Eid Ul-Adha: Experts Share Value Of Sacrifice & Food Donation

Eid ul-Adha (Eid al-Adha) translates to the Feast of Sacrifice and is considered to be the second most important holiday in the Islamic calendar after Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Adha, to be celebrated on June 17, 2024, is also referred to as the Greater Eid and is celebrated on the day after the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage. 

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The celebration of the festival commemorates the utmost devotion of Prophet Ibrahim (Khalilullah) to Allah. History says that this prophet was willing to sacrifice his son Ismail, who was dearest to him. Impressed by his devotion, it is believed that Allah replaced Ismail with a ram (sheep), and the animal was slaughtered instead.

Hence, one of the most important rituals of Eid ul-Adha is the Qurbani of an animal, especially a goat, lamb, sheep, etc. It represents sacrificing something dear to you to please and praise god. The meat is usually divided into three equal parts. The three portions belong to you, your family and friends, and the needy. Followers of Islam celebrating this day often spend time with their near and dear ones, wear new clothes, and exchange gifts. 

To understand the importance of Qurbani and the donation of food, Slurrp spoke to experts across India. Slurrp also spoke to vegetarian Muslims in India and how they imbibe the values of sacrifice and charity without harming animals in the process. Here is what you need to know.

Rana Safvi, Food Historian and Author

Rana Safvi has written books like ‘The Forgotten Cities of Delhi’, ‘In Search of the Divine’, and ‘Tales from Quran and Hadith’. She says, “Sacrifice has nothing to do with dietary preferences. It is about offering something dear to you to Allah. Since actual sacrifice and distribution is difficult today, many people send the price of goat or ram to orphanages and charities run by Muslims to feed children and the needy.”

“For many people, including me, this festival and rituals associated with it are about understanding the underlying spirit of surrender and charity behind the sacrifice,” she adds

Tarana Husain Khan, Cultural Historian and Author

“The cultural and religious aspect of sacrifice on Eid ul Adha is to commemorate Abraham's sacrifice,” Dr Tarana Husain Khan says. “The idea is to feel the pain of sacrificing something you love.”

She is known for writing many books, Forgotten Foods is among them. Explaining why many Muslims donate money instead of giving one-third of the sacrifice to charity, she adds, “In Rampur, we give money to the butchers who do the needful and distribute the meat. It is more convenient. Earlier there were places designated for sacrifice but now these spaces no longer exist which makes everything very messy.” 

Dr Taran Husain Khan says that she has vegetarian members in her extended family who give away meat on this special day because it is an important aspect of the festive rituals. “Several cultural Muslims donate money to charities,” she adds.

Mohammad Farhan, Managing Director at Scuzo Ice ‘O’ Magic

Mohammad Farhan explains that Muslims around the world commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. He says, "The day commences with Muslims gathering in mosques to offer prayers, listen to sermons, and seek blessings. After the prayer, families typically gather for a festive meal, which often includes a variety of delicious dishes. The spread may feature traditional foods such as biryani, kebabs, curries, sweets like sheer khurma, and other regional delicacies."

Since Mohammad Farhan prefers a vegetarian diet, he chooses to offer alternative acts of worship. He prefers to donate clothes, and food, and support the needy in any way possible. He also participates in soup kitchens, organises food drives and volunteers for humanitarian projects that benefit people. 

He shares that many Muslims who do not sacrifice an animal also contribute to environmental causes. “This could include planting trees, participating in clean-up initiatives, or supporting organisations dedicated to sustainable living practices,” he adds.

Ashad Hussain, Head of Public Relations

Ashad Hussain says, “Eid al-Adha is a joyful and meaningful occasion. We start the day with a special prayer at the mosque, followed by lots of warm "Eid Mubarak" greetings among family and friends. It's all about togetherness and celebrating with loved ones.”

He adds that the feast of Eid ul-Adha is quite colourful in his house. It includes mixed vegetables, yellow rice, spicy chole puri, fried aloo, vegetable pakoras, cooling raita, chutneys, and aloo gobi. “For dessert, we make kheer, gulab jamun, and seviyan. These dishes are not just tasty but also a big part of our tradition,” he adds.

Explaining how he and his family imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and charity by helping people in need. He says, “We donate money to local charities that support the needy, like orphanages and food banks. We also prepare and distribute meals to people in the area we live in and to communities that need them.”

Faiz Eqbal, Digital Marketing Manager

Faiz Eqbal says that he and his sister follow a vegetarian diet. Since sacrifice is a big part of festivities, he prefers to donate money or meat-based dishes. He adds that whatever food is cooked at home, it is distributed among the underprivileged. This can include paneer curry as well. 

Actors like Fatima Sana Sheikh celebrate the spirit of Eid ul-Adha by organising food drives. In 2023, she reportedly donated vegan biryani to the Bengali Basti in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. She follows a vegetarian diet and was quoted saying, “I’m delighted to observe Eid ul-Adha with my friends at PETA India. By distributing vegan biryani to those in need, we aim to spread kindness and good health."