I don’t know how many of you already knew about Eid-Al-Fitr & Eid-Al-Adha. But I will be honest I never knew that there are 2 Eid celebrations in a year. I recently befriended Bree Hodge from New York who is doing research on Indian Culture. She came to visit India last week and saw some hoarding that was selling Biryani with “Happy Eid” greetings. She then asked me where can she have some authentic Biryani. So, I took her to Old Delhi at Karim’s – the world famous Biryani center. As that place is quite close to Jama Masjid, we heard the “Azaan”. So, one thing led to another with the discussion finally turning towards the topic of Eid celebrations.
We got to know that a Maulvi resides nearby and couldn’t resist the urge to know more. We went ahead and knocked on his door. He helped us with understanding the exact difference between Eid Al Adha & Eid Al Fitr. As it is the month of Ramadan, I thought of sharing this information with you all.
Eid-Al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of the Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. This Eid was first celebrated in 624 CE by Prophet Mohammad. This festival begins when a new moon is identified in the sky. The Imam of the mosques officially announces the “Eid ka Chand”.
All through the month of Ramadan, the Muslims keep themselves in a strict routine. They fast from sunrise to moonrise and pray 5 times a day. The significance of Ramadan is that it is a way of thanking Allah and also achieving self-control or self-restraint. On the day of Eid-Al-Fitr, people who are celebrating will put on new clothes, decorate their homes and enjoy a fabulous meal with their near & dear ones.
Another significance of Eid-ul-Fitr is that people also perform charity during this festival. Eid-Al-Fitr is also the time for forgiveness & unity and that’s why people invite each other to spend their time together while creating memories. Food like biryani, kebabs and sharbats are served to the guests.
On the other hand, Eid-Al-Adha is known as “Feast of Sacrifice” or “Greater Eid”. People celebrate the devotion of Prophet Ibrahim. Prophet Ibrahim actually sacrificed his son as an act of obedience to God. Thus, this Eid is considered holier than the other one. To this phrase, Bree asked Maulvi “How can a father sacrificed his own son?”
To which the Maulvi narrated a short story: “One night Ibrahim had a dream in which he heard Allah asking him to sacrifice Ismail. Ismail was the beloved son of Prophet Ibrahim. Initially, Ibrahim thought that it is the devil who is playing tricks on him and so he disregarded the dream. But, the very next night, he saw the same dream. So, he came to understand that this is not some kind of mockery, in fact, it is a message from God. Ibrahim took Ismail to Mount Arafat along with a knife & rope. After reaching the spot, Ibrahim told his son about the command of God. Ismail, being the obedient child, obliged and asked his father to tie his hands and legs so that he doesn’t struggle much. He also requested his father to blindfold himself so that he doesn’t have to go through the pain of watching his son suffer.
Ibrahim then followed what Ismail told him. Now, when he removed his blindfold, he saw a dead ram in front of him instead of his son. Ismail was standing unharmed next to him. First, he thought that there is something terribly wrong but then a voice whispered in his ears “Allah looks after his followers and that he need not worry”. So, this whole dream and Ibrahim taking Ismail to the mountain to kill him was a test conducted by Allah. And Ibrahim passed this test. He proved that he is completely devoted to Allah.”
Both I and Bree had goosebumps after Maulvi’s narration. It is a delightful story of love, worship, dedication, devotion, and faith.
Now as there was a mention of ram mentioned in the story of Ibrahim & Ismail, during Eid-Al-Adha, goat, sheep, or cow is sacrificed. Before slaughtering the animal, it is blindfolded. The meat is then divided into three parts. One part is distributed among the poor and needy and this is called charity. One part is given to relatives, neighbors, and friends. The remaining 1/3rd is consumed by the family members.
I cannot thank Bree enough. If it wasn’t for her, I would have remained ignorant about the two types of Eid celebrations. So, this year, I will enjoy my “National Holidays” more on 5th June (Eid-Al-Fitr) & 12th August (Eid-Al-Adha). Thanks to Bree!!
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