Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha encourages thanks, fellowship and awareness of family and friends

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Eid for senior Muska Fahim will be adapted for an American lifestyle. Fahim will celebrate with a day off from classes, a visit to the Plainfield mosque for prayers in the morning and then a meal out at a nice restaurant.

Taking place this year between Nov. 7 and Nov. 12, the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, begins on the 10th day of Zul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Eid is celebrated by Muslims all across the world in honor of the prophet Abraham's unwavering willingness to sacrifice everything for God. When instructed to do so, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son, Ishmael.

Eid is typically celebrated on campus by the Muslim Student Association, and includes both Eid prayers and a meal in Plainfield. But when Fahim is at home, she celebrates the holiday differently.

"At home, Eid is usually celebrated with family members how Thanksgiving is celebrated here," Fahim said. "Every family prepares delicious meals and serves their visitors. We start our day by performing fajr prayers (dawn prayers) and then we dress up, putting on the newest clothes and perform the Eid Prayers."

Families give and receive gifts and visit other close friends to celebrate. Muslims also celebrate Eid by slaughtering sheep to share amongst family, friends and the needy as an act of charity.  However, the social significances of Eid extend far beyond feeding the hungry. The festival is believed to be an occasion that strengthens bonds. Muslims are encouraged to seek out old friends, make amends with others and spend time with those for whom they care most.

For Fahim, dressing up and visiting her close relatives is the best part of Eid. Unfortunately, she isn't able to do so while at school, and doesn't feel as though her fellow students are very well informed about the celebration. Sophomore Qurratul Prima agreed.

"I feel like not a lot of people on campus know about cultural holidays like Eid," Prima said. "It is mostly international students or students from similar cultures who can relate to these occasions."

The Center for Spiritual Life sponsors religious events and student organizations. The Muslim Student Association typically holds events to educate students about holidays like Eid and how it is celebrated.

"Last year, the MSA held an event to make campus aware of what Eid is," junior Sehrish Khan Saddozai said. "The only bad thing is that MSA members do not get the opportunity to enjoy it as much, because they are doing all the work."

Saddozai said the best thing about Eid is the reunion she shares with family and friends. She commented that there are not many Muslims on campus with whom to share the holiday.

"It would be nice for all Muslim students to get together and celebrate it with each other," Fahim added.