Muslims celebrate Eid-ul Zoha with gusto

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 21:

Muslims in Nepal today read special prayers in the morning to commemorate Id-ul Zoha or Bakr-Eid. The three-day festival is marked by sacrifice of four-footed animals like goats, sheep and camels. After sacrifice, the animal is divided into three parts — for the family, for relatives and for distribution to orphans, needy, widows and deprived.

Muslims, in droves, hugged and greeted one another after the prayers at the Nepali Jame Masjid at Ratna Park. Markets outside the mosque were crowded with buyers eager for sweets peculiar to the occasion. Everywhere, cries of “Eid Mubarak” resounded. Salim Khan, chairman of the Nepal Muslim Association, said, at least 10,000 Muslims celebrated in the Valley alone. “We celebrate it with trust in God and for spreading good wishes among fellow beings.”

Khan explained that Islamic tradition says the Archangel Gabriel appeared in a dream to the Aramaic prophet Abraham or Ibrahim (as Muslims call him) and told him that God had ordered him to sacrifice the most beloved of his possessions. Three days in a row, Ibrahim sacrificed his livestock, grains and wordly riches. Still, the Archangel kept appearing in dreams and asking why he had not done the needful. Ibrahim then prepared to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail. Just as he was about to run the knife on Ismail’s throat, the Archangel told him to stop. A goat was substituted for sacrifice as it was only a test for the father. Since then, tradition dictates that Muslims sacrifice animals on this day.

Khan said Id-ul Zoha is one of the two biggest festivals for Muslims for the last 1400 years. They have to obey the rules of God, which entail fasting for a month in Ramadan, praying five times a day, the Hajj, donations and sacrifice. “However, for those who are not economically capable, Hajj, donation and sacrifice is not compulsory,” he added. The festival is celebrated on 10th day of the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Meanwhile, in a message of fraternity and solidarity, the Christian Efforts for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation sents its greetings to the Muslim community on behalf of Christians.