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Islamic Information

Eid al-Adha and its connection with Hajj

The relationship between Eid al-Adha and Hajj is a hotly debated issue among Muslims all over the world. A small minority of Muslims argue that Eid al-Adha must be celebrated a day after the Wuquf (stay) in Arafa in an attempt to centralise Islam and dictate the Islamic calendar from Makka. The majority argue that Eid al-Adha is not linked to the Day of Arafa or the rituals of Hajj but is a separate Islamic event. Therefore Eid al-Adha must be observed in accordance with local moon sighting. Here is the simple evidence to support the majority view of the Ahl al-Sunna.  

1. When Eid al-Adha and Hajj were initiated.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) initiated the two Eids after observing that the inhabitants of Madina celebrated their two local festivals. He introduced the two Eids as the alternative Islamic festivals. The Hadith recorded by Abu Dawud reports:

Anas ibn Malik reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)came to Madina and saw they had two days of festivity. He asked, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We used to celebrate these days in Jahiliyya. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah  has replaced them with better two days: the day of Fitr and the day of Adha.

There are some reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) offered the first Eid prayer at Madina in the first year of Migration. The more authentic and widely accepted report, on the other hand, indicates that the first Eid prayer was observed in the second year of the Hijra.

Hajj, on the other hand, was made obligatory in the ninth year of Hijra. The Prophet sent Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) as the head of the Hajj convoy in this year . If Wuquf of Arafa (Hajj) and Eid al-Adha were so closely intertwined then they would have been ordained by Allah and the Prophet simultaneously. 

2. Hajj Date Confirmation

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) connected Eid al-Fitr with the completion of the month of Ramadan, namely the first day of Shawwal. Eid al-Adha was connected with the tenth of Zul-Hajj. There is no report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ever tried to find out the day of Hajj or Arafa during his stay in Madina in an effort to make Eid al-Adha coincide with day of Arafa or Hajj.

During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) it was possible to travel between Makka and Madina with ease within ten days. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never dispatched anybody to find out exactly when was the day of Arafa so as to connect the Eid with Arafa. It was quite possible for him to find out when the Moon of Zul-Hajj was sighted in Makka as the Hajj was performed on the 10th of Zul-Hajj. Ten days were sufficient to establish the exact sighting date in Makka. This historical fact proves that the day of Arafa is not directly connected with Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha is connected with the 10th of Zul-Hajj and not with the observance of Hajj.

3. After Hajj became obligatory.

Even after the Hajj was made obligatory, Eid al-Adha remained an independent institution. There is no report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made any conscious effort to find out the Day of Arafa or to correlate Eid al-Adha with the Day of Hajj or 10th of Zul-Hajj in Makka. Had it been a significant religious issue to link the Adha with Hajj then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have made efforts to search for the Day of Arafa in Makka. Instead he went with the local sighting of Madina.

4. Practice of Muslims since the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) time

The Muslim Ummah for the last fourteen centuries has been following this tradition of separating the Eid al-Adha from Hajj. History tells us that no Caliph or scholar has ever tried to search for the Day of Arafa in Makka and connect Eid al-Adha with it. Actually doing so would have been an unsurpassable challenge as Islam is spread across the world and it would have caused undue hardships for the Ummah. That is why the classical jurists have not worried about this issue at all. They seem to be content with the local moon sighting and connecting Eid al-Adha with the locally agreed upon tenth of Zul-Hajj, rather than Makkan tenth of Zul-Hajj.

5. Differences between those performing Hajj and those who are not

The scholars of Islamic Fiqh have clearly established a distinction between the rules and rituals of the Hujjaj (pilgrims) and rules and rituals for the non-Hujjaj. 

For instance Mina is actually classed as part of Makka and falls within its city limit. As such Eid al-Adha is Wajib (incumbent) upon all those in Mina and yet no Hujjaj who is present in Mina on the tenth of Zul-Hajj offers the Salah of Eid-ul-Adha. If Eid al-Adha was the celebration of Hajj and was so closely linked then one would expect the actual people who have performed this spiritual journey to offer the Salah of Eid-ul-Adha - but they do not.

Furthermore, the sacrifice of Eid-ul-Adha is Wajib (incumbent) upon all those who posses enough wealth to satisfy the least condition of Nisab. However, such a sacrifice is not required by the Hujjaj in Mina according to most Fuqaha (jurists). The sacrifice made by the Hujjaj is not the result of them being Sahib al-Nisab but rather by them combining Umrah with Hajj in the Hajj of Tamattu or Qiran. If the Umrah is not combined with Hajj, then even this sacrifice is not required. 

Conclusion

Hajj is the key pillar of Islam and an event of great power and spirituality but this is for the Hujjaj (pilgrims) who are actually performing the Hajj in Makka and the surrounding areas. It is clear that no attempt was been made to directly intertwine Hajj and Eid al-Adha in Islamic history. Eid al-Adha should be marked on the locally agreed upon 10th of Zul-Hajj rather than Makkan 10th of Zul-Hajj.

 

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