Today (21st August 2018) and tomorrow over a billion people, including Muslims in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, will be celebrating Eid al-Adha. It is the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, which is the 12th and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
The day coincides with the Great Hajj pilgrimage, which Muslims are required to perform once in their lifetime if they are able to. Hajj and Eid al-Adha are 2 separate events in the Muslim calendar and as such people performing the Hajj pilgrimage do not celebrate Eid al-Adha.
In many Muslim countries, the day is considered a national holiday, it is, however, in essence, another opportunity for Muslims to excel in devotion and rejoice in the praise of God. The morning of Eid starts with praise of God and prayers at the mosque.
The remainder of the day is spent with family and visiting friends, with feasts organised in every household. Gifts and money are often given especially to children.
Many Muslims will organise the sacrifice of a small animal that symbolises the great act of obedience performed by the Prophet Abraham and his unwavering convictions during his lifetime.
The meat is distributed a third for the poor, a third for the community and a third for your family, again showing this is a time to remember the less fortunate in society.
As a Muslim the day before Eid al-Adha, Muslims reflect upon a sermon (often referred to as ‘The Final Sermon’) given by the Prophet Muhammad on the 9th Dhul Hijjah. In it the Prophet Muhammad advocates equality among human beings and the end to injustices within societies, a remarkable speech given to thousands of people over 1400 years ago.
A speech that re-energises the soul going into the 10th day of the month, Eid al-Adha, and indeed the rest of the year.