commemorate Abraham’s sacrifice. It is celebrated as a day of devotion
and commitment. People sacrifice so others less fortunate can be fed. In
past years, our community has donated 2,000 pounds of meat to food
banks in Kansas City, Wichita and Lawrence. In some regions of the
world, families cannot find meat during the year, and the meat they
receive at Adha is the only meat they get all year.”—Eyyup E.
“The sacrifice is symbolic of Eid al-Adha. The thought behind that is
to make sure our gifts to charity get to those in need. For us in
cities where you don’t have the facilities for sacrificing, we give
money and that’s because our religion is based on intention. If your
intention is to give this money toward the sacrifice, then you get noted
for the deed even though you didn’t perform it yourself.”—Sam L.
The day is concluded with visits to the homes of family and friends, a tradition similarly observed during Eid al-Fitr.
Hosts will prepare recipes not specifically associated with Islam but
more food reflective of their own cultures. With an estimated 2 billion
Muslims worldwide, that translates to a wide variety of dishes.
“As with any religious holiday, we have food as a prominent part of
our celebrations. As a kid in Pakistan, we looked forward to eating.
Every culture has traditions and foods associated with holidays.”—Tania
“Everyone changes into their new colourful clothes and gets ready,
people cook, we go to each other’s homes to enjoy delicacies and
conversation. Ahead of time, people in families have already decided who
will host in the afternoon or in the evening and what foods and sweets
they will prepare. If someone here is away from family, friends will
invite them over for lunch and dinner. Our plans and celebrations can
extend for three days as well.”—Sam L.
“These celebrations are a lot of joy, a lot of laughter, a lot of
informality. Conversation happens in small groups as guests come and go.
We usually make visits without a schedule and just call on the way.
Usually, families offer desserts and coffee and/or tea. There is an
expectation of a visit. If someone doesn’t get visitors, they can get
upset and wonder why they are not loved in the community. Younger people
are expected to visit older ones as a sign of respect; not meaning
elderly people but anyone older, even by a few years.”—Eyyup E.