Quran Focus Academy Blog

What is Eid Al Adha or Eid ul Aza? When will Muslim celebrate Eid Al Adha 2016?

Eid Al Adha is one of the holiest celebrations on the Islamic calendar. The holiday known as the “Feast of Sacrifice” or ”Festival of the Sacrifice”, also called the “Bakr-Eid” represents the end of Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that lasts three to four days. The Holy Quran recommends all Muslims make the journey at least once in their lifetime.

What is Eid Al Adha?

Muslims celebrate this day as a reminder of the time in which Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son but was told by God to sacrifice an animal instead. The celebration symbolizes Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah.

When will Eid Al Adha start?

Up to 2 million Muslims from around the world arrived in Saudi Arabia for the start of Hajj this week. The start of Eid Al Adha is determined based on the lunar cycle, which means the festival falls on a different date every year. In 2016, it was expected to fall on Sunday, But the new moon was not spotted on Sept. 1 as expected and instead was spotted on the second day of the month. That means Eid Al Adha will start on Monday and end Tuesday, Metro UK reported.

How is Eid Al Adha celebrated?

Depending on where you are in the world, Eid Al Adha could be celebrated on a different day. For example, the Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court announced that it would celebrate the festival Monday, whereas other nations will celebrate Tuesday.

Eid al-Adha

Muslims start out the day with a morning prayer and then exchange gifts and food among family and friends. They are required to share their food and money with the poor so they can also take part in the celebrations. Worshippers typically slaughter an animal
like a goat or sheep. Close to 10 million animals are slaughtered in Pakistan on Eid.

For those who make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, they are expected to perform two rituals. The first is a lesser pilgrimage known as “Umrah,” or a journey to Mecca at any time of the year. The second is the main pilgrimage, known as “Hajj.” During
these rituals, worshippers are to circle the Kaaba, believed to be a shrine built by Ibrahim and pray to Allah.

The festival is traditionally four days long, but the celebration of the public holiday varies depending on the country.

Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a sunnah prayer of two rakats followed by a sermon (khutbah). Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the descent of the Hujjaj, the pilgrims performing the Hajj, from Mount Arafat , a hill east of Mecca. Eid sacrifice may take place until sunset on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Hajj 2016: Five-day pilgrimage begins on September 10

The 2016 Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is a five-day ritual beginning on Saturday, September 10 and ending on the 15th.

Hajj is an annual piligrimage to Mecca for millions of Muslims from all over the world.

In 2016, Hajj, one of the world’s largest gatherings, is to begin on Saturday, September 10.

The dates of the pilgrimage were confirmed by Hajj authorities in Saudi Arabia on September 1 based on the sighting of the Moon.


Hajj 2016

On the third day of Hajj each year, Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Adha, Islam’s holiest festival.

In the Islamic calendar, Hajj begins on the eighth day of the Dhu al-Hijjah lunar month, and ends on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. The religious rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage, however, can be completed in five days.

For Muslims, the Hajj re-enacts the actions of the Prophet Muhammad in his “farewell pilgrimage” in AD632, and is a central pillar of the Islamic faith meant to cleanse the faithful of sin and bring them closer to God.

Eid Ul-Adha or Eid Ul Azha

Although only the pilgrims in Makkah can participate in the Hajj fully, all the other Muslims in the world join with them by celebrating the Eid ul Adha [eed ul ud-ha], or Festival of Sacrifice. On the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, Muslims around the world wear their nicest clothing and attend a special prayer gathering in the morning. This is followed by a short sermon, after which everyone stands up to hug and greet one another. The traditional Eid greeting is “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Holiday Blessings.”

Next, people visit each other’s homes and partake in festive meals with special dishes, beverages, and desserts. Children receive gifts and sweets on this joyous occasion.


In addition, like the pilgrims in Makkah, those Muslims who can afford to do so offer domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Prophet Ibraheem’s sacrifice. The meat is distributed for consumption to family, friends, and to the poor and needy.

The Eid ul-Adha is a major religious event in the lives of Muslims.

New Jersey Islamic students see basketball league taking shape

Ibrahim Omar was up before sunrise on a recent Sunday, preparing for “wudu,” his first Islamic prayer of the day. He carefully washed his hands, mouth, nose, face, arms, head, ears and feet. Then he walked into his bedroom and faced to the direction of the “qiblah” in the holy city of Mecca.

Not long after his prayers, Ibrahim got dressed — long basketball shorts, a white No. 9 uniform top and a pair of Nikes — and headed to his game in the Islamic high school basketball league, which is the first organized sports league for Muslim high schools in New Jersey. It’s also a league Ibrahim, 16, helped form.

A junior at Teaneck’s Al-Ghazaly High School — one of about a dozen Islamic schools across the state — Ibrahim said life as a devout Muslim can be serious at times. He studies three hours every night. He has never been on a date because his religion does not allow mingling without the intent of marriage. And he prays five times each day.

So he helped start the league to introduce social and athletic opportunities to Muslim students. The 12-team league is composed mostly of North Jersey schools that play a five-game regular season through late April. The goal is to eventually join the state’s governing body for high school athletics — the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association — and play against other private and public schools.

Maybe one day a Muslim player from the league will play in college. At least now, Ibrahim said, they will have a better chance.


Ibrahim Omar looks to inbound the ball during a game of the Islamic high school basketball league.   John O’Boyle/The Star-Ledger

“We need these opportunities,” said Ibrahim, who grew up watching Vince Carter and the Nets when the team still played at the Meadowlands.Shortly after 8 a.m. on that recent Sunday, Ibrahim and his teammates filed into a non-descript gym at the Parsippany PAL for the league’s first game. Their uniforms read “Al-Ghazaly” across the chest in red letters. Their opponent from Teaneck warmed up across the court and women wearing “hijabs” — the traditional Islamic head wrap — sat on metal bleachers.

“This is only the beginning,” said Waleed Gabr, one of the league’s eight co-founders. “We have a huge vision ahead of us.”


Al-Ghazaly High is a red-brick building that sits in the middle of a tree-lined neighborhood. Between classes on a Thursday last month, students poured into the narrow hallways. Their shoes squeaked on the linoleum floors and locker doors slammed. Girls wore white “hijabs” and dresses to their ankles. A sign written in Arabic over the water fountain read, “bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim,” or, “Don’t forget to say, ‘In the name of God.’ ”

Al-Ghazaly, founded in 1984 in Jersey City without a high school, is the oldest Islamic school in New Jersey. Most Islamic schools are privately funded and cost up to $9,000 per year in tuition. Typically, they teach a curriculum similar to other New Jersey schools, in addition to Islamic studies, Arabic and Quran — the central religious text of Islam.

“Our school, we really have high standards,” said Anas Najib, an Al-Ghazaly senior. “And everyone in the school tries to meet them.”

This is on the beginning. We have a huge vision ahead of us.”

At Islamic schools, cursing is forbidden. Boys and girls cannot mingle outside of their class work. Discipline problems are almost unheard of, Muslims say.

“It’s a more conservative atmosphere,” said Amanny Khattab, the principal at Noble Leadership Academy in Passaic. “There is a strictness. It’s not as open as you would find a public school.”

Ibrahim can walk down the hallways at Al-Ghazaly and name every one of his 241 classmates. He said there are no cliques and students relate with each other.

The bond is made stronger through prayer, he said. Each afternoon between 1 and 2, students prepare for “dhuhr” — the second of five required prayers each day. At Noble Leadership last week, students filled the gym on the top floor of the school. In six lines, about 300 prayed together as sunlight poured through rows of windows over their shoulders.


A first generation American from an Egyptian family, Khattab was a member of Al-Ghazaly’s first high school graduating class in 1992. Growing up, she said many Muslim parents regarded sports as superfluous.

“The majority of Muslims feel like there are so many other things that are important to accomplish other than sports,” Khattab said. “There were other priorities because they were still establishing themselves as immigrants, as people who wanted to be financially stable.

“As a generation here, that is completely shifting. That second generation and even third generation of Muslims now, there is stability in a lot of other parts of their lives, so that you’re able to now say, ‘(Sports are) just as important.’”

Noting that sports can develop character and instill hard work, a group of mostly younger Muslims involved with the Muslim Youth Community Center (MYCC) started a New Jersey 16-and-older basketball league in 2006. The league has grown to 28 teams across three divisions, and a branch of MYCC now has leagues for flag football and softball.

As a boy, Ibrahim tagged along to the MYCC adult league to help keep stats. That’s when he said he first thought to start a high school league.

Playing sports, he said, helps Muslim students relax and have fun. It is also a way for Muslims from different areas to socialize, and it helps young Muslims to get out in their communities.

Some non-Muslims play in the adult league, and the high school league is also open to non-Muslims. There are roughly 400,000 Muslims and a hundred mosques across New Jersey, according to Islamic Relief Worldwide.

“We want to make sure they feel empowered and not discouraged to go out and become a great person in the community,” Gabr said. “We want them to keep moving and not make any excuses not to be a part of the landscape of the general public.”


Ibrahim and his Al-Ghazaly teammates ran the court hard against the opponent from Teaneck. They moved the ball with crisp passes and cheered after big plays.

On the sideline, the Al-Ghazaly coach Maher Abuawad stood shouting. “Get into it! … Set up! … Up top! … Box! … Go, go, go, go!”

Al-Ghazaly built a 38-28 lead late in the second half behind the play of Najib, a guard. It was one of his first opportunities to showcase his talents, other than over local pickup games in Teaneck and Clifton. Abuawad says Najib — athletic and aggressive — has the skill to play at the Division 2 level in college. But Najib, who does not play AAU or summer ball, has never had a way to get noticed by college recruiters.
“I would love to pursue it, and the talent that I have, I would love to showcase it,” Najib said. “Being in an Islamic school, you’re bottled in, and you can’t do that. You don’t have the chance. This league, it’s a big step forward.”Al-Ghazaly went on to win, 48-37, behind 28 points from Najib.

“I can see from them that all they do is study,” Abuawad said afterward. “To have that outlet that they really need — it’s awesome.”

The first day was a success, and Ibrahim headed for his friend’s car around noon with high hopes for the league.

After a short drive, he arrived home to Ridgefield Park around 12:30. Before anything else, he headed to his room for his second prayer of the day.