The most significant religious festival of Islam, Eid al-Adhuha, is being celebrated today Sunday 11th August 2019, to mark the feast of sacrifice. I would like to use this opportunity to educate the general public about what this special day is all about.
According to the Islamic lunar calendar, which is popularly known as Hegira calendar (which was marked after Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina), Eid Al Adhuha is marked on the 10th of Zuli Hadj. the 12th month, in the year 0f 1400.
According to the tradition of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, it is recommended that the first nine days of Zuli Hadj be observed with voluntary fasting. Even on Eid day itself, it is recommended for one to forego breakfast and only eat after Eid prayer.
During the 10 days preceding Eid Adhuha, Muslims are recommended, by the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), to give more to charity, pray communally in mosques other than privately at home, and do more good deeds.
For purposes of clarity, it is important to note that Eid Adhuha is one of the two major religious holidays Muslims celebrate every year. (The other is Eid al-Fitr, which comes at the end of Ramadan.)
Another important fact to note is that Eid Al Adhuha coincides with the completion of the Hadj where over 900 Ugandans are among millions of pilgrims who travel to Mecca every year. The first Ugandan to make the pilgrimage was in 1920; Sheikh Abdullah Ssekimwanyi. In 1978, over 8,000 Ugandans went for Hadj, but after the fall of Idi Amin’s regime, it went down.
In 2016, then President of Sudan; Omar Hassan El Bashir, through President Yoweri Museveni sponsored 100 Ugandan pilgrims. He had promised to double the number this year, unfortunately, his government fell in a coup amidst uprising.
So, as much as Eid Al Adhuha coincides with the completion of the Hadj, its observance commemorates the prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son in order to demonstrate his dedication to God. No wonder prophet Ibrahim is referred to as the ancestor of all believers, which is a reference to Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
According to the Quran – the sacred religious book of Islam – just as Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son (Ismail), God replaced Ismail with a lamb, which Ibrahim sacrificed instead marking the end of human sacrifice. Instead of sacrificing human beings like sons or daughters, believers began sacrificing animals; sheep, goats, cows or camels.
Ugandans have for a long time been rearing cows, goats and sheep among which Eid Al Adhuha Sacrifices are picked. But due to Globalization, there is a lot of free meat provided by sacrifices of Turkish and Arab communicates in Uganda.
Sadly, as a result of the above, Ugandan Muslims have since abandoned making their own sacrifices waiting for a handout from donors. Many Muslim leaders including the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje and Prince Kassim Nakibinge, the Nominal head of Uganda’s Muslim Community, have criticized this tendency, which they say is even affecting, people’s hard work for household income.
At the pilgrimage in Mecca, animals were sacrificed by pilgrims yesterday Saturday 10th August 2019 at Mount Arafat but elsewhere, animals have been slaughtered starting today Eid Day Sunday 11th2019 and slaughtering and sharing meat will continue up to Thursday, August 15th.
During the morning of Eid al-Adhuha, a special prayer called Salat al-Eid is recited in honour of the festival, ahead of the Dhuhr prayer at noon.
While Eid al-Fitr is known as “sweet Eid”, Eid al-Adhuha is contrarily known as “Salty Eid”. As such, the food eaten during the second festival is predominantly savoury, including the animal which is sacrificed during the observance.
The writer is a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT & National Guidance.