The festival of Eid-al-Adha

Christmas comes early for many.

Last Sunday on the 6th November, many Muslims gathered together to celebrate this special day at

Ustinov College. The celebration programme was organised by Durham University Islamic

Society. Muslim students from different countries, as well as Muslim families in Durham

and surrounding areas were united in this celebration. The mixture of different age groups,

languages and culture increased its appeal and excitement.

Eid al-Adha is an Islamic festival which commemorates the day on which the Prophet Ibrahim

(Abraham) showed total submission to the will of God, to the extent that he was willing to

follow God’s command and sacrifice his son. However, this was a test for Prophet Ibrahim

and when his readiness to submit was witnessed, he was asked to sacrifice a sheep instead.

Every year on this day many Muslims from all over the world gather together for prayer and

celebration. They wear new clothes and visit family and friends. On this day, for those who can

afford it, the symbolic sacrifice of an animal known as qurbani is also carried out, representing

the animal Ibrahim sacrificed instead of his son. This meat is usually divided among family

and friends as well as those with less financial means. Those who are able also give money to

charitable causes.

The celebration of Ibrahim’s sacrifice marks a time to think about others, to aim for selflessness

and to have regard for those who may be in a worse position both spiritually and financially.

It is a time when people are encouraged to visit their parents, to pay particular attention to

their children, and to visit people that they may not normally visit, as well as friends and family.

Muslims are encouraged to emulate Ibrahim and question themselves how and in which way

they can better themselves by giving up any negative attributes they may possess and to build

on their positive attributes.

During this period, Muslims who are physically and financially able, in accordance with the fifth

pillar of Islam, travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in order to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. This day

also manifests the total submission of so many people to one God rather than to causes or to

one’s own egoistic desires.

On arrival in Mecca, the pilgrims perform a series of rituals beginning with the

circumambulation of the Kabaa. Thousands of Muslims are required to unite on this day

showing total solidarity, unity and humility. This is also manifested externally by the wearing of

simple white shroud (ihram) so that everyone, poor or rich is seen as one in the sight of God.

For further information about this festival or any questions about Islam contact Durham Islamic

Society at:

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