There are two significant celebrations in the Muslim community starting with the Arabic word “Eid” i.e. festival or feast.
Recently, Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated on the first day of Shawwal – the tenth month of the Lunar Islamic calendar.
While Eid-ul-Fitr is more a celebration after 30 days of fasting, Eid-ul-Adha is about remembering the sacrifice of the messenger Ibrahim a.k.a. Abraham (peace be up on him).
Eid-ul-Adha falls on the 10th day of the month “Dhul-Hijjah” of the Lunar Islamic calendar and coincides with “Hajj” (Pilgrimage) which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are very sacred in terms of extra prayers and spirituality.
In Eden Prairie, families celebrate Eid by organizing open houses to socialize with families and friends.
The main courses on this Eid are meat-based like Kabobs, BBQs, Roast of different kings, Chops, or Rice with meat of different forms like Pulao, Biryani, or Nihari.
Carnivals are also organized. With too much of red meat, it may not be a very healthy Eid but definitely a very Happy Eid.
All the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) share the similar thread of the story about Abraham when he was instructed in his dream by God to sacrifice his son Ismail (peace be up on him).
Just before the act, God, the most merciful, replaced Ismail with a ram accepting Abraham’s trial of strong faith and submission to God. It was the ultimate act of sacrifice as well as mercy from God to reward the faithful.
Muslims throughout the world, sacrifice animals in remembrance of this act of Abraham and Ismail on the day of Eid-ul-Adha. It should be carried out if they can afford it.
In 2021, July 20th is the day of Eid-ul-Adha. The greetings include “Have a blessed Eid”, “Happy Eid”, “Eid Mubarak.”
The person doing the sacrifice can also be wished as “May Allah accept your sacrifice.”
“Hajj” (The Pilgrimage) is mandatory for Muslims once in a life time if a person can afford in terms of money, health, and responsibilities. Muslims from all over the world visit “Kaaba” shown in a black cover.
Kaaba is located in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Nearly 3 million people gather every year during the days of Hajj.
There are number of rites they perform during “Hajj” including taking rounds around “Kaaba” saying “Here I am O Allah here I am” and praising and glorifying God as the one and only God.
The worshippers also walk and run between the two mountains of Safa and Marwa in remembrance of Hajra a.k.a. Hagar when she was searching for water for her son Ismail. In addition to these rites is the rite of sacrificing an animal.
This rite is not limited to Hajj, rather performed by all the Muslims whether they are performing Hajj, or not.
The animal sacrifice is not just a ritual. It is a way of strengthening a Muslim’s faith in God, and submitting to His will. There is a structure behind this activity requiring selecting healthy livestock, no injuries, and treating the animal with respect as a gift from God during the whole process, and sacrificing in the name of God. The process of sacrifice is very well documented under MN Statute 31.59 and other references for “Halal” meat.
The intention of the sacrifice is not that God will receive the meat of the animal. Rather the intention is that God will see the intention and sincerity of the person making the sacrifice and distributing the meat to feed the poor.
If a person is trying to show off the animal as a status symbol, or to feel elevated by bragging about how expensive the animal is, the sacrifice may get wasted. The livestock sacrificed are from the breeds of lamb/sheep, bull/cows, and even camels.
While one lamb is considered as one sacrifice, bulls and camels can be broken down into seven shares of sacrifices i.e. seven (7) people can contribute and get their share of meat after equally dividing the animal.
From every share, one-third of meat needs to be given to the poor to ensure they participate and benefit from the sacrifice. These are the acts that are actually rewarded and please God. From rest of the meat, one-third is distributed among the friends and neighbors while one-third can be consumed by the person doing the sacrifice. The one-third share for the poor cannot be compromised. But, the other two-thirds may be given to the poor in addition to their assigned mandatory share.
In Eden Prairie and rest of the US, people perform sacrifice by going to the ranches in the neighborhood, donating money to the non-profits to arrange sacrifice globally for the needy, or collaborating with the families in their native countries by adding their shares. The start of the day is always with a group prayer after sunrise. There are at least three mosques in proximity to Eden Prairies where prayers are organized.
In addition to the aspect of faith, it is a festival people enjoy in different ways. In the South Asian countries and Middle East, this is the time when a lot of bargaining takes place in the markets and neighborhoods where livestock is sold.
Sellers bring very fancy beautiful animals of different breeds close to the metropolitan limits. Children enjoy visiting these markets and then walk with their purchased animals in the neighborhoods to show it to their friends. Drivers need to be careful in this season when driving.