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The festival of Id al-adha

To consider the important Muslim festival of Id al-Adha and to look at how it is celebrated.

by Jude Scrutton

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To consider the important Muslim festival of Id al-Adha and to look at how it is celebrated.

Preparation and materials

  • The song about Id, ‘Let us rejoice indeed’, is on (see ‘Time for reflection’). You may wish to project the words.
  • Flip-chart (see section 1).
  • For the Ibrahim and Isma’il story in the Qur’an, see
    (Note: the man whom the Islamic faith calls Ibrahim is known as Abraham in the Judaeo/Christian traditions. Isma’il is known as Ishmael in the Judaeo/Christian traditions. People believed that dreams were sometimes messages from God.)
  • Prepare a two-minute presentation or role play (see section 2).


  1. Ask the students what religious festivals they know of and make a list on a flip-chart.

    Ask if anyone knows which of these are Muslim festivals. Say that we are going to talk about Id al-Adha (also known as Eid al-Adha), an important Muslim festival (you may need to add it to the list of festivals).

    The date of Id al-Adha changes each year because the date depends on the position of the moon. This year it is on 6 November.
  2. Ask: Do you know what the festival celebrates? Explain that the name Id al-Adha means ‘Festival of Sacrifice’. (Sometimes this festival is called the Greater Festival or the Greater Id, to distinguish it from a less important festival, called Id ul-Fitre, which celebrates the end of Ramadan.)

    Id al-Adha remembers the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to kill his beloved son Isma’il as a sacrifice when Allah (God) ordered him to. At the very last minute Ibrahim heard Allah’s voice telling him not to kill his son, but to kill a ram instead.

    This story might best be explored through role play.
  3. Id al-Adha is a time of rejoicing for Muslims throughout the world. Ask if any of the students know how Muslims around the world celebrate Id.  

    Ask if they have any personal experiences of the festival that they would like to share.
  4. Id starts with Muslims dressing in their best clothes and going to the mosque for prayers and a talk. In their prayers they thank Allah for all the blessings they have received.

    In some countries, to remind people of Ibrahim’s sacrifice, rich Muslims sacrifice a cow, a sheep, a goat or a camel and share the meat with their family and friends.

    Does anyone know why this is not commonplace in the UK? (There are strict laws controlling the slaughter of animals, for instance, animals can only be slaughtered in an official slaughterhouse.)

    Id is also a time when Muslims visit family and friends, send Id cards, give sweets to their children, and exchange presents.
  5. At Id it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity, to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate the festival.

    Do we have to be religious to give money to charity? Ask the students if they have ever given money to people in need.

Time for reflection

Listen to the Id song, ‘Let us rejoice indeed’(see the ‘Preparation and materials’ section).


Dear Lord, we are



prejudiced at times

inclined to misunderstanding


Make us instead



open to learning

understanding and forgiving


May your Spirit be present in us as you are in all peoples.


Listen to the Id song again.

Publication date: November 2011   (Vol.13 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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