(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 8/9/2019) – On Sunday, August 11, Oklahoma Muslims will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, called Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the state. The prayers and the holiday that follows Hajj are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.”
Eid ul-Adha, commonly referred to as just “Eid,” commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” or “blessed Eid.” Each year, some two million Muslims, including dozens of Oklahoma Muslims, go on Hajj.
“Eid ul-Adha is one of the two occasions each year that the Oklahoma Muslim community looks forward to as an opportunity to take a break from their day-to-day lives and connect with their family, friends, and religious community,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “In this time of heightened Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric, there exists an opportunity for Oklahomans to join the Muslim community in celebrating our vibrant diversity and promoting inclusion on such important occasions.”
[ NOTE: Eid al-Fitr, which comes at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, is the other of the two “Eid” holidays Muslims celebrate each year.]
WHEN: Sunday, August 11. The prayers are held in the morning. Many communities also hold day-long Eid festivals for families.
WHERE: The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year at Eid ul Adha, Oklahoma Muslim families, youth and children attend prayers and celebrations. Many places of prayer organize children’s activities where they can enjoy carnival games, and having ice cream and snacks, among other kid-friendly activities. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.
[ NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes should dress modestly. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best shots. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-up shots.]
In the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, God says:
“Thus We settled Abraham at the site of the House (the Ka’aba) (saying): ‘Do not associate anything with Me, and purify My house for those who walk around it, and those who stand there (praying), and those who bow down on their knees in worship. Proclaim the pilgrimage among mankind: they will come to you on foot and on every lean (beast of burden); Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God’s name on appointed days.” Chapter 22, Verses 26-28
Hajj is one of the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith. (The other pillars include a declaration of faith, daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.) Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey. When the main portion of the pilgrimage is completed, Muslims worldwide gather for communal prayers on the first day (August 11) of Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), the second of the two major Muslim holidays.
CAIR-OK is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.