New Delhi, Aug 31: Eid al-Adha, also known as Id-ul-Adha or Bakrid or Bakra Eid, is one of the two main festivals in Islam. Muslims around the world observe Eid al-Adha on the 10th day of Islamic month Dhu al-Hijjah. The festival assumes religious and historical significance as it honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismael, as an act of obedience to Allah’s command. Muslims sacrifice domestic animals (camel, goat, sheep, buffalo, bullock or ram) in remembrance of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to please Allah.

The significance of Eid al-Adha: According to Islamic history, in his life as a prophet, Ibrahim went through several tests by Allah. One of the main trials of his life was to face the command of Allah to sacrifice his dearest possession. Upon hearing this command, Ibrahim prepared to submit to the will of Allah and decided to sacrifice his son Ismael. When he was on his way to sacrifice his son, Shaitan or Satan (the Devil) tempted Ibrahim by trying to dissuade them from carrying out Allah’s commandment. However, Ibrahim drove Satan away by pelting stones at him. In commemoration of his rejection of Satan, Muslims throw stones at symbolic pillars used during the Stoning of the Devil as Hajj rites. (ALSO READ: When is Eid al-Adha in India, Pakistan, Middle East And Other Western Countries)

It is believed that when Ibrahim attempted to slit the throat of his son Ismael, the God replaced the boy with a ram. The animal was slaughtered and Ismael was unharmed. In this way, Ibrahim had passed the test by his willingness to carry out Allah’s command.

Why Muslims Sacrifice Animals on Eid al-Adha and Other Facts

In commemoration of Ibrahim and Ismael’s act of obedience to God’s command, Muslims sacrifice some domestic animals. Only those Muslims who can afford to rear/buy an animal are supposed to perform this ritual. Anyone who intends to do the slaughter has to follow certain rules. The animal has to be one of the cattle approved by the Shari’ah. (ALSO READ: RSS-linked Muslim clerics pledge no cow slaughter on Bakra Eid)

One of the requirements is that the animal should have crossed the adult age. The animal shouldn’t be sick or disabled. It shouldn’t be mistreated during its life.

An animal is sacrificed and its meat is divided into three parts: the family retains one-third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy. No part of the slaughter can be sold or given as payment.