Muslims mark ‘festival of sacrifice’

Muslims in the Valley and around the world celebrated the holiday of Eid-Ul-Adha or “Festival of the Sacrifice” on Friday.

Eid-Ul-Adha, the second major holiday after Eid-Ul-Fitr, is observed four days.

Eid-Ul-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command.

An important ritual followed by many Muslims worldwide is sacrificing a sheep on Eid day and sharing its meat with friends, family and the needy.

Eid-Ul-Adha marks the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca or Hajj.

More than 2 million pilgrims including thousands of American Muslims go on Hajj annually.

Hajj is considered the largest annual convention taking place ever. Pilgrims follow the Hajj rituals, which commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham, his wife Hagar, and their son Ishmael in Mecca.

Pilgrims start their pilgrimage by visiting the Ka’abah, the first shrine built to worship the one God. Ka’abah is the direction where all Muslims around the globe face while performing their prayers.

Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith and is a one-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey.

The other four pillars are: declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity and fasting during Ramadan.

Muslims mark the Eid holiday with early communal prayers in colorful dress and greetings of “Eid Mubarak” or “Blessed Eid.”

Valley Muslims will have an Eid dinner gathering Sunday at Mahoning Country Club in Girard.

Randa Shabayek is a member of the Masjid Al-Kheir mosque in Youngstown.

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