Bakrid – Eid ul-Adha

Bakrid/Bakr-Id or Eid ul-Adha was also written as Id-ul-Adha is the second among the two Islamic festivals and the other amid these two is Eid al-Fitr. Being a globally celebrated festival it is recognized by several different names based on country or region.


People from Syria, Yemen, and North Africa call it “Greater Eid”, while people from West Africa call it “Big/great prayer”. In the Middle East, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia it is known as “the Feast of sheep or goats”, hence called Eid al-baqara. This name is also altered and known as Id-ul-Azha, ‘the Feast of goat’ in Hindi and Urdu languages. Since Bakrid constitutes of sacrifice, thus it is popularly called as “Feast of Sacrifice” in Uzbekistan. The Philippines call it the “Hajj Feast” while Nigerians celebrate it as “Big Sallah” (Eid al-Fitr being “Small Sallah”). In India itself, it is known by distinguishable names due to the rich diversity. For some, it’s Id-ul-Zuha while other populations call it as “Baed Eid” or “Baṛi Id” (Pashto, Kashmir), “Peru Nal” or “Great Day” (Tamil and Bengal) and “Bali Perunnal” or “Great Day of Sacrifice” (Kerala, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry). The diverse names symbolize the wide Muslim and Druze population which is involved in commemorating the disposition of Ibrahim (or Abraham), which he showed by respecting Allah’s (Lord’s) command to oblate his son. The basic meaning of Bakr-Id can also be understood by splitting one of its names, “Id-ul-Adha”, in which ‘Id’ means festival, feast, holiday or celebration and ‘Adha’ denotes the sacrifice done towards Allah’s command.

History of Bakrid

The history of Bakr-Id is related to the acknowledgment of Ibrahim’s sacrifice. It is known that while sleeping one night, Ibrahim dreamt that Allah, as a test of his sincerity, wants him to oblate the much-loved part of his life, his son ‘Ismael’. After this, Ibrahim, as a faithful devotee, decided to sacrifice his dearest son who also agreed that his father should appreciate and follow Allah’s command.  Before the sacrifice, Shaytaan (The Devil – Satan) prompted Ibrahim to disobey the will of Allah but he drove the Devil away by hitting him with stones. However, later when Ibrahim was about to slaughter his son, Allah stopped him and replaced Ismael with a sheep. Both Ibrahim and Ismael were admired by everyone an Allah himself honored them with his blessings. The rejection of Shaytaan’s temptations by Ibrahim is celebrated by throwing pebbles or stones towards the symbolic pillars – Stoning of the Devil during Hajj rites. Apart from this, stories from the Hebrew bible state Ibrahim as Abraham, and mentions that his son ‘Isaac’ (Ishaq) was to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah. This is also referred to as the ‘The Binding of Isaac’, wherein the faith of Abraham was tested. All these events lead us to the sacrifice which Ibrahim or Abraham was willing to make despite knowing that it was his son who was demanded to die. This shows the utmost faith depicted by him and this faith is celebrated every year through Bakr-Id.

Significance of Bakrid

Bakr-Id is a salient occasion among the different festivals celebrated worldwide. Many people even consider it more sacred and holy than Eid al-Fitr. The most significant part of this festival is “Qurbani” or Sacrifice which constitutes the anticipation of animal sacrifice. Animals like goats, sheep, etc. are used to symbolize the sacrifice which took place when Ibrahim (or Abraham) followed Allah’s command with full faith. This festival in many ways celebrates the devotion, sincerity, faith, and hope that people have towards the Almighty. When Ibrahim accepted Allah’s command, people marked it as a supreme sacrifice as it involved his son whom he obviously adored heartily. This is the reason why every year people get together to commemorate this pure faith towards the will of Allah. It also marks the end of Hajj during which rites are carried out by throwing pebbles at pillars in remembrance of Ibrahims’s negligence towards Shaytaan mean approaches. The other part which this festival signifies is that no one should kill human souls in the name of Allah, as He himself safeguarded the son of Ibrahim and appeared to honor them for following and proving their faith. This ultimate intervention also shows that the Almighty is our protector and will always love the people who are honest and faithful. Moreover, the sacrifices which we make are just a test of our devotion and internal potential. We should also never doubt that God is not with us as He is always beside us facilitating each and every positive action we take. 

Bakrid Celebrations

The celebration constitutes of many events among which Eid prayers are of prime importance. Devotees get together at the Mosque or Masjid (Place of worship for Muslims) and perform the Bakr-Id prayer after the sun rises and just prior to the Zuhr prayer. The Zuhr prayer is the second prayer among the five daily obligatory prayers for Muslims. Bakr-Id prayers happen on the tenth day of the last month of the Islamic calendar which is Dhu al-Hijjah.

Bakrid celebration

After the prayers, people hug each other and exchange the phrase, Eid Mubarak. The prayer congregation is distinguishable among Shia and Sunni Muslims, but the celebrations are rejoiced with full capacity worldwide. Another aspect of the celebration is the sacrifice of animals, after which the slaughtered animal’s meat is divided into three equal parts, to be cooked and consumed by family, friends, and poor people. While distributing the meat people chant the ‘Takbir’, which is an Arabic phrase pronounced as ‘Allahu akbar’ (Allah is greater than everything). Many people visit each other and exchange delicious delicacies like “ma’amoul” (sweet cookies). People dress in fine new clothes and enjoy each other’s company. The sacrificed animal is called as ‘adhiya’ in Arabic needs to be from a person with appropriate age and standard, or else the sacrifice is not considered fruit full. Bakr-Id is considered the second most important celebration among different Muslim festivals. The celebrations of this festival are remarkably seen all over the world and this reflects that this day truly leads a large population towards faith, devotion, and trust in God.

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