The UAE’s official calendar states that residents will enjoy a public holiday on Arafat Day, as well as the three days for Eid Al Adha.
The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources announced earlier that the Eid Al Adha and Arafat day holidays in all ministries and federal entities will be from Dhu Al-Hijjah 9 as per the Islamic calendar. This corresponds to Monday, July 19, and employees will be off until Dhu Al-Hijjah 12, 1442, corresponding to Thursday, July 22. Official working hours will resume on Sunday, 25 July 2021.
The private sector holidays have not been announced yet.
What is Eid Al Adha?
Eid Al Adha is one of two major festivals in Islam, and is a holiday celebrated by all Muslims. This year Eid Al Adha is expected to take place on Tuesday, July 20, a top UAE astronomer told Gulf News. Because Eid Al Adha is a three day holiday, UAE residents should expect a long weekend.
The Muslim festival of Eid Al Adha marks the conclusion of the pilgrimage to Mecca, known as Haj. At the end of Haj, Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday. Eid Al Adha translated, means the Festival of Sacrifice
During Eid, Muslims remember the trials of the Prophet Abraham. One of Prophet Abraham’s main trials was a test from God, asking him to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismail. Abraham obediently placed Ismail on an altar and took a knife to his neck. Then an angel of God appeared and told Abraham to spare his son because he had proven his faith.
So why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?
During the celebration of Eid Al Adha, Muslims commemorate Abraham’s trials, by slaughtering an animal such as a camel, sheep or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.
The meat that is retrieved from the sacrifice of Eid Al Adha is usually given away to needy people. When you sacrifice during this time, you are doing it to actually feed the poor.
The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts. It also symbolises our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need.
Duties: What Muslims should do on Eid Al Adha?
On the day of Eid, there are some things that Muslims should do in keeping with the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) Sunnah.
- Wake up early
- Have a healthy breakfast
- Take a shower and wear perfume to smell good
- Make sure you are wearing clean and modest clothes
- Perform the Eid Al Adha prayers
- Wish family and friends a ‘Eid Mubarak’
Generosity during Eid
Wish everyone a “Eid Mubarak” (Have a blessed Eid), or “Eid Saeed” (Happy Eid).
It is also a good Islamic practice to call family and friends over the phone, or send gifts.
Remember the true spirit of Eid is reflected in extreme generosity to the poor and the needy. So a Muslim should be charitable as best as he or she can. There’s plenty of ways you can contribute to the less fortunate this Eid, while still staying safe, like SMS donations with Dar El Ber or send a needy family a grocery delivery.
What is Arafat day?
Taking place roughly 70 days after the end of Ramadan, Arafat Day marks the second day of Haj, or pilgrimage.
The occasion also marks the day when a verse of the Quran revealed that Islam was perfected, and when Allah’s blessings were completed.
Mount Arafat is the site where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) gave his farewell sermon. Arafat day occurs the day before the start of Eid Al Adha.
When is it?
Arafat day falls on the ninth day of Dhu Al Hijja according to the ‘hijri’ calendar. It occurs around over two months after Ramadan, which was observed in May earlier this year.
The UAE’s official calendar states that residents will enjoy a public holiday on Arafat Day, which means July 19 will be a day off to observe Arafat Day.
What is done?
At dawn on Arafat Day, many Muslims travel from Mina to Mount Arafat, which is just outside of Mecca. They remain on Mount Arafat until Maghrib prayers. The distance between Mina and Mount Arafat is about 20km.
To complete the Haj, Muslims must stand on Mount Arafat, or the pilgrimage becomes invalid. Muslims who have completed the Haj do so to have their sins expiated. Those who are unable to travel to Mecca for Haj may fast instead.