Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha: Whats The Difference Between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha
In the essence of devotion and loyalty to religious practice, Muslims across the world celebrate their devotions through the Eid festival. The two most important festivals, celebrated by Muslims around the world are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
While these two celebration festival holds huge spiritual significance, they both mark different occasions and are celebrated in distinct ways.
In this article, we will delve deeply into differentiating between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as well as propelling you through the essence of these two festivals.
What is Eid?
“Eid” as a word is derived from the Arabic word “ʿīd,” which means “festival” or “celebration”. It is a time of great religious significance and communal celebration in Islam. It is a moment to commemorate and express gratitude to Allah (God) for the blessings and guidance bestowed upon the Muslim community.
Eid is marked by congregational prayers, acts of charity, feasting, and the exchange of gifts. Muslims occasionally come together with their family, friends, and the broader community, fostering a sense of unity and goodwill.
Since you are now aware that Eid means festival or celebration, it is now time to understand the meaning of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which will be explained below.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr, often referred to as small Eid by many is a festive celebration of Ramadan (Festival of Breaking the Fast). This festival regularly falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month that follows Ramadan in the Islamic lunar calendar. This festival is observed by participating in congregational prayer in the morning after fajr prayer. In places like the UK, it is observed around 7:00 a.m.
Key things to note concerning Eid al-Fitr include:
Sadaqah al-Fitr: Apart from Zakat which is usually given during the month of Ramadan, Muslims are also encouraged to give a small amount of charity, known as Sadaqah al-Fitr, and it has to be given before the Eid prayer. This act of charity ensures that those in need can join the festivities.
Prayers and Sermons: Eid al-Fitr begins in the morning with a special prayer at a spacious square that can accommodate as many Muslims as possible, followed by a sermon or vice versa. In some parts of the world, sermon is held first before the prayer but the congregation prayer is a central aspect of the celebration.
Eid Feast: In celebration of Eid Feast, Muslims are encouraged to prepare a special family dish, and feast to mark the occasion. One can also invite friends, families, and neighbors. Some Muslims even enjoy sharing food.
What is Eid al-Adha?
Eid al-Adha, also referred to as Eid Kabir or “Festival of Sacrifice,” is the celebration of honor of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his only son Isma’il (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to God. This day falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Key things to know about Eid al-Adha:
Qurbani: This is a central ritual of Eid al-Adha where animals, typically sheep, goats, or cattle, are sacrificed. If you remember in the Quran, it is stated that God wanted to test the faith of the prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and asked him to sacrifice his only son. Later, a ram was used in replacement of the sacrifice when God saw that the prophet was faithful and obedient to his command.
The ram or any other four-legged halal animal killed to celebrate Eid al-Adha must slaughtered in accordance with the Islamic right (Dhabiha), and meat must be distributed among family, friends, and those in need. It is not meant to be eaten alone.
Prayers: Similar to Eid al-Fitr, the day begins with a congregational prayer at the mosque, followed by a sermon. According to Sunnah, it is recommended to fast until one comes back from the prayer.
Charity: Many Muslims donate some of the Qurbani meat to the less fortunate, emphasizing the importance of giving and caring for the community.
Differences between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha
In essence, the major difference between these two festivals “Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha” lies in their occasions and rituals. While Eid al-Fitr marks the celebration of Ramadan fasting, Eid al-Adha commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son and is symbolized by the act of Qurbani.
Although, both share things in common which comprises congregational prayer, charity, feasting, and communal togetherness to rejoice. They both represent the shared values of faith, gratitude, and compassion that unite the global Muslim community.
1: Is it a Necessity to Attend the Eid prayer
For community togetherness, love, charity, and glorification, it is advised to attend Eid prayers, be it Eid aal-Fitr or Eid al-Adha. According to several Islamic schools of knowledge, it is not mandatory but advised to attend Eid prayers, while others believe it is mandatory as it is a tradition that has been on for hundreds of years.
2: Is it Necessary to Listen to Eid Sermons?
If you will be attending Eid prayer, listening to Khutbah which is also referred to as sermon is necessary as it will open the mind to the word of God and serve as a moment of learning more about Eid and its importance. According to several Islamic scholars, the Eid sermon is confirmed as sunnah and mustahabb, which means it is a desired action as practiced by the Holy Prophets.
Bonus Tip: Who can attend the Eid prayer
The hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) urges everyone to attend Eid prayer regardless of age or gender. Both adults and children of both genders (male and female) are encouraged to attend the Eid prayer. In fact, menstruating women should not abandon the remembrance of Allah or places of goodness such as gatherings for the purpose of glorifying and remembering Allaah.
Eid is a time of celebration, reflection, and devotion in the Islamic calendar. While Eid al-Fitr rejoices at the end of Ramadan and fasting, Eid al-Adha commemorates the act of sacrifice and the obedience of Prophet Ibrahim. Each Eid offers Muslims the opportunity to strengthen their faith, engage in acts of charity, and come together in celebration and unity.