Eid Al-Adha: Feast of the Sacrifice

By Suzanne Hishmeh


This past Saturday, on Oct. 26, the 10th day on the Dhul-Hijjah month of the lunar calendar, Muslims across the globe celebrated Eid al-Adha, one of the two annual holidays on the Islamic calendar.

On this day, a call to prayer is sounded, the streets bustle with cars carrying well-dressed families en route to visit loved ones and well-groomed children smile upon the receipt of gifts, money and chocolate. In Mecca, those who have embarked on their pilgrimage in hopes of fulfilling the fifth pillar of Islam, called Hajj, perform rituals in worship of Allah.

The occasion commemorates the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son for the will of God, an event also recognized as important among Christians and Jews. Usually, the observance of the holiday is preceded by days of fasting and worship, as they are considered to be blessed. On the day of Eid al-Adha — along with a mass prayer, cultural traditions, feasts and charity — Muslims sacrifice animals to symbolize their obedience to God. Many people sacrifice sheep, from which the meat is then sent to poor families as an act of charity.

Muslim students at the University of Massachusetts took part in Eid celebrations this past Friday by performing the group prayers at the nearby mosque. The Muslim Students Association will also be hosting an Eid dinner celebration on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Campus Center auditorium, where they expect to welcome hundreds of people from around the area for an event with food, speakers, student performances, and fundraising for Syrian relief.

Perhaps one of the most widely-valued concepts across the world’s religions is sacrifice. Even if we don’t sacrifice an animal for charity, forgo food and drink during a fast, we all have to sacrifice something at some point in our lives for a greater purpose.

Sacrifice, submission, and humility are the essence of Islam, and on Eid Al-Adha, Muslims combine all of these acts in an effort to worship God and become a stronger community.

Suzanne Hishmeh is a UMass student and member of the Student Muslim Association. She can be reached at [email protected].