Today, Muslims in Rwanda will join their counterparts around the globe in celebration of Eid-al Adha, otherwise known as the Feast of Sacrifice. This three-day festival is Islam’s second, and most significant, major holiday. The day marks the occasion of Ibrahim’s selfless devotion in response to God’s command, and the manifestation of God’s mercy when he provided a lamb as a substitute for Ishmael—a timeless reminder of faithfulness. According to Sheikh Yussuf Mugisha, the deputy Imam of Gasabo District in charge of Islamic Affairs and Culture, Angel Jibril (Gabriel) called to Ibrahim, “O Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the revelations”, and a lamb from heaven was offered by Angel Jibreel to Ibrahim to him slaughter instead of Ishmael. He says that Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al-Adha to commemorate both the devotion of Abraham and the survival of Ishmael. Eid al-Adha is determined each year by the Islamic calendar, with the month of Dhul Hijjah— the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar—being of particular importance to Muslims as it marks the start of the Hajj pilgrimage. ALSO READ: Five things you need to know about Eid al-Adha Celebration On the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims around the world joyfully celebrate Eid al-Adha with enthusiasm and grandeur. During the Islamic holiday, worshipful acts, philanthropy, and family feasting take place. To commence the celebrations, congregational prayers are conducted at mosques and prayer locations. Gatherings traditionally serve as occasions to emphasise the significance of sacrifice, solidarity, and kindness to others, as well as to behold and express gratitude for the divine gifts bestowed by Allah. After the prayers, families and friends embrace each other and exchange well-wishes. They visit each other's homes, fostering the concept of loyalty and deepening the pledges of their relationships. On this day, Muslims seek atonement, resolve conflicts, and strive for harmony. Mugisha says during the festival, families that can afford to sacrifice a ritually acceptable animal (sheep, goat, camel, or cow) do so and then divide the flesh equally among themselves, for instance, the poor, friends, and neighbours. Eid al-Adha is also a time for visiting friends and family and exchanging gifts. ALSO READ: Eid al-Adha: Muslims urged to grow in faith, participate in country’s devt Muslim families frequently invite neighbours and friends to their homes for communal celebration, and charitable organisations and individuals often organise food drives to support disadvantaged communities, donating items such as shoes and clothing, as well as providing financial aid. Fasting on Eid al-Adha is strictly forbidden. Ritual On Eid al-Adha, there are Sunnahs (the traditions and practices of the Islamic prophet Muhammad that constitute a model for Muslims to follow) to be performed, such as; waking up early in the morning, cleaning one’s teeth with Miswak (a natural toothbrush prepared from the roots or branches of various trees, and bushes) or a brush, taking a bath, wearing the best clothes, applying perfume, refraining from eating before the Eid prayer, reciting the Takbir of Tashriq out loud while going for Eid prayer, and listening to Sermon (Khutba) after Eid prayer. “Muslims start the day with Eid prayers, and afterward, they start slaughtering animals, and sharing the meat with underprivileged friends, and neighbours. After that, they prepare meals to share with different visitors,” Mugisha says. He explains that on Eid al-Adha, it is a must not to eat anything until one comes back from prayers. They should eat from the Udhiyah (the animal that is sacrificed as an act of worship to Allah) if they have offered a sacrifice. “If one is not offering a sacrifice, there is nothing wrong with eating before prayers,” he says. He also emphasises that Muslims shouldn’t offer the sacrifice before praying the Eid Salah. If they don’t, then it’s not considered Udhiya, and would need to sacrifice again after the Salah (prayer). Sacrifice Muslims who intend to slaughter an animal on Eid al-Adha have certain rules to follow such as; the sacrifice of an animal can only be done during the specified dates after Eid Prayer (10th of Dhul Hijjah). Additionally, the animal to be sacrificed has to be one of the cattle approved by the Shariah, which are; camels, cattle, sheep, and goats. A sheep or goat is used as a single offering and is sufficient for one household whereas a camel or a cow can be shared by seven people. The animal to be sacrificed has to be grown and should have reached the age stipulated in Shariah (goat, either male or female, of at least one year of age, sheep, either male or female, of at least six months of age, cow, or ox, and buffalo of at least two years of age, and camel, male or female, of at least five years of age.) The animal must be a healthy one and should be free from obvious defects. The person offering should only have one intention that is, sacrificing in the name of Allah. The animal to be sacrificed must be in the person’s full possession (not stolen or taken by force or in joint procession or held in pledge). Mugisha notes that the animal for sacrifice must be healthy and free from defects in flesh and fat, such as obvious disease, lameness, and blindness, and not have a broken horn, fallen teeth, lean, severed tail, or a foul mouth. The person who intends to offer sacrifice should not remove any hair, nail, or skin from sunset on the last day of Dhuʻl-Qiʻdah— the eleventh month in the Islamic calendar—until the sacrifice is done on the day of Eid. The person should recite the Takbir (Allahu Akbar) at the time of slaughtering the animal. All parts of the sacrificed animal can be used for personal benefit but none can be sold or given as payment. “Seven people can slaughter a cow, or camel as a group, but a goat and a sheep is for one person,” Mugisha notes.