Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eid al-Adha

Beginning Sunday, November 6, Muslims everywhere commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God with Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice.  The celebration begins at the end of the Hajj – the holy trip to Mecca - at the descent from Mount Ararat; about 70 days after Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of fasting known as Ramadan.

“Eid” (EYE-EED) means “solemn festival.”

Muslims recognize Ishmael as Abraham’s sacrificial son.  Others (me included) grew up with Isaac on the chopping block:

Isaac is bound to an altar and Abraham raises his knife.  At that moment, the angel of God stops Abraham, saying, “…now I know you fear God…”  (Genesis 22:12)  God provides a ram for the sacrifice instead.

(Abraham sacrifices Isaac, by Caravaggio)

I leave the Ishmael/Isaac dispute to the theologians. 

To prepare for Eid al-Adha, Muslims make wudu (ablution), offer Salat al-Fajr (pre-sunrise prayer), assure personal cleanliness and dress in their finest clothing.  All meet for Salat al-Eid (prayers) in a mosque or other special place.  The Imam speaks.  And then, celebrate!

“…At the conclusion of the prayers and sermon, Muslims embrace and exchange greetings (“Eid Mubarak!”), give gifts (“Eidi”) to children, and visit one another. Many Muslims also take this opportunity to invite non-Muslim friends…to their Eid festivities to better acquaint them about Islam and Muslim culture.”

Those who can afford it sacrifice their best (farm) animal and break it into three parts:  one for the family, one for relatives, friends and neighbors and one for the poor and needy.

Bob isn’t Muslim and doesn’t expect to participate in Eid festivities (this year).  Instead he’ll celebrate Eid al-Adha with five days off work (Friday, November 4 through Tuesday, November 8) – a great chance to get to know the city: shop the malls, peruse the souq, find the Catholic Church (an unmarked building beside a mosque), visit the beach, buy towels and sheets for his new apartment (move in day November 15!!!) and more.  He has his own car now and plenty to do.

What do you want to know about Doha?


Anonymous said...

Ooo, the souq! I want to go! At least when I am able to make it he/you will be well versed in the city and be able to be knowledgeable tour guides!! --Kay

Cindi said...

Gonna do our best to get things figured out for you! :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't checked the link out yet, but my memory of a really special Eid... my friend Gowhara sent me a plate of very special meat (oxen, I believe) as a gift. I think a gift to her would have been appropriate -- but I had nothing to share. Maybe if Bob's taste doesn't go toward sharing in some of the reliegious celebration, he could choose somebody (like a boab, or a driver, or, even better one or two of the Muslim staff to give a gift to. Whatever you pulled together before he left? Something in it should work? Peggy/Mom/GrandMaMa/Oma

Anonymous said...

More about my/our Eid experience:
We were staying in the Guest House of a sugar factory in upper Egypt, and digging in the Gebel et Tarif every day. The first night of Eid our team of eight or ten non Muslims stayed in our rooms but enjoyed the bonfire and happy commotion throughout the factory grounds. An ox had been sacrificed, and roasted. It was undoubtedly close to midnight when one of Gowhara's servants arrived with a plate of choice pieces of internal organs as a gift to me. Thirty five years later I still look on the honor of that gift as one of the most special experiences I have had. --Peggy

cindi said...

Would've loved to have gone to the sugar factory!!

Anonymous said...

What I remember about the sugar factory (processing the fields of sugar cane) is that the machinery came from Czecheslovakie -- and Hani el Zeini, the manager had to get the smallest, most insignificant parts shipped in -- which was a constant problem. Hani and Gowhara were lovely, smart people, gracious hosts, and good friends.

Anonymous said...

Omm Sety's Egypt by Hanny El Zeini, Catherine Dees
Omm Sety's Egypt 4.10 · rating details · 10 ratings · 4 reviews
Revelations in Egyptology, based on the diaries of Dorothy Eady, better known as Omm Sety.
Paperback, 350 pages
Published December 8th 2006 by St. Lynn's Press

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to whether all of the shopping and retail commerce continues full bore at the malls during the holiday. Is there a Muslim equivalent to "blue laws" during Eid al-adha, or is it business as usual? - Linda mc

Lucinda H. Kennaley said...

"Blue laws" are in effect every day - consuming alcohol is haraam in Islam, and a person can be be arrested for drinking/carrying alcohol publicly and certainly, especially for being drunk. (You can't buy alcohol without a license.) Bob said everything is always packed - maybe "a little" less so during a celebration, service or Muslim prayer time. But still packed.