Home / All / Analyzing the Existential Philosophy of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā from the Perspective of Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī

Analyzing the Existential Philosophy of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā from the Perspective of Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā is considered an important and key opportunity to get closer to Allāh. This is a day that people, in the shadow of slavery and servitude, call the obedience of Allāh’s command. Therefore, the command of the Allāh Almighty to “slaughter and sacrifice” on the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā in the land of Minā, includes the sacrifice of the soul and dedication to piety.


It is obvious that knowing the dimensions and angles of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā in Islāmic teachings is one of the undeniable necessities, which should be mentioned as the most important indicator of Muslims’ enjoyment of this goodness and blessing day.Now, in order to realize this problem, it is appropriate to analyze the most important existential characteristics of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā by using the ideas and thoughts of Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī and to consider it as an important and basic step of man on the way of jihad with his soul and the realization of “the greater jihad.”[1] Because many exegetes have interpreted the verse “yawm al-ḥajj al-akbar” as the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, which is the most important day in the days of Ḥajj, and the ḥadīths narrated by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), and the Sunnīs also confirm this meaning.[2] Therefore, with these interpretations, the most important elements of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā should be presented to the dear audience with the deep thought of His Eminence, Āyatullāh Makārim-Shīrāzī, which are:

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā: The Appearance of Reverence to Islām in the Ḥajj Pilgrimage

Explaining the importance of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, especially in the grand pilgrimage of Ḥajj, Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said, ‘Īd al-Aḍḥāh as a special feature that has made this day one of the most important days of divine worship.[3] His Eminence clarified the key role of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā as a symbol of the greatness of Islām and the grand pilgrimage of Ḥajj and said: “We Muslims fast in the holy month of Ramaḍān and repent to Allāh of our sins, and at the end of the month we celebrate this honourable success and celebrate ‘Īd. The pilgrims to God’s House also perform the Ḥajj rituals and after the pilgrimage, they celebrate ‘Īd at the end of the rituals, but their plans are not only for themselves, rather, they create greatness for Islām, and the Ḥajj pilgrimage makes the Islāmic world great.”[4]

The grand marjaʻ of the Shīʻī world considered ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā as a party and feast of God for the pilgrims of the Land of Revelation and said: “‘Īd al-Aḍḥā has been chosen as a feast of God, therefore, during the pilgrimage to the house of God, all pilgrims are guests of God’s feast, which they should celebrate after God’s feast.[5] Therefore, in the opinion of His Eminence, the Muslims of the world, despite not being in Makkah, will take advantage of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā and celebrate this day, which indicates the transfer of the unique effects of the feast of God Almighty in the land of revelation to all Muslims.”[6]

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā: The Symbol of the Great Sacrifice of the Divine Man and the Hero of Monotheism

Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī, while explaining the philosophy of performing a sacrifice in the land of Minā, said: “One of the acts of Ḥajj on the tenth day of Dhī al-Ḥijjah al-Ḥarām is to sacrifice an animal in Minā, and this is a Muslim duty and an explicit obligation of Islām.But one of its secrets is reviving the memory of the great sacrifice of the divine man and hero of monotheism, Grand Ibrāhīm al-Khalīl (ʻa).”[7]

Explaining this sacrifice, His Eminence said, the story of Ibrāhīm al-Khalīl’s sacrifice is that God ordered him to sacrifice his dear son in the land of Mināin order to complete his soul and spirit and prove the merit and foundation of his sacrifice.Of course, this command was for his test and to prove the worthiness of that divine man; Therefore, when he was ready to obey, he was ordered to slaughter a sheep instead of his son.[8]

Therefore, by slaughtering a sheep in the land of Minā, the pilgrims of God’s House keep the memory of his sincerity, the strength of faith, and the basis of sacrifice alive in their hearts, and through this passage, they teach each other a lesson of sacrifice and bravery, and it seems that they are saying that a man of God is someone who sacrifices everything in the way of God – as that great man sacrificed. This is one of the secrets of sacrifice in the land of Minā.[9]


‘Īd al-Aḍḥā is ‘Īd of Obedience

In the opinions and thoughts of Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī, ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā is a clear symbol of obedience and submission to God Almighty. His Eminence said in a statement, on ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, which is the second Islāmic ‘Īd, after performing the Ḥajj by pilgrims to the house of God and completing the main part of this obligation, the pilgrims who are in Minā celebrate ‘Īd, and other Muslims will also agree on them and celebrate it. This is the ‘Īd of obedience.[10]


A Reflection on the Interpretive Foundation of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā

By the Dawn (Wa al-Fajr) on the Morning of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā

The great exegete of the Holy Qurʼān, in presenting the Qurʼānic approach from the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥāand in explaining the word “wa al-fajr[11] (by the dawn) and its deep connection with the dawn of the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, said:The meaning of fajr in the morning is the fajr in the morning on the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā because at that time there is a strange excitement during the Ḥajj pilgrimage. The people present in Mashaʻar al-Ḥarām.They are waiting for the dawn to rise.Everyone is in communion with Allāh.After dawn, they stopped for a while in Mashʻar, then they moveden masse towards Minā. Like a roaring flood and a bubbling spring,they go to Minā to do Rami al-Jamarāt and then slaughter the sacrificial animal (qurbānī), and after that they do taqṣīr. Yes! By the dawn on the morning of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā in which those glorious and unforgettable scenes are created.[12]

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā: Submitting to and Being Satisfied with God’s Commands

It must be acknowledged that in order to contemplate the existential philosophy of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, one should pay attention to the depth of knowledge of the story of Ḥaḍrat Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) during the slaughter of Ḥaḍrat Ismāʻīl (peace be upon him) by referring to the Holy Qurʼān, traditions and thoughts of Islāmic authorities and scholars. The author of Tafsīr-e Nemūneh explained this important and key issue as follows: Ibrāhīm, who had come out of difficult divine trial many times with pride, this time should also take a leap in the dark and obey the command of Allāh and slaughter is child, who has been waiting for him to grow up for a lifetime and now he has become a teenager, with his own hands.[13]

But since the Holy Prophet considered his thirteen-year-old son to have an independent personality and freedom of will, he wants the child to participate in this great battle with his soul, and taste the pleasure of submission and satisfaction like his father.[14] On the other hand, the child also wants the father to be firm in his decision, he doesn’t say slaughter me, but he says do whatever mission you have, I submit to his orders.In particular, he addresses the father with the phrase “yā Abatī” (O my father)[15] to show that this issue does not diminish the feelings of a child and a father and that God’s command is sovereignty over everything.[16]

In his interpretation of the victory of Ḥaḍrat Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) and Ḥaḍrat Ismāʻīl (peace be upon him), Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said: “On the other hand, Ḥaḍrat Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) maintains the level of politeness in the presence of God in the highest way.He never relies on the strength of his faith, will and decision, but relies on divine providence and will, and with this phrase, he asks for steadfastness and perseverance.And in this way, both father and son pass the first stage of this great Divine trial with complete victory.”[17]

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā: Freedom from Lustful and Selfish Desires

Describing how the slaughter of the beloved son of Ḥaḍrat Ibrāhīm, Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said, “Critical moments came, the divine command had to be executed.Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) who saw the position surrender of his child.He embraced him and kissed his cheeks, and both of them cried at this moment, a cry that expressed the emotions and the introduction of the desire to meet God.”[18]

The Qurʼān also says in a short and meaningful phrase, “So when they had both surrendered (to Allāh’s will) and he had laid his down on his forehead.” Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said in the interpretation of this Qurʼānic verse, some have said that the meaning of the sentence “he had laid his down on his forehead[19]was that, he put the son’s forehead on the ground at his own suggestion, lest his eyes fall on the child’s face and the father’s emotions get excited, so it prevents the execution of God’s command. Anyway, Ibrāhīm put the child’s face on the ground and moved the knife.But the knife did not leave the slightest effect on the child’s soft throat!  Ibrāhīm was shocked and moved the knife again, but it did not work. Yes, Ibrāhīm al-Khalīl (the Friend of Allāh) says: “Cut it off! But God “the Khalīl” commands do not cut! And the knife only listens to His command.”[20]

It is here that the Qurʼān ends all expectations with a short and meaningful sentence and says, “We call out to him, O Ibrāhīm, you have indeed fulfilled your vision!”[21] We will give them success in the test, and We will not let their beloved child be lost. Yes, the ones who are all ears to Our command and do goodas far as possible will not get any reward other than this. Then added, “This was indeed a manifest test”.[22][23]

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā: A Reward Ceremony for Sincere and Faithful Servants

In explaining the important points of interpretation in the category of increasing knowledge of what the existential philosophy of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā is, Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said by citing some ḥadīths, “it is stated in some ḥadīths that when this work (testing) was done by Ḥaḍrat Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) Gabriel called out Surprisingly, “Allāhu Akbar,” “Allāhu Akbār” (Allāh is the greatest)! And the son of Ibrāhīm called out: “There is no god but Allāh, and Allāh is the greatest!” And devoted and hero father also said: “Allāh is the greatest, and praise be to Allāh.”[24] And this is similar to the takbīrs that we say on ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā.[25]

The Great Slaughter: The Reward for the Victory of Prophet Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) in the Divine Test

In explaining the nature of the formation of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā and how to found this great Abrahamic tradition, Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said, but in order for Ibrāhīm’s plan not to be incomplete, to sacrifice in front of God and, Ibrāhīm’s wish to be fulfilled, God sent a large ram to sacrifice instead of his son, and leave a tradition for future generations in the Ḥajj pilgrimage and the land of “Minā.”

As the Holy Qurʼān says, “Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.[26][27]” Therefore, God not only praised the victory of Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) in this great test on that day but also made its memory eternal, as He says in the next verse, “and left for him a good name in posterity.”[28] His Eminence continues to say,in the first stage, that God confirms Ibrāhīm’s victory in his great test, and upholds his records.[29] This is a great reward, and this is the most important glad tidingsthat God gave to Ibrāhīm. Then Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī raised the issue of sacrificing a great slaughter, making his memory and tradition eternal and God’s blessing upon him, which are three other great blessings and introduced them as a reward for charitable people.[30]

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā: The Day of Providing Assistance for the Poor and Needy People

Referring to one of the most important characteristics of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī emphasized the need to distribute and use the meat of the sacrificed animals for the poor and needy of society. He said, now we have to see what is the opinion of Islām on these meats of sacrificial animals? And do Muslims have a duty in this regard? To answer this question, we refer to the Holy Qurʼānand we see that Sūrah al-Ḥajj instructs all those who sacrifice an animal in Minā on the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā that, “feed the destitute and the needy,”[31] and also said, “eat from them, and feed the self-contained needy and the mendicant.”[32][33]

Correct Consumption: Completing the Spiritual Benefits of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā

In explaining how to properly consume sacrificial meat and its role in completing the spiritual benefits of Muslims on the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī said in the book of Practical Islāmic Laws, they order that the pilgrims of God’s house should divide the meat of the sacrifice into three parts: use one part for themselves, give one part to the believers and, give the other part to the needy.These clear instructions indicate that the purpose of killing these animals, in addition to a series of spiritual benefits, is to ensure that these slaughtered animals are properly consumed and there is no extravagance in them.

‘Īd al-Aḍḥā and Mission of Islāmic States

Emphasizing the necessity of correct management of the sacrificed animals on the day of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā in the Islāmic world, his holiness said,now the duty of Muslim pilgrims and Islāmic governments is to arrange that these meats are properly used.And this Islāmic duty should be coordinated with its other goals.Today, it is necessary to prevent these meats from being buried in the ground by establishing an equipped cold storage, so that they can be gradually consumed in the cases stated in the Holy Qurʼān.[34]

In the past, when the number of pilgrims was not so large, the meat of the sacrificed animals was properly consumed on the same day.But today, when the number of pilgrims has increased due to the ease of transportation, it is necessary to prevent the wastage of these meats through modern means and to consider the welfare of the pilgrims and Islāmic goals.And it is the duty of the Islāmic governments and Muslim nations to put into practice the Islāmic ideals and to prevent any kind of wastage and extravagance.


The Last Word

In conclusion, Grand Āyatollāh Makārim-Shīrāzī drew attention to the most important dynamic characteristic of ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā coming from the noble teachings of Ḥaḍrat Ibrāhīm in the complete fulfillment of God’s command to execute the Divine command in the slaughter of his beloved son and said, One of the signs of the greatness of this slaughter is that, with the passage of time, it has expanded year by year, and now every year more than one million people slaughter the animals in memory of that great slaughter and keep its memory alive.[35] So, God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’ān, “Peace be to Ibrāhīm![36] Thus, do We reward the virtuous.”[37][38] Therefore, it should be said that ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā is a sign of this key feature that Prophet Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) became an example for all future generations and a paragon for all pious people and lovers of Allāh. And his plan was immortalized in the form of Ḥajj tradition in the coming ages and centuries until the end of the world. He was the father of great prophets; he was the father of the Islāmic ummah and the Prophet of Islām.[39]



[1] Payām-i Qurʼān, Vol. 3, P. 170.

[2] Payām-i Qurʼān, Vol. 3, P. 170.

[3] Statements of Grand Āyatollāh Makārim Shīrāzī, ‘Īd al-Aḍḥā, Imām Khomaynī’s Shabistān (RA), Holy Shrine of Ḥaḍrat Masūmeh (PBUH), November 17, 2010.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Pāsukh Bi Pursishhā-yi Madhhabī, P. 334.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Pāsukh Bi Pursishhā-yi Madhhabī, P. 335.

[10] Payām-i Imām Amīr al-Muʼminīn, Vol. 15, P.433.

[11] The Holy Qurʼān, 89:1.

[12] Sugandhā-yi Pur Bār-i Qurʼān, P, 158.

[13] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 112.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid

[16] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 113.


[18] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 114

[19] The Holy Qurʼān, 31:103.

[20] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 114

[21] The Holy Qurʼān, 31:105-107.

[22] The Holy Qurʼān, 31:106.

[23] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 115.

[24] Tafsīr Qurṭubī and Tafsīr Rūḥ al-Bayān.

[25] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 116.

[26] The Holy Qurʼān, 31:107.

[27] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 116.

[28] The Holy Qurʼān, 31:78.

[29] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 117.

[30] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 118.

[31] The Holy Qurʼān, 22:28.

[32] The Holy Qurʼān, 22:36.

[33] Pāsukh Bi Pursishhā-yi Madhhabī, P. 335.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 116.

[36] The Holy Qurʼān, 22:109.

[37] The Holy Qurʼān, 22:80.

[38] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 117.

[39] Tafsīr Namūneh, Vol. 19, P. 117.

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