Hanukkah. Christmas. Kwanzaa. New Year’s.
What about Eid al-Adha?
This is the second year in a row the lunar-based Islamic holiday — commonly shortened to Eid — has occurred during the December holiday season.
It commemorates one of the most important Koranic stories, which tells of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in God’s name. God stopped the prophet just before he committed the act, giving him a ram to kill instead.
On Wednesday at Masjid Miami Gardens, one of the largest mosques in Miami-Dade County, about 1,000 Muslims came early in the morning for prayers that overflowed into large tents outside the building and to hear a khutba, or sermon, by the center’s imam. Afterward, friends and families stayed to eat food and sweets while kids played.
The crowd was exceptionally large for a mosque that gets a few hundred worshipers for Friday prayers.
SUBMISSION TO GOD
”It’s a time when everyone can gather. It represents the level of submission that we all strive for toward Allah,” said Rahim Ali, a 24-year-old pharmacy student who came to the mosque from downtown Miami.
Ali was born in Karachi, Pakistan, where ”you can see Eid everywhere,” he said.
It’s not that way in the United States, so Ali makes an extra effort to keep up traditions during the holiday.
Actually, Eid will last three more days, though many Muslims observe it on its first day.
To take advantage of the time span and because many parents work during the week, more than a dozen South Florida mosques and Council on American-Islamic Relations will host a day-long Eid festival, including food and games, in Hollywood’s Topeekeegee Yugnee Park on Sunday.
One Eid tradition — required by Islam — is to sacrifice small animals and donate some of the meat to the poor as a memorial, said Murie Bahabri, Masjid Miami Gardens’ imam.
While a few Muslims in South Florida may sacrifice animals themselves, many donate to the poor via charities or through buying meat from Halal butchers, he said.