Several Oklahoma City area Muslim congregations will come together at a downtown park to mark the end of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
The “United Eid Festival” is set for 6 p.m. June 30 at Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7.
The festival is a celebration of Eid ul-Adha, which marks the end of the Hajj — also known as the pilgrimage to Mecca. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam and observant Muslims around the world are expected to make the trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lifetime. Typically in America, Eid ul-Adha is celebrated with communal prayers and celebrations around the country.
Eid ul-Adha is also known as the “festival of the sacrifice.” It commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command, according to the Quran.
Masood Abdul-Haqq and his wife Dr. Jihan Abdul-Haqq are leading the effort to bring together Muslims from their mosque, Masjid Mu’min in northeast Oklahoma City, as well as mosques associated with the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Islamic Society of Edmond, Islamic Society of Norman and Crossroads Islamic Center of Oklahoma.
“They have sponsored this, putting in an amount to make this happen,” said Masood Abdul-Haqq.
“It’s a true collaborative effort, truly a united Eid and we hope to make it an annual event.”
Haqq is congregational president of Masjid Mu’min and he is also board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma chapter.
He said he and his wife and a planning team of people from the Muslim faith community the event will include music, games and food dishes featuring lamb or goat that are traditionally eaten during the holiday.
“Eid commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismael for the love of God so we honor that by slaughtering a lamb because we believe that once they both demonstrated their willingness to carry out the will of God, they replaced Ishmael with a ram or lamb. So we slaughter a lamb or a goat and it’s traditional for us to give it out to as many people as possible.”
He said vendors will be on hand and a table will be set up where non-Muslims may obtain more information about Islam.
Jihan Abdul-Haqq said she remembers when local mosques came together for Islamic festivals and holidays in the same way that they will join forces on Friday.
“Growing up here, we actually used to do this,” she said. “We would have a joint Eid prayer and often a celebration at one of the local parks and that stopped probably in the late 1990s, early 2000s. I feel like sometimes there’s a lot of politics and things involved but I think that because of the tenets of our religion, it’s important for us all to come together especially since we have grown in size but compared to the majority, Muslims in Oklahoma are a smaller population.”
The doctor said she hopes the festival will draw members of the Afghan community who are starting new lives in Oklahoma, the Turkish community and Muslims who have not yet connected to local mosque communities.
Meanwhile, describing himself as a millenial, Abdul-Haqq said it was important for himself and those of younger generations to put the coming festival together, allowing “the pioneers” of the Muslim faith community an opportunity to enjoy themselves without the responsibility of putting the event together. He said young people who are helping to make the event a success include members of the Muslim Student Associations at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and the University of Oklahoma.
“We want to assure our Boomer population that this thing that they built, this collective community, is in good hands,” he said.
“I think that sometimes we lose sight of just how great and how powerful it is because we don’t come together enough,” Abdul-Haqq added. “Once we see all of us at Scissortail Park and everybody’s in a good mood, playing games and getting to know each other, I think it will be a great start to the Fourth of July weekend and it will be a great representation of Islam in the crown jewel of Oklahoma City within Scissortail Park.”