Local organizations prepare for Saturday Eid al-Adha celebrations
Local mosque, Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddiq, is hosting three different community prayers on Saturday to celebrate Eid al-Adha while nonprofit Pamoja Women aims at getting children engaged and excited about the upcoming holiday.
ROCHESTER — With the sighting of a crescent moon on June 30 marking the start of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic Calendar, Saudi Arabia announced Eid al-Adha would start on Saturday, July 9, 2022 and go until July 10.
“It’s all about the moon: when it’s out, when it’s seen,” Khadija Ali, a co-founder of Pamoja Women in Rochester, said. The date of the holiday this year could be subject to change if something changes with the moon, but as of now, it’s set to start on Saturday.
“Let’s hope it says that way,” Ali said.
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is an occasion to remember the sacrifice of the prophet Ibrahim as he tried to show his dedication to Allah through the sacrifice of his son, who at the last minute was replaced with an animal by Allah, according to Rashed Ferdous, a member of the board of directors for local mosque, Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddiq.
Eid al-Adha takes place after Hajj, or the pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca that takes place during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. According to Fatuma Ahmed, a co-founder of Pamoja Women in Rochester, those who cannot go on a pilgrimage will fast for the ten days of Hajj.
“If you can’t fast all (10) days, you fast for the last day,” Ahmed said. “Friday, most people are fasting.”
The significance of this, according to Ahmed, is that all sins are forgiven while fasting.
After fasting before the start of Eid al-Adha, the next days will include praying, exchanging gifts and feasts.
“It’s like Halloween, Christmas and Easter [combined],” Ali said.
While families might spend the week before Eid al-Adha getting their houses ready for guests or buying new outfits, the two co-founders of Pamoja Women have been working on getting the kids excited for the holiday.
“We really try to get the youth more engaged in their holidays,” Ali said.
One way Pamoja Women has been trying to build excitement around the holiday is by hosting an event later in the week where moms and daughters can get their henna done.
According to Ali and Ahmed, they want to empower young girls to be proud of their cultures, which can be difficult in a society that usually doesn’t represent a variety of holidays and religions in popular culture and media.
“We want to show them that celebrating your community is nothing to be afraid of,” Ahmed said.
Ali said you never hear the phrase “Eid Mubarak” said in public the same way you would hear “Merry Christmas,” and someday she would like to see her kids live in a time when non-Muslim people will acknowledge Eid through a simple, “Eid Mubarak.”
On the first day of Eid al-Adha, Muslims will start their day by waking up early and getting dressed in their best clothes before going to a community prayer. According to Ali, this usually happens around 7 a.m. at Rochester Community and Technical College.
Ferdous said this year Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddiq is holding three different time slots of prayers. The first two will be at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. at RCTC, and the third one will be held at the mosque downtown around 9:30 a.m.
“Then later in the afternoon, around two o’clock, we will have something for kids,” Ferdous said.
After prayer on the first day of Eid al-Adha, Muslims will honor the sacrifice of Ibrahim and show their dedication to Allah through a sacrifice, or Qurbani, of their own.
According to Ferdous, Qurbani is one of the bigger traditions of Eid al-Adha.
“Just like how Ibrahim attempted to sacrifice his son and then it was replaced with an animal, we kind of celebrate that by slaughtering an animal,” Ferdous said. “Most of the time, the locals would probably either donate money to Muslim charities.”
Animal slaughters must be done in a way that minimizes animal suffering, according to international charity Muslim Aid, and the meat should be distributed in three portions: to family, to friends and to impoverished people.
While every Muslim of a certain age has to perform Qurbani, some Muslims who might not be able to afford or access an animal can donate money as their Qurbani.
If people choose to donate money instead, they can donate to organizations who then use the money to get and distribute Qurbani meat to community individuals in need, in place of someone distributing meat from their own animal Qurbani sacrifice to neighbors and charity.
Two organizations in Minnesota that people can donate money to who work with food shelves to distribute meat during Eid al-Adha are the Muslim American Society and the Building Blocks of Islam.
Monetary donations to charities are common as a replacement for slaughtering an animal, but overall, meat is an integral part of Eid al-Adha and many dishes eaten after the holiday are meat dishes.
“The tradition is in the meat,” Ferdous said.
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and how Eid al-Adha is celebrated largely varies across different cultures and countries. According to Ferdous, he can see the diversity of people practicing Islam just by looking through the Mosque’s donation box and seeing all the different currencies.
“When we collect money, we get money from all over the world: Canadian, Chinese money, Russian, Middle Eastern, Saudi Arabian,” Ferdous said. “The group is very diverse.”