Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, is observed by Muslims around the world in commemoration of one of the greatest trials of faith in the life of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham — upon whom be peace). In Muslim and Judeo-Christian traditions, it is related that, as a test of Hazrat Ibrahim’s faith, the Almighty calls upon him to sacrifice his beloved son. At the moment of the sacrificial act, a Merciful intervention spared his son’s life.
The Holy Qur’an says:
“We called out to him, ‘O Ibrahim, you have already fulfilled the vision’ – thus indeed we reward the righteous… indeed this was a manifest trial…”
— Surah 37, Ayats 104–106
The Qur’an refers to Prophet Ibrahim as a Muslim — one who leads a life of devotion and willing submission to Allah — and confirms that many great prophets were descended from him, including Prophet Musa (Moses — upon whom be peace), Prophet Isa (Jesus — upon whom be peace), as well as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family). The notion that divine guidance is vested in the family of Prophet Ibrahim is firmly established in the Qur’an:
“Allah did choose Adam and Nuh, the family of Ibrahim, and the family of Imran above all people; Offspring, one from the other, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
— Surah 3, Ayats 33–34
In Shia tradition and belief, divine guidance, which Allah vested in the descendants of Hazrat Ibrahim, continued in Prophet Muhammad, the last and final Messenger of Allah, after whom, at Divine Command, the authority for guidance devolved upon his cousin and son-in-law Hazrat Ali and vests thereafter in the Imams in the progeny of Prophet Muhammad through Hazrat Ali and Bibi Fatima, the Prophet's daughter.
Through the remembrance of the Prophet of Allah who is venerated in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Eid al-Adha also celebrates the common humanity and ethical heritage shared by the Ahl al-Kitab — the People of the Book.