Muslims around the world have begun celebrating the annual festival of Eid al-Adha – the Festival of Sacrifice – which falls on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Muslim lunar calendar.
Eid al-Adha is the second major Muslim festival after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
The occasion are going to be celebrated in most countries on Friday, July 31.
As the coronavirus pandemic rages, many Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria have announced restrictions on public gatherings.
Here are five things to understand about Eid al-Adha:
Muslims believe the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was tested by God who commanded him to sacrifice his first-born son, Ismail (Ishmail).
Ibrahim was prepared to undergo the command, but God stayed his hand. Instead, he was told to sacrifice an animal, likely a lamb or sheep.
The Torah and therefore the Old Testament both recount an identical version of this story.
End of Hajj
The event also marks the top of Hajj, a five-day pilgrimage all able-bodied and financially capable Muslims are obliged to undertake once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage is believed to cleanse the soul of sins and instil a way of equality, sisterhood and brotherhood.
Some 2.5 million pilgrims from round the world flock annually to the cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia for the ritual.
This year, however, Saudi Arabia announced it might hold a “very limited” Hajj due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only about 10,000 people living within the kingdom allowed to require part within the pilgrimage.
Performing extra prayers within the morning are how most Muslims begin celebrating Eid.
Mosques are full of worshippers with outside arrangements made to accommodate large groups of individuals .
This year, however, mosques will limit the amount of attendees, and enormous congregations are going to be banned in many countries to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Sacrificing an animal
The occasion is marked by the sacrifice of an animal that Muslims can eat – a goat, sheep, cow or camel – by those that can afford to try to to so.
In many parts of the Muslim world, special livestock markets are found out for people to shop for an animal for the Eid sacrifice.
This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, numerous apps and websites have appeared in countries like India and Bangladesh, where animals are going to be sold online to limit exposure to the virus.
Distribution of meat
The animal sacrifice comes with a component of charity, because the person paying for the sacrifice is required to distribute a part of it to others.
The meat of the sacrificed animal is split among three groups: the person sacrificing it and their immediate family, relatives and friends, and people in need.
Some Muslims can pay the worth of an animal to at least one of variety of Muslim charities round the world that collect funds for remote animal sacrifices, distributing the meat to underprivileged groups – including refugees, the elderly and disabled people.