Dear colleagues and friends, 

Canada’s population comes from all regions of the world. To encourage you to explore our country’s rich diversity, each month we highlight one important date, event, festival or celebration. This month, we are pleased to highlight Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the Islamic lunar month, corresponding to July 20, 2021, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Eid al-Adha is one of the two annual celebrations for Muslims (the other one is Eid al-Fitre). It is also known as the “Feast of Sacrifice” or the “Festival of Sacrifice” as it commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah (God). It also coincides with the culmination of Hajj, the annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

One of the main trials of Prophet Abraham's life was to obey the command of God to sacrifice his dearest possession, his son. As ordered, Prophet Abraham prepared to submit to the will of God. Satan (Shaitan) tempted Prophet Abraham by trying to dissuade him from carrying out God's commandment. Prophet Abraham successfully resisted the temptations and drove Satan away by throwing stones at him. In commemoration of his rejection of Satan, pilgrims follow the tradition by throwing pebbles at symbolic pillars during Hajj rites. God saved Prophet Abraham’s son from harm and instead an animal was sacrificed.

To commemorate this event, many Muslims sacrifice an animal, such as a goat or sheep. Larger animals such as cow or camel can also be sacrificed, and the cost of each large animal can be shared by up to seven individuals. The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three equal portions: One-third is donated to the poor so that they can also celebrate the festival; one-third is gifted to neighbours, friends and relatives and one-third is kept at the household to cook for the celebration. While a number of Muslims sacrifice animals at approved slaughterhouses in Canada, many others choose to donate funds to charities that carry out animal sacrifice in regions of the world where malnourishment and food shortages are common and local populations need fresh meat. Many Muslims also simply donate an equivalent amount of money to local foodbanks and local and international charities.

Eid al-Adha is also a time for forgiveness and compassion, honoring the supreme sacrifice of Prophet Abraham and committing to share their wealth with those less fortunate. Muslims often self-reflect during this holy day and celebrate their gratefulness to Allah. Muslims dress in their best clothes, enjoy traditional sweets and meat dishes, visit family and friends, give gifts and money to children and exchange greetings.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person community, cultural and religious gatherings and festivities have been cancelled since 2020, and community leaders are asking their communities to strictly follow directions from their local health authorities.

On July 20, you can wish “Eid Mubarak” to your Muslim friends and colleagues.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions, suggestions or comments to share.

Stay safe, stay well!


Waheed Khan

President, National Consultation Team