- Posted October 25, 2012 by
dearborn heights, Michigan
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Hajj: Have you been?
Eid al-Adha: With Our Family
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
Eid al-Adha with Our Family
Eid al-Adha is a unique occasion for our family. On the day of the Eid Holiday, we wake early to have breakfast together and prepare to attend the Eid Service at the mosque. In advance, I put together a play list of Eid songs and prayer for the children to get into the spirit on our way.
Following up with last minute preparations we welcome close friends and congregation members of the mosque, with Eid Mubarak- congratulating everyone on the blessed holiday of Eid al-Adha. Leading up to the start of the prayer, faithful participants line the prayer room where together they recite words of praise to God for all blessings and pray for God to have mercy on humanity. The imam stands, inviting the faithful to prayer and congregants stand together performing the ritual eid prayer. Upon the completion of the prayer, congregants are seated to listen to the sermon of the imam that highlights the significance of the Eid holiday from an Islamic perspective making note of the current events of muslims around the world. The service concludes with sweets and activities for the children.
Participants depart to enjoy in a day of family unity. From celebrations with food and an exchange of gifts to visiting the graves of deceased loved ones. Eid al-Adha highlights selflessness and submission to the will of God. Many Muslims will spend the day volunteering to help others, will donate money to help the poor and will even sponsor a sacrifice of an animal for the meat to be distributed amongst the poor and community.
For my family, Eid al-Adha is slightly different with the absence of my husband, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi who traditionally leads a group of community members on the hajj pilgrimage, located in Medina & Makkah, Saudi Arabia. While we are celebrating here in the community, pilgrims of the hajj are in their final stage of the pilgrimage that include prayer and meditation, symbolic stoning of the devil (intention of eliminating from ones life, sin and temptations), contributing for an animal to be slaughtered and distributed in the pilgrims name for the poor and circumbulation of the Kaaba symbolizing to be in a hurry to respond to God and to show love for Him. Participants of the hajj are rejuvenated from the strong feeling of unity and return to their communities around the world with a sense of one family, under one God.
It feels different not having my husband present on a major holiday, however, we all are comforted that he was blessed to attend this yearly spiritual revolution of the soul and event of global unity. I have made a hajj pilgrimage, 5 years ago. While it is a dream to make it again, our two small children come first so I will wait to make it another time when they are older.
Leading up to the Eid I have been preparing our children to wish everyone a happy Eid. My son, age 2 woke today on Eid saying," Happy Eid, Hajj Dad" (the title of Hajj is given to participants who complete the hajj). The kids and I decorated the outside of our house with white lights and a giant sign reading, "Eid Mubarak".
Traditionally because we try to instill a humble lifestyle upon the children to give rather than receive, the gifts of Eid in our house are rather humble. The gift for Dad on the occasion of Eid and completion of his hajj rituals is an image of the children I took in their holiday clothes- to be delivered via text message, from Michigan to Mina, Saudi Arabia! For the kids, they are given a card full of well wishes for their future, that they will one day be able to read on their own. While my children are too young to fully understand the concept of giving, I gave them some money to donate to the poor. Nothing warms the heart more than to see our 1 year old daughter who just began walking recently, wobbly walk away from the donation box clapping because of her successful deposit- that smile is my Eid gift!
Michigan is home to one of the largest populations of Muslims within the United States. Hundreds of hajj pilgrims of the metro-Detroit area will soon be returning with the title of Hajj (male) and Hajji (female).
On the Occasion of Eid al-Adha, from our family to yours, wishing for peace, justice and blessings!