Waterloo Region celebrates Eid-ul Adha

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Today I would like to talk about one of the very important occasions that Muslims around the world celebrate this week, called Eid-ul-Adha or Eid ul Azah, or, in English, the festival of sacrifice.

There is a fascinating story that states the significance of Eid-ul Adha that I would like to share.  In Islam we believe that once, Allah (God) challenged or tested the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to prove his faith in God. God asked him to sacrifice the dearest and nearest one in his life. Prophet Ibrahim decided to take up the challenge and sacrifice his son Ismail.  This may be a familiar story to you becuase it is common to both Judiasm and Christianity as well.When it was the time to do make his sacrafice, Ibrahim got a sword, closed his eyes and as he was about to Sacrifice Ismail, immediately God brought down a sheep from the heavens that took the place of his son Ismail.

In Islam it is also believed that Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail build the Kaaba which is located in our holiest city Macca in Saudi Arabia.

Every year millions of Muslims attend the Hajj in Mecca. Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam (more info here)  and a Muslim should attend Hajj once in their life time if  they are mentally, physically and financially able to make the journey without imposing hardship on their family while they are travelling.

In honour and remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice, a Muslim who can afford to, will sacrafice a lamb, goat, cow or camel and share the meat with others.  This act is called Udhuiya or Qurbani.

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family, one-third is given away to relatives and friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own things, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah (God) and we should open our hearts and share with others.

Eid is public holiday in Muslim countries. And this holiday lasts for three days.

On the day of Eid al-Adha (the same as Eid-ul Fitr) Muslims start the first day with prayer, called (Salat al Eid) in their local mosque. After that, they go home or to a butcher to slaughter an animal in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim.

Worshippers wear their finest clothes for the occasion. It is also a time for visiting friends and family and for exchanging gifts. People will greet each other by saying Eid Mubarak or Happy Eid much like Christians or most European/North Americans would say merry Christmas or Happy Holidays in December.

At the Emergency Food Hamper Program, Eid-ul Adah is one of the occasions that we receive Halal meat donations and other non perishable food items to help the less fortunate people that come to us for assistance.

I recently made a couple of announcements at the Kitchener and Waterloo local Mosques requesting local Muslims to donate their Eid-ul Adha (Qurbani) meat to the Emergency Food hamper Program.  We are one of the largest emergency food program in Waterloo region that provides Halal food, including Halal Meat, to the Muslims in the need as well as other people.

Ammar Halal Meat Market is one of the Muslim food stores in Kitchener that donates Halal Meat to our program and has done so for quite a few years.  In fact, the majority of the Halal meat donation comes through Ammar Halal meat store.

People or Islamic organizations who donate Halal meat, often work with Mr. Ammar’s store by purchasing it from his store or by dropping it off to him.  He is able to hold onto it until we can pick it up and we are constantly impressed by how dedicated he is to seeing that our program is able to meet the needs of all the people who come to us for help.  It is partnerships like this that keep our program going.

I’m thankful that we always get great support from our Muslim community in Waterloo region, and I’m hopeful to see that support continue, so that we will be able to  provide Halal food to the Muslims in need of Emergency Food assistance.

If you would like to donate to our program, please click here to learn more about the ways you can help the less fortunate members of our community.

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