Monday, August 12th, marks one of the important days in the Islamic calendar. And Muslims across India are set to celebrate Eid-al-Adha, also known as Bakri Eid in India. This day will be marked with feasts and prayers at various places across the country.
“The festival, celebrated to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) sacrifice, is the best time to bond with the family,” says Nusrat Khan Pahade, founder of a Non-Governmental Organisation in India. Explaining the significance of this important festival, she says, “Allah wanted to test the willingness of Ibrahim. He therefore asked him to sacrifice his son Ismail. However, as soon as the prophet touched a knife to his beloved son’s neck, the almighty replaced Ismail with a goat. The festival thus celebrates the father-son duo’s utmost faith in Allah Tala,” says Nusrat.
Besides the prayers and other festivities, a goat is sacrificed as ‘kurbani’ on this day, which is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice. The sacrificed meat is divided into three parts, one for the family, one for relatives and the third part is for the poor and needy.
Nusrat shares her memories of the festival from her childhood days, when her father brought the sacrificial goat much in advance, to be looked after and raised before the sacrifice. “The animal became a part of our family for a few days. We treated it with a lot of love and care, giving it the affection of a sibling. Over the years, we stopped getting the goat in advance,” said Nusrat. Now, even though her family conducts the ritual of sacrifice, the entire meat is shared among the needy and poor. “We can eat meat any time of the year, but there are many who cannot afford to buy it. It is more satisfying to see the joy on their faces when we offer them meat delicacies,” says Nusrat.
Salim Mulla, owner of an event management company in the country could not agree more. “Sharing food is sharing happiness. Moreover, charity is also the spirit of this festival. It is not just through food, we try to help people even by providing other types of help as needed,” he says.
Eid-Al-Adha, a time to pray for children
A mother of two, Nusrat gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Azaan only a year and a half ago. She says this month in the Islamic lunar calendar is also the time to be mindful towards and pray for children. The day falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.
“These auspicious 10 days are to pray that one’s children stay on the path of righteousness. It is a beautiful period for the parents and children to bond,” she says.
Furthermore, as her 8-year old daughter grows older, she has more questions to ask about the legend of Prophet Ibrahim. “It helps the young ones to understand the reality of life. The story is indeed a reflection of life,” says Nusrat. She further adds that it is not just the Muslims, but even those who do not follow Islam look forward to the festival. “Every year many of my friends are keen to join us for the Eid-al-Adha festivities. They especially look forward to relishing the delicacies which are made on the day,” she says.
From Taj Mahal to Hyderabad, various aspects of celebrations across the country
A special Namaz is offered on the day at the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, located in the Indian city of Agra. Keeping the faith in mind, the Archeological Survey of India, will be allowing free entry to the monument from 7 am to 10 am on Eid-al-Adha. The Unesco world heritage monument was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632. The complex, which houses the Emperor’s and his wife Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb, also has a lovely mosque in the campus.
Though the entire country celebrates this festival with great enthusiasm, the grandeur of festivities in some cities are a delight to watch. The Indian capital Delhi’s monumental celebrations are worth experiencing. Considering the city’s strong connections to Mughal history, ancient by-lanes around Jama Masjid, one of the prominent monuments in the country, are abuzz on the day.
Hyderabad, the city which was ruled by the Nizam Dynasty for more than two centuries until 1948, is yet another city which elegantly lights up on Bakri Eid. Places like Secunderabad, Masab Tank and Madannapet come alive with vibrant decorations. Celebrations in the city of Nawabs, Lucknow, are also remarkable. The city, known for its delectable food, has dining spots which are worth visiting and people throng there after offering prayers.