Eid al-Adha (عید الأضحی)


Eid al-Aḍḥā (Arabic: عید الأضحی) is one of the greatest eids of Islam which is celebrated on Dhu l-Hijja 10. According to hadiths, this is the day on which, the divine command for prophet Ibrahim (a) to sacrifice his son, Isma’il (a), was issued. He took Isma’il (a) to an altar and was about to fulfill the divine command when Jabra’il (Gabriel) came down with a ram and Ibrahim (a) sacrificed the ram instead. The traditional rite of offering sacrifice on Eid al-Adha in the desert of Mina, is a commemoration of that event. Muslims who go to hajj, perform the rituals of Mina, including offering a sacrifice.


There is a lot of emphasis on performing acts of worship on the eve and day of Eid al-Adha. Also, observing a vigil and spending the night in prayer and worship is specially recommended. On the day, rituals like: ghusl, the Eid Prayer, offering sacrifice, ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (a), and recitation of al-Nudba Supplication are recommended. Like Eid al-Fitr, fasting on Eid al-Adha is forbidden.

This Eid is one of the official holidays in Islamic calendar. In all Muslim countries, the Eid itself—and sometimes the following days up to one week—are official holidays and various public ceremonies are held to celebrate the Eid.

History of Sacrifice

Main article: Sacrifice of Isma’il

In the vision he had, prophet Abraham (a) was commanded to sacrifice his son. At the time of sacrifice, Ibrahim (a) put the forehead of his son on earth and placed a knife on his throat, but the knife would not cut Isma’il’s throat. When both of them, father and son, showed their complete and sincere submission to the will of God, God accepted their sacrifice and instead of his son, Ibrahim (a) sacrificed a ram which was brought by Jabra’il.

Worshipping Rituals on the Eve of Eid al-Adha

It’s been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) from his forefathers (a) that “Imam Ali (a) liked to make himself free in four nights of the year: the first night of Rajab, the night at the middle of Sha’ban, the nights of Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.” It seems that ‘to make free’ in the narration means to abandon other works in order to observe worshipping vigil at these nights. Also, Ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (a) is recommended on the night and day of Eid al-Adha.

Rituals of the Day of Eid al-Adha

The day of Eid al-Adha is a respected day. Some of the recommended rituals and practices of this day are as follows:

  • Doing ghusl (ritual bath): according to al-Majlisi, doing ghusl on the day of Eid al-Adha is highly recommended (mustahab), to the point that some scholars have deemed it as obligatory (wajib).
  • Eid Prayer: this prayer is obligatory at the time of presence of Infallible Imams (a); but according to the famous viewpoint among Shi’a scholars,in the era of occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) is a stressed recommended – be it in person or congregation.
  • It is recommended to recite the supplications that have been narrated, before the start of Eid Prayer. The best among these supplications is the 48th supplication of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, which starts with: O God, this is a blessed and fortunate day …; it is better to recite the 46th supplication as well.
  • Du’a al-Nudba: reciting the supplication of al-Nudba on this day and all other Islamic Eids, is recommended.
  • Offering Sacrifice: it is compulsory upon those participating in hajj; but also is greatly recommended for all Muslims on this day to offer a sacrifice in so much as some of the scholars have deemed it as obligatory upon those who have enough (financial) capability. It is recommended to prepare a meal by a part of its meat and eat after the Eid prayer. During the time of sacrifice, it is recommended to recite this supplication that has been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a):

Indeed I have turned my face toward Him who originated the heavens and the earth, as a hanif and Muslim, and I am not one of the polytheists, Indeed my prayer and my ritual, my life and my death are for the sake of God, the Lord of all the worlds. He has no partner, and this [creed] I have been commanded [to follow], and I am one of the Muslims. O God, from you and for your sake, in the Name of God and God is great, O God, accept this from me.

  • The famous Takbirs of this Eid should be recited: those who are present in the desert of Mina on this day, must recite these Takbirs after 15 daily prayers, starting from the noon prayer on the day of Eid and ending in dawn prayer of the 13th of Dhu al-Hijja; however, those who are not present in the desert of Mina on Eid’s day, recite the Takbirs after ten daily prayers, starting from noon prayer of Eid’s day, to the dawn prayer of the 12th of Dhu al-Hijja. These Takbirs, according to the report of al-Kafi are as follows:

اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، لا اِلـهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ وَ اللهُ اَكْبَر اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، و للهِ الْحَمْدُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما هَدانا ااَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما رَزَقَنا مِنْ بَهیمَةِ الانعامِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی ما أبْلانا

“Allah is great, Allah is great, there’s no god but Allah and Allah is great, To Allah be the praise, Allah is great for He has guided us, Allah is great for he has given us sustenance from cattle, Praise be to Allah for He has tested us.”

  • Ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (a)

Ruling of Fast on Eid al-Adha

Like Eid al-Fitr, fasting on Eid al-Adha is forbidden.

Sacrifice as One of Hajj Rituals

Mina is a desert near Mecca, to which pilgrims go in the morning of Eid al-Adha. The rituals in the desert of Mina are three:

  1. Ramy (Throwing stones) at Jamaras
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Halq (shaving one’s hair) and Taqsir (cutting a little of the hair and the fingernails)

Offering sacrifice is after Ramy of Jamara al-Aqaba.

Eid al-Adha in Islamic Countries

Eid al-Adha is one of the official holidays in Islamic calendar. In all Muslim countries, the Eid itself, and sometimes the following days up to one week, are official holydays and various public ceremonies are held to celebrate the Eid. To celebrate Eid al-Adha, one day is an official holiday in Islamic Republic of Iran.