Celebrating Eid al-Adha – Frequently Asked Questions
We will soon be in the final month of the Islamic calendar, in which the 1.6 million Muslims worldwide will celebrate Eid al-Adha. Many non-Muslims are familiar with Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, however this upcoming Eid can get lost in translation.
What is Eid al-Adha?
It is the marking of the end of the Hajj pilgrimage and, importantly, it is the celebration of the sacrifice and devotion of Ibrahim (read: Abraham). Told by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son, Ismail, he prepares to follow His command. However, at the very last minute, he is told to sacrifice an animal instead, saving his son, but having tested his faith and devotion. Muslims therefore use Eid al-Adha as a time to reflect on their own devotion to their faith and how they can be equally submissive as Ibrahim.
How do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?
Across the UK, Muslim families congregate and celebrate, sharing food and gifts with loved ones and the poor. It is a time to donate to charity (Zakat) as well as internal reflection as to how they are practising Islam; it is a time of unity, generosity and reinstallation of faith. At the hart of the festival is the sacrifice of an animal and sharing of meat with community.
How do Muslim refugees in the UK mark this occasion?
Eid can be especially difficult for refugees observing Islam. It is hard to feel the unity and togetherness that Eid brings when you may be many miles away from family and friends, let alone unity with neighbours. Sharing of food and large meals can be difficult when the average refugee in the UK has £5.66 per day to survive on. Reduced circumstances and reliance on charities like Slough Refugee Support, inability to work or claim benefits, means that most refugees cannot share a meal they are dependent on.
Generosity is fundamental to Islam; one of the pillars of Islam (Zakat) is to donate as much as you are able to charity. However, for refugees living in the reduced economic circumstances as described above, they are the receivers of charity. This can be incredibly isolating within the Islamic community, as they are not able to share in this pious tradition.
Why is Eid al-Adha so poignant when discussing refugees?
Eid al-Adha is essentially a celebration of sacrifice; Ibrahim was ready to kill his son out of pure devotion to Allah. When talking about sacrifice, who could better embody this than someone who has left their home, their familiarities and embarked on a journey many do not survive, all in the hope of ideals we take for granted: freedom, health and education? Refugees are not on a journey to improve their economic situation or build assets, not to live handouts and charity. They have sacrificed what little they may have in their motherland in order to build a future for themselves and their descendants. It is by no means a choice, it is by no means a gamble; it is the last available option.
This Eid, when celebrating, sharing and donating, please remember the individuals and families who have made a brave sacrifice in the hope of freedoms we all enjoy.
Please Donate to our hardship fund here, and so help us support refugees and asylum seekers in Slough and the surrounding areas.
 https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/09/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-s-and-around-the-world/ [accessed 10/07/2020]
 https://www.muslimaid.org/media-centre/blog/what-is-eid-ul-adha/ [accessed 10/07/2020]
 https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/information/refugee-asylum-facts/the-truth-about-asylum/ [accessed 9/07/2020]