P.A. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

Rizwan Ali with his wife, Saima Rizwan, 11-year-old son Muhammad Umer Rizwan, seven-year-old daughter Fatima Zahra and three-year-old son Muhammad Mumin Rizwan dressed in new traditional clothes as part of celebrating Eid al-Adha. (Courtesy Rizwan Ali)

Bianca Bharti, Daily Herald

Muslims in Prince Albert gathered at the local mosque to celebrate Eid al-Adha at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, joining the 1.8 billion Muslims who also celebrate.

For the religious holiday, people dressed in their nicest, new traditional clothing and kicked off the celebrations with special Eid prayers, a sermon and breakfast afterwards. People indulged in festive foods, like chana, aloo puri, seviyan and of course, Tim Hortons coffee.

Eid al-Adha differs from Eid al-Fitr in that the latter celebrates the culmination of Ramadan — a holy month of fasting for Muslims around the world, said Imam Irshad Unia. Eid al-Adha honours the prophet Abraham, who was asked to kill his son to show his devotion to god. As he was about to do it, god replaced his son with a ram just as he was about to slaughter him, sparing his child.

As a way to commemorate this, Muslims across the world slaughter an animal and divide it into three portions: one-third for the poor, one-third for friends and family and one-third for themselves. Usually goats, sheep or cows are slaughtered.

For Rizwan Ali and his family, it’s always a wonderful time of year when Eid comes around.

“The whole community gathered, showed unity and celebrated with (everyone).”

Originally from Pakistan, he said the Muslim community in Prince Albert is small but united. Many Syrian and African refugees call the city home, and what’s great about Eid, he added, was being able to help them out during such a giving time.

Local Muslims usually go to nearby farms to have their animal slaughtered and after they will divide it up. He wasn’t able to go since he had work, but asked his friend to sacrifice a goat on his behalf.

Ali, who owns the Pharmasave in West Hill, attended prayer in the morning with his wife and three kids after fasting on Monday.

Usually, people can fast for the nine days leading up to Eid al-Adha, but most choose to fast on the day before Eid. That day also coincides with the last day of hajj, a pilgrimage Muslims are required to do at least once in their life.

After hajj is done, Muslims focus on giving charity in the form of feeding the poor and donating zakat, part of their wealth.

“It reminds us that we have to look after our brothers and sisters who are not very fortunate,” Ali said.

“That spreads a message of caring and looking after them.”

Celebrations and giving goes on for about three days, where families will host gatherings in their homes to socialize and eat food.

Those celebrating Eid in Prince Albert will also be hosting a community event on Sunday at the Margo Fournier Centre, featuring cultural foods and celebrations.

Ali’s favourite food to have on Eid are kebabs and tikka boti (chicken skewers).