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RHONDA EL-AZEEM SAEEDA A. GHANI Sacrifice shows devotion to God



Published: Sat, February 16, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Eid Ul-Adha is a festival that is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, a month in the Islamic lunar calendar, and marks the close of the Hajj ceremony or pilgrimage to the Ka'aba, which takes place during the 8th to 13th days of the month. Locally, that observance is Thursday.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The other pillars are a declaration of faith, five daily prayers, offering of regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan. A Muslim is required to perform the Hajj at least once in his lifetime, provided he is physically and financially able to do so.

Sacrifice: The Eid is celebrated with great solemnity and reverence by Muslims everywhere -- even the ones that do not perform the pilgrimage that year. An animal is sacrificed on the day of the Eid. These animals should be free from all physical defects and should be fully grown. In case of sheep, goats or lambs, one animal suffices for one household, while a cow or a camel can be shared by up to seven families. The person who offers the sacrifice is allowed to use a portion of the meat; the remainder is distributed among relatives, friends, neighbors and the poor.

On the day of the Eid, Muslims assemble in the mosques for the Eid prayer service. The imam delivers a sermon in which he explains the significance of Eid Ul-Adha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice. Eid Ul-Adha commemorates the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command.

The philosophy of the sacrifice is that according to the teachings of Islam, the sacrifice of animals is not offered to appease offended deities nor to win their favor as an atonement of sins, as was the case of many other nations. The Koran 22:37 made it very clear by stating, "Neither the flesh nor the blood of your sacrifices reaches God, but it is the righteous motive underlying them that reaches Him."

For a Muslim, the slaughtering of animals is a symbolic expression whereby a Muslim declares his readiness to sacrifice all for God Almighty.

On Friday, Muslims in Youngstown will celebrate Eid Ul-Adha and will offer communal prayers at Masjid El Kheir. The holiday will be celebrated with gifts for the children, distribution of meat and social gatherings. On this joyful occasion Muslims wish each other "Eid Mubarak" or "Blessed Eid."

XRhonda El-Azeem and Saeeda A. Ghani attend the Masjid El Kheir in Youngstown.




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