The feast of Bakr-Id is an occasion to give and to sacrifice. It is a day to thank the Almighty for one's good fortune and to share it with the less fortunate brethren.
Id-ul-Zuha, or Id-ul-Azha, as it is called in Arabic, translates as 'the
feast of sacrifice'. Popularly, Bakr-Id is marked by the slaughter of
animals as sacrificial offerings, after which the meat is distributed
among the needy and deprived.
However, the concept of sacrifice is better understood through an
incident from the Old Testament, which is nothing but an explanation of
the concept of Bakr-Id.
As we look at the historical background of the Id-ul-Zuha, we gain
information that Allah had commanded Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham) to
sacrifice his son Ismail on Mount Mina near Mecca. Ibrahim, unable to
see himself kill his son, blindfolded himself and carried out the
pronouncement of God. When he took off the blindfold, a lamb lay
slaughtered on the altar and his son stood there unharmed.
Ibrahim understood then that this willingness on his part to give up his
only son was what God sought, and not the sacrifice of human flesh and
Thus, the history of Bakr-Id confirms the belief of the devouts that all
God requires of man is a surrender of his will and self. Like Ibrahim,
who willingly surrenders his beloved son to God, a true follower of
Islam is expected to sacrifice something that is dear to him.
The animal sacrifices made during Bakr-Id are mainly to provide food to
the poor and to commemorate the noble act of Ibrahim. This spirit of
sacrifice is what truly underlines the spirit of Bakr-Id. Incidentally;
the day also coincides with the day when the holy Quran was declared
Bakr-Id is celebrated from the tenth to the twelfth day in the Islamic
month of Dhul Hijjah. Every year, while pilgrims to the Mount of Mina
make animal sacrifices as part of the pilgrimage rituals, Muslims the
world over celebrate Bakr-Id in a similar fashion.
Every true Muslim who possesses wealth equal to or more than 400 grams
of gold or is capable of affording two square meals a day, is expected
to sacrifice an animal. A goat (also called bakri, hence Bakr-Id),
sheep, camel or any other four-legged animal is slaughtered during one
of the three days of the festival, and the meat is distributed. The
sacrificial offering is divided in three parts - one for the self,
another for friends, and the third, most importantly, for the needy. The
sacrifice can be offered at any time before the afternoon of the third
Festivities mark the first day, when people wear new clothes, offer
prayers at the mosque, and greet friends and relatives. Special prayers
are offered on all three days. It is said that the celebrations are
carried on over three days to ensure that the entire Muslim community
partakes in the noble of act of giving and sharing.
Bakr-Id is celebrated all over India with much fervour, as it is in the
rest of Islamic world. The name Bakr-Id, however, is most popular in
India. In Arabic, the feast is usually referred to as Id-ul-Azha or