Holiday celebrated at Concordia

About four hundred people attended the Muslim Student Association’s Eid Al-Adha dinner party of fun and fellowship on Feb. 23, on the seventh floor of the Hall Building.
Eid Al-Adha is the second of the two major Islamic holidays and commemorates the end of Hajj or pilgrimage, a spiritual journey to Mecca that is obligatory for all Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage though, occurs only if one’s health and financial situation permits it. This year, there were 1,000 Canadians amongst the 2 million Muslims who gathered to worship in Saudi Arabia.
At Concordia, the planning and organizing of the Eid Al-Adha dinner party took four weeks. Shaima Al-Khalili, the Eid celebration organizer and co-ordinator, insisted this is one of the most joyous occasions of the year. “As Muslims, we have two holidays. [Eid Al-Adha] is the completion of Hajj and the expression of your faith. You’re all equal [because] you’re all wearing the same thing and worshiping the same God.”
For sub-coordinator Deena Alabbas, this Eid celebration is very special because her mother left with a group for Mecca on Feb. 14 and her family is being reunited in Iraq. “It’s very spiritual, and the family is reuniting,” smiled Alabbas. “[Eid is] about unity, and we’re all doing this together.”
The Eid Al-Adha celebration started on Feb. 22 and ended on Feb. 25. It lasts four days and commemorates the Abramic tradition of when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to God but was prevented from doing it. What Muslims do is sacrifice a sheep and give a portion to the poor as charity and a way of sacrificing their wealth.
While fellow Muslims were on Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 21 supplicating to God for humanity, Muslims in Montreal fasted. During the 10 days prior to Eid Al-Adha, Muslims fast and thus, the first day of the Eid symbolizes the breaking of the fast. “The reward for fasting is forgiveness for your minor sins from the past year and the year to come,” said Alabbas.
In addition to being forgiven for sins, spending time with family is also important. “With school and [other] things, we don’t have a lot of time for family,” said Bilal Hamideh, the president of Concordia’s Muslim Student Association. “This is the best time to spend with family. During this holiday, my priority will be to spend time with my family. If the family is divided, the whole society will be divided.”
A clown was hired and games kept the children occupied during the day.
According to the prophet Muhammad, one ought to wear new clothes for Eid Al-Adha. Alabbas said if one cannot afford new clothes, one must wear his or her best outfit or the outfit he or she likes best.
After a five-minute prayer, Ziad Al-Kaisy, a representative of the Muslim Association of Canada, who is in charge of the Montreal branch, gave a 20-minute speech. A competition was to follow with questions being asked and gifts given and finally, dinner and socializing.
“It’s a chance for all people to share a common cause for the benefit of the community and their rejuvenation of spiritual strength through this collective celebration,” said Essam Hallak, an active MSA member.

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