Hundreds of Muslims gathered in a Hackensack social hall early Wednesday to mark one of Islam’s two most important holy days — Eid al-Adha, the festival of the sacrifice.
Members of the Muslim Social Club on Trinity Place spent the morning in communal prayer, followed by a social hour in which adults gathered in small groups and children played on the green carpeted prayer room.
The holiday marks the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, at God’s command. God intervened and ordered Abraham to sacrifice a ram in his son’s place.
Hazem Abraham, a Hackensack resident, said the ancient story still resonates with 21rst century Muslims.
“It means, first of all, that we have to have to relationship with God,” Abraham said. “God gave Abraham the ultimate test. Our test is not so great. But Abraham remains our model of obedience to God.”
Muslims also mark the day by gathering with family and friends, eating a special meal and distributing food to the needy.
The holy day also caps the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, that Muslims in good health are required to perform at least once in their lives.
About 15,000 Americans went on the Hajj this year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.