Tuesday marked one of the holiest days of the year for Muslims, who welcomed Eid al-Adha with prayer, fellowship, and reflection on the the scriptural story that’s at the heart of the day.
The latter is more than just recalling the details, as Imam Talal Eid told the worshipers who gathered at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo at 10 a.m.: God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his own son, and the patriarch, in a model of faith and obedience, readied himself to comply; he didn’t know, at the time, that God would provide a ram in place of his son.
The imam pushed worshipers toward deeper reflection, challenging them to think about what lessons they can learn from this story and how they remain relevant in their lives.
“[Abraham] faced great challenges,” he said in his sermon. “But what do those challenges mean to you and me? We are supposed to remember those challenges, not just to remind ourselves how great and how incredible [Abraham was], but, actually, what that means for us today and what that means for our life.”
Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, is the second of two major holidays in Islam. Eid al-Fitr precedes it on the calendar, celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan; this year Eid al-Fitr took place in mid-June. Eid al-Adha is aligned with the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage that sees millions of Muslims traveling to Mecca each year.
Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are celebrated similarly, typically with prayers and then more festive fellowship and celebration. During Eid al-Adha, many additionally arrange to donate meat to those in need, in line with a tradition that reflects the central sacrifice of the quranic story.
A unified service gathers thousands to the SeaGate Convention Centre on Eid al-Fitr and on Eid al-Adha. It sees participation from numerous area mosques and community centers, and, on Tuesday, that service began at 9:45 a.m.
The Islamic Center holds its own prayer and celebration, this year drawing an estimated 1,200 people, according to the mosque’s president, Nadia Ashraf-Moghal.
The day there began with prayer, led by Imam Eid, followed by his sermon.
PHOTO GALLERY: Eid al-Adha in Perrysburg
Then came the balloon animals, the photos with favorite princesses and superheroes, and opportunities to enjoy a Middle Eastern brunch; these filled a downstairs gathering space with joyful greetings and enthusiastic conversations among family and friends.
Sherin Ridi, 22, of Maumee, claimed a spot at one of the tables with her family after the prayer. She said her family would continue in that spirit throughout the day, visiting family in the area, door to door, and then calling family members in Palestine.
Anthea Hatoum and Safaa Smaidi, too, were enjoying the company of family, friends, and each other after the prayer. Ms. Hatoum and her family are visiting from Dubai this summer.
The family spent Eid al-Fitr in Dubai, since her children were still in school at that point, said Ms. Hatoum, who is originally from Toledo. So she said it was nice to celebrate this holiday socializing with the family and friends she doesn’t see often.
“It’s nice,” she said, as children darted around her. “In Dubai we don’t have family, really.”
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