News / Middle East

Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Adha With Prayers

  • A Muslim girl holds a balloon during a morning prayer marking the Eid al-Adha holiday on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Muslims travel on the roof of a train as they head to their homes ahead of Eid al-Adha as others wait at a railway station in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Members of the Afghan guard of honor perform Eid al-Adha prayers outside a mosque at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct 15, 2013.
  • Afghan men prepare to slaughter a buffalo during Eid al-Adha at Kacha Garhi Afghan refugee camp, located in the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • An Egyptian man holds a knife after slaughtering an animal on the first day of Eid al-Adha in Cairo, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Butcher Hossam Hassan cuts lamb during Eid Al-Adha rituals in Maadi, Cairo, Oct. 15, 2013. (Hamada Elrasam for VOA)
  • A young Palestinian girl attends prayers on the first day of Eid al-Adha at Al-Yarmouk stadium in Gaza City, Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Muslims pray outside Moscow's main mosque during celebrations of Eid al-Adha, Oct. 15, 2013.
PHOTOS: Muslims Mark Eid al-Adha
VOA News
Muslims around the world are celebrating the festival of Eid al-Adha with special prayers, meals and charitable donations to the needy.
Eid al-Adha, which began Tuesday, is one of two major religious feasts on the Islamic calendar. It comes about two months after Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims ended the holy fasting month of Ramadan with similar customs of prayer, feasting and charity.
Eid al-Adha coincides with the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the Saudi holy city of Mecca.
Muslims observe the festival to celebrate the biblical patriarch Abraham and their belief in his willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The faithful also believe God stopped Abraham from carrying out the sacrifice and gave him a lamb to slaughter instead.
On the day of Eid al-Adha, many Muslims join early morning communal prayers dressed in their best clothes and greet family and friends with gifts and the salutation of 'Eid Mubarak' ('Have a blessed Eid').
Those who can afford it also slaughter a cow, goat or sheep, keeping a portion to feed themselves and giving the rest to relatives and the poor. Many also donate money to charity to enable the poor to celebrate by buying new clothes and food.

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Comment Sorting
by: Hugo from: France
October 16, 2013 11:07 AM
As Eid al Adha is celebrated, I would like humbly to share with you some texts and ideas of Islam, dealing with the compassion toward animals. Hoping that you will read these words with an open mind.

The festival of Eid al Adha aims amongst others to celebrate the love of God, to communicate with one's family, and the community. Holy texts, and representatives of the Muslim faith, incite to replace the sacrifice of a sheep with a donation to the poor, which is more respectful to the value of love inherent in Islam. This also respects the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who was almost vegetarian and encouraged to preserve the lives of animals.

However, if a sheep is slaughtered during this festival, maybe one could remember that animals are sentient beings capable of feeling pain, but little expressing it, especially if their trachea is cut. The prophet required to avoid the suffering of animals during slaughter. In this regard, there are modern techniques to stun animals, which let their insensitivity during slaughter. These techniques have been validated by the whole scientific community, and also through dialogue with muslim representatives, within the framework of the European “Dialrel” project (dialogue on religious slaughter, to which representatives of worship and halal industry participated). These techniques fit very well ​​the prophetic injunction to prevent animals from suffering during slaughter.

In the Qur'an and Sunnah, there is no explicit contraindication to stun animals before slaughter. In addition, there are many incentives to practice religion in taking into account scientific knowledge, and to treat animals with as much kindness and mercy as possible. I am convinced that at the heart of Islam, there is a concrete compassion for animals, but also a call for moderation of meat consumption, in addition to charity. And that all these principles are consequently part of the Eid al adha. Anyway, if you have read this brief account with open heart and mind, it is to your honor and I deeply thank you.
Of course, one can then use one's free will to decide what is right or not...

Yours faithfully.

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