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Eid al-Adhā and its connection with Hajj


The relationship between Eid al-Adhā and Hajj is a hotly debated issue among
Muslims all over the world. A small minority of Muslims argue that Eid al-Adhā
must be celebrated a day after the wuqūf (stay) in Arafa in an attempt to
centralise Islam and dictate the Islamic calendar from Makka. The majority
argues that Eid al-Adhā is not linked to the Day of Arafa or the rituals of Hajj, but
is a separate Islamic event. Therefore Eid al-Adhā must be observed in
accordance with local moon sighting. Here is the simple evidence to support the
majority view of the Ahl al-Sunna.

1. When Eid al-Adhā and Hajj were introduced

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) introduced the
two Eids after observing that the inhabitants of al-Madīna celebrated their two
local festivals. The hadīth recorded by Abū Dawūd reports:
Anas ibn Malik reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be
upon him)came to al-Madīna and saw they had two days of festivity. He
asked, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘We used to celebrate these
days in Jāhiliyya. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)
said, ‘Allāh has replaced them with better two days: the day of Fitr and the
day of Adhā.’

There are some reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon
him) offered the first Eid prayer at al-Madīna in the first year of Migration. The
more authentic and widely accepted report, on the other hand, indicates that the
first Eid prayer was observed in the second year of the Hijra.
Hajj, on the other hand, was made obligatory in the ninth year of Hijra. Sayyidunā
Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sent Sayyidunā Abū Bakr
(may Allāh be pleased with him) as the head of the Hajj convoy in this year. If the
wuqūf of Arafa (Hajj) and Eid al-Adhā were closely linked, then they would have
been ordained by Allāh and His Messenger at the same time. Instead there is at
least a seven-year gap between the introductions of the two worships.

2. Hajj Date Confirmation

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) connected Eid al-Fitr
with the completion of the month of Ramadān, namely the first day of Shawwāl.
Eid al-Adhā was identified as the tenth of Dhul-Hajj. There is no report that the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ever tried to find out the day
of Hajj or Arafa during his stay in al-Madīna in an effort to make Eid al-Adhā
coincide with day of Arafa or Hajj.
During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), it was
possible to travel between Makka and al-Madīna with ease within ten days. The
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) never dispatched anybody to
find out exactly when was the day of Arafa so as to connect the Eid with Arafa. It
was quite possible for him to find out when the moon of Dhul-Hajj was sighted in
Makka as the Hajj was performed on the tenth of Zul-Hajj. Ten days were
sufficient to establish the exact sighting date in Makka. This historical fact proves
that the day of Arafa is not directly connected with Eid al-Adhā. Eid al-Adhā is
connected with the tenth of Dhul-Hajj and not with the observance of Hajj.

3. After Hajj became obligatory

Even after the Hajj was made obligatory, Eid al-Adhā remained an independent
institution. There is no report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be
upon him) made any conscious effort to find out the Day of Arafa or to correlate
Eid al-Adhā with the Day of Hajj or the tenth of Zul-Hajj in Makka. Had it been a
significant religious issue to link the Adhā with Hajj, then the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allāh be upon him) would have made efforts to search for the Day of
Arafa in Makka. Instead he went with the local sighting of al-Madīna.

4. The practice of Muslims since the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of
Allāh be upon him) time

The Muslim Ummah for the last fourteen centuries has been following this
tradition of separating the Eid al-Adhā from Hajj. History tells us that no Caliph
or scholar has ever tried to search for the Day of Arafa in Makka and connect Eid
al-Adhā with it. Actually doing so would have been an unsurpassable challenge as
Islam is spread across the world and it would have caused undue hardships for
the Ummah. That is why the classical jurists have not worried about this issue at
all. They seem to be content with the local moon sighting and connecting Eid alAdhā with the locally agreed upon tenth of Dhul-Hajj, rather than Makkan tenth
of Dhul-Hajj.

5. Differences between those performing Hajj and those who are not
The scholars of Islamic jurisprudence have clearly established a distinction
between the rules and rituals of the hujjāj (pilgrims) and rules and rituals for the

For instance Mina is actually classed as part of Makka and falls within its city
limit. As such Eid al-Adhā is wājib (incumbent) upon all those in Mina and yet no
pilgrim who is present in Mina on the tenth of Dhul-Hajj offers the salāh of Eid-
ul-Adhā. If Eid al-Adhā was the celebration of Hajj and was so closely linked, then
one would expect the actual people who have performed this spiritual journey to
offer the salāh of Eid-ul-Adhā – but they do not.
Furthermore, the sacrifice of Eid-ul-Adhā is wājib (incumbent) upon all those
who posses enough wealth to satisfy the least condition of nisāb (minimum
wealth threshold). However, such a sacrifice is not required by the hujjāj in Mina
according to most fuqahā (jurists). The sacrifice made by the hujjāj is not the
result of them being sāhib al-nisāb, but rather by them combining Umra with Hajj
in the Hajj of tamattu or qirān. If the Umrah is not combined with Hajj, then even
this sacrifice is not required.

For the pilgrims and non-pilgrims, the opening days of Dhul-Hajj are days of
devotion, repentance and spiritual rejuvenation. In order to gain most of these
blessed days, we must respect tradition. In Islamic history, it is abundantly clear
that no attempt has ever been made to directly interrelate Hajj and Eid al-Adhā.
For a large part of our history, other countries had no means of knowing when
Makka was doing Hajj, purely because of slow communication methods. This
issue has only appeared in the last few decades, with the advent of satellite
television and Muslims becoming aware when the authority of Saudi Arabia are
announcing the Hajj. Eid al-Adhā should be marked on the locally agreed upon
tenth of Dhul-Hajj rather than Makkan tenth of Zul-Hajj.

Dr. Hafiz Ather Hussain al-Azhari
BA Principles of Theology, al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.
MA Arabic and Islamic Studies, Dar al-Ulum Muhammadia Ghawsia, Bhera, Pakistan.
BA Political Science, MPhil Theology & PhD Theology, University of Birmingham.