For Muslims, these next ten days are the most blessed ten days. Many Muslims all over the world including right here in Brooklyn, will be fasting for nine days. If not all of the days, then definitely on the ninth day of the holy month of Dhul Hijjah. On the tenth day, Muslims will observe Eid Al Adha. This year, that falls on Sunday, August 11.
Holidays in Islam are based on the moon. Since the moon was sighted Thursday night, the first day of the holy month Dhul Hjjah is today Friday, August 2. Dhul Hijjah is the 12th and last month in the Islamic calendar. It is a very holy month, as it is the month when Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Makkah) takes place. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Why are Muslims fasting the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah? According to Islam, these days are the holiest, filled with blessings and a chance for Muslims to get rewarded for their good deeds. It is a chance for Muslims to connect with God, to stay away from sinful things, to pray, to remember, and to worship. It is not required for Muslims to fast during these days. Rather, they do it so they can get closer to God. On the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, which is the Day of Arafah, those who are not at Hajj, are encouraged to fast to repent for their sins. It is said that those who fast on this day, their sins will be forgiven from last year and for the year coming up.
Then, on Sunday, August 11, Eid Al Adha, which is also referred to as the Festival of the Sacrifice, will be observed after the completion of Hajj. It will last for three days. It will be a time where Muslims will sacrifice an animal, usually a cow or a lamb. In Islam, Prophet Ibrahim was so devoted to God that he was willing to sacrifice his son (in the order of God). Just when he was about to sacrifice him, his son was replaced by a lamb. And so every year, Muslims acknowledge that devotion.
Next Sunday, you’ll see Muslims coming out of mosques all dressed up and ready to celebrate. Happy almost Eid Mubarak!