Muslims mark Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest days in Islam
Muslims around the world are commemorating Eid al-Adha, an Arabic word that translates to Festival of the Sacrifice, one of the holiest dates in the Islamic calendar.
This religious holiday is observed and celebrated on the tenth day of Zu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar.
Because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, this date shifts from year to year, moving forward around 11 days annually. This year’s Eid was set for July 20 in some Muslim countries and July 21 in others.
This blessed day has been mentioned in the several verses of the Qur'an and the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his successors.
It honors the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son, Prophet Ishmael, as an act of obedience to Allah’'s command. God provided Abraham a lamb to sacrifice instead.
In commemoration of this intervention, animals are sacrificed ritually on this day and distributed to the poor, as well as to family members and neighbors.
Sacrificing an animal is obligatory only for the pilgrims to the Holy city of Mecca, and it is not obligatory for those who live in other places.
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, pilgrims and other Muslims are advised to make donations instead of sacrificing.
This Islamic holiday existed in various forms before Islam and throughout human history. An example is the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated by Christians.