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UAE’s Eid Al Adha traditions: An expression of community, generosity

UAE’s Eid Al Adha traditions: An expression of community, generosity
17 June 2024 00:43


With the advent of Eid Al Adha, the second of two major Islamic holidays, Muslims around the world dress in their best clothing and visit mosques or dedicated Eid sites to participate in the prayers and practices that differentiate the holiday.

Eid Al Adha falls on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja, a time when Muslim pilgrims complete the most significant part of the Hajj, or ritual journey to the city of Mecca. The holiday period typically lasts for three days, or until the thirteenth day of Dhul Hijja. During this time, Muslim families frequently exchange gifts, prepare traditional feasts, host neighbours and friends, and participate in philanthropic initiatives.

Eid Al Adha calls into remembrance the story of the Muslim prophet Ibrahim, and celebrates the values of sacrifice, obedience, and generosity.

Commemorating the story, many Muslims sacrifice an animal following the Eid Al Adha prayer performed on the first day of the holiday, in a practice known as “Al Udhiya”, after which a portion of the meat is donated to families in need.

The sacrificial animals for the “Al Udhiya” practice must follow specific requirements and the practice must adhere to Islamic tradition, with acceptable animal comprising sheep, cows, or camels. Certain age criteria must also be followed depending on the type of animal.

Moreover, animals must be free from evident defects including any illnesses, birth defects, or signs of malnutrition. The sacrifice period commences after the Eid Al Adha Prayer on the first day of the holiday period, and concludes at Al Asr prayer on the third day of the holiday.

Charitable Institutions

A key component of the “Al Udhiya” practice is the distribution of meat to families in need, a process that is facilitated by numerous charitable institutions in the UAE.

The Emirates Red Crescent, for example, facilitates the process through kiosk or online purchases. The charity’s 2024 theme for the holiday, “Your Giving... Makes their Eid”, advocates for contributions via SMS, bank transfer, or phone apps.

Other charitable institutions that facilitate “Al Udhiya”, in the character of the Dubai Charity Association, Sharjah Charity International, Dar Al Ber Society, and Beit Al Khair Society.

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