Eid-al-Adha, one of the holiest days in Islam, will take different forms for masjids across the city this year.
Falling on this Friday, the Eid-al-Adha is the Eid that occurs during Hajj, a sacred Islamic pilgrimage. It marks the day after Ibrahim’s journey to Mt. Arafat where he was ordered to sacrifice his son to God.
“Eid-al-Adha literally means celebration of the sacrifice, so this particular Muslim celebration holiday is related to the story of Ibrahim being willing to sacrifice his son because God told him to. In both Christian and Islamic versions of the story, he didn’t have to do that. God recognized his sincerity in even being willing to sacrifice his son and told him to sacrifice a nearby lamb instead,” explained Aliya Khabir, Principal, AZK Communications.
“Muslims across the world celebrate Eid-al-Adha after the Day of Arafat. [Day of Arafat] is one of the rituals you have to complete for your Hajj to be complete. There is a saying, there is no Hajj without Arafat, and that day is [Thursday].”
Although Eid-al-Adha is usually celebrated with a communal prayer and fellowship, some masjids are hosting modified or virtual services, while others are remaining traditional.
Imam Idris Abdul-Zahir of Masjidullah said they usually host a communal prayer, sermon and a moment of fellowship with a meal, live entertainment and gift giveaways for children. This year, the prayer and sermon will be livestreamed from their Facebook page and website while the meal distribution and toy giveaway will still take place, but as a grab-and-go.
“We do Eid together with a lot of different masjids and so it’s usually half the city in one, two or three places - several thousand people, probably. So, we are used to several masjids coming together, having one big celebration - seeing people you haven’t seen all year. Different communities celebrate differently.”
Imam Suetwedien Muhammad of Masjid Muhammad said their masjid will acknowledge Eid traditionally, with an onsite service and fellowship.
“We are doing a whole Eid – we’re having the food, the khutbah. We got all the festivities going on,” he said. “We wouldn’t have thought about doing it any other way. I don’t think we would’ve cancelled it. During the pandemic, we’ve been open the whole three to four months, we did Jummah, Ramadan, Iftars.”
Imam S. Muhammad added that he is also advising those who planned to make Hajj this year, that although they could not make the journey, their “intention” will be recognized by Allah.
“It’s something we thought we would never see in our lifetime. Some people are disappointed, some people are shocked,” said Muhammad. “A great leader once said the day will come where the whole world will make Hajj from their own location. This is the time, this is the day for Allah to accept their intent. Someone could’ve made their intent before the pandemic hit. We know Allah judges you by your intent. We pray that Allah accepts their intent as if they had gone.”
At Masjidullah this past Sunday, a member who organizes annual Hajj trips presented on the pilgrimage.
“This is the first time in over 20 years he hasn’t been able to go. [So], what we did - we have weekly Sunday community checks and this past Sunday, he gave us a presentation on Hajj and just going over all that has happened in the past,” said Imam Abdul-Zahir.
“It’s a journey of a lifetime – it’s incumbent most of us go in our lifetime. For people who saved up to go and can’t, it’s disappointing but they all take it in stride. As Muslims, we believe in the Qadr - it means the plan of Allah or the destiny of Allah. It wasn’t meant to be, but God willing, they will be able to visit next year.”
Other masjids that will host in-person services and meals include Masjid Mujahideen, which will have prayer at 8:30 a.m., followed by a breakfast; and an Eid feast that will be hosted after Jummah.
The Philadelphia Masjid will host an 8 a.m. prayer, followed by a grab-and-go breakfast.
Masjid Al Muid will host an Eid prayer at 10:00 a.m. and offer a grab-and-go meal.
Masjidullah is located at 7401 Limekiln Pike
Masjid Muhammad is located at 414 E. Penn St.
Masjid Mujahideen is located at 413 S. 60thSt.
The Philadelphia Masjid is located at 4700 Wyalusing Ave.
Masjid Al Muid is located at 243 W. Chelten Ave.