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The Celebration of Eid Al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice

IN THE August 26 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andTales of Diversity,
andWasan Abu-Baker
SECTIONS

by Wasan Abu-Baker

The Celebration of Eid Al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid or the Festival of Sacrifice, is an important Muslim Festival observing Prophet Abraham’s (Peace be upon him) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael (Peace be upon him). Allah appeared to Abraham in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son to show his devotion.

Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) was about to go ahead when Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to slaughter instead of his son. This account preserved in the Muslim holy book, the Quran, is like the Christian and Jewish accounts in which God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (Peace be upon him). The story exemplifies or represents the willingnes to accept the command of Allah.

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Asim, Wasan, Laya , Omar, & Lamees Abu Baker
Celebrating Eid Al-Adha

Edi Al-Adha marks the end of Hajj pilgrimage. Hajj, is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims who are physically and financially capable. Muslims perform this journey to Mecca, the most holy city for Muslims. Millions of Muslims gather yearly around the Kaaba, a cube shaped building in Mecca held sacred by Muslims. In order to perform the five days of Hajj, it must occur during the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar (Dhul All Hijja).

How do Muslims celebrate it?
Muslims gather in a large congregation or a local mosque in the early morning. Women, men, and children gather to perform Eid prayer, dressing up in their best clothes. The day begins with a prayer service in which Muslims recite from the Quran. At the end of the prayer, Muslims embrace each other with a greeting of Eid Mubarak and Taqabbal Allah (may God accept our good deeds), exchange gifts to children, visiting friends and relatives.

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Lamee , Omar, & Layan Abu Baker wearing their Pakistani Eid Clothes at The first Day Of Eid Al – Adha

What is the Day of Arafat?
It’s the day before the Eid. Muslims carry out a series of rituals at Mecca including gathering for prayers on the plain of Arafah, near the mountain of Mercy. The Muslim pilgrims make supplication to Allah to be forgiven for all their sins committed over the previous and the coming year. The Muslims who are not performing the pilgrimage are expected to fast instead to earn the same forgiveness. As part of this festival Muslims traditionally sacrifice an animal, usually a sheep, goat, or cow, to represent the sacrifice in the story of prophet Abraham.

Where I grew up in The Middle East, Muslims traveled to Mecca by camels, ships, cars, and buses. The trip to Mecca used to take months, but nowadays transportation has made the trip faster and easier. Those who perform Hajj arrange their travel with a tourist company, much like you would plan for a Caribbean Cruise. Travel agencies offer the people different packages which may differ by the quality of the hotel or means of travel. The trip will also include a religious scholar as a guide to help the travelers perform the ritual of Hajj correctly. The agency arranges the people in groups which leave together and arrive to the Hajj together. My husband is planning to go to Hajj this year. He has arranged his travel with a travel agency and will be leaving next week. Many cities hold workshops and trainings for members of the community interested in performing Hajj.

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MY DEEN annual workshops for Hajj ( to educate the Muslim community about the pilgrimage Season ) ,
Celebrations welcoming the Fresno Muslim people who performed Hajj each year

MY DEEN, which is a community center in Fresno, organizes a workshop for all age groups to educate the community about Hajj and to prepare those who plan on performing the Hajj. When we perform Hajj, we follow the example of our prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) by reading in books that preserve his practices called the Sunnah. When the person completes the Hajj, the men are called Hajji and women are called Hajja when they return to their community. Many communities have large gatherings to welcome the Hajjis and Hajjas back from their pilgrimage. Muslims who are not performing Hajj fast that day because there is a great reward for Muslims who fast for forgiveness.

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MY DEEN open their space for the Muslim community in Fresno to Celebrate Eid Al – Adha , Layan , Omar , and Lamees Abu Baker with their Muslim Friends

Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha for four days by sacrificing an animal which they divide into three portions: for relatives, friends, and the needy in the community. During this time of celebration, we should remember those who are spending their Eid in war zones, especially the children in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and many more.

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Layan , Omar , And Lamees Abu Baker at The Islamic Cultural Center Of Fresno during the Annual Carnaval to celebrate Eid Al- Adha, Riding camels, face painting, Henna, Delicious food , lots of fun things.

This year is the first Eid Al-Adha that our Syrian neighbors will be spending in the US, and it feels very different for them. They are not living in fear of being harmed or having nowhere to stay like they did before coming to the US. They are celebrating Eid this year still hoping that maybe someday their homes will be safe again in Syria for them to return to. This is unlikely, but hope for better things to come and that God has a plan is a big part of our faith. We are always confident that with the passing of every challenge, God will make things easier for us in ways that we don’t yet know. Going through hardship is a way of gaining more faith and getting closer to God. We need to make our Syrian brothers and sisters feel more welcome and happy with their Eid in their new community; we have to make them feel at home. Eid in Muslim countries is like the holidays in other religions. It’s when family, friends, and neighbors come together in one place. Our prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) asked Muslims to be like one body; we feel the happiness and sadness of each other. Solidarity and being as one is how I see the Muslim community in Fresno.

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Layan , Omar, & Lamees Abu Baker are making The Eid Cookies, Kabba cake , with their mom Wasan Abu Baker

Wasan Abu-Bakerwas born and raised in Palestine, and was brought up in a highly educated household. She moved to the US after she married her husband and has three kids. She earned her masters degree in special education and is a community leader, advocate for refugees especially the Syrian refugees, and is doing a fellowship at American Friends Service Committee of Pan Valley Institute.

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