Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha at BYU

Zach Rowley takes a picture of traditional Eid al-Adha food while he was in the Middle East. (Zach Rowley)

This Thursday, September 24, marks Eid al-Adha or also known as The Feast of Sacrifice. This is a major Muslim holiday celebrated all over the world as the most important holiday.

Eid al-Adha is celebrated in the last month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. Over the three day holiday many Muslims end their Hajj. That is a pilgrimage, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

The reasoning behind the naming of this holiday, Feast of Sacrifice, is to commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Abraham, when he agreed to surrender his own son after being commanded by God to do so.

Eid al-Adha closely resembles the excitement of Christmas for Christians. It is a time of prayer, communal and familial bonding as well as reflection on both religion and God.

Zack Rowley, senior at BYU majoring in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, shared how it felt to spend this holiday in the Middle East last year.

“When I lived in the Middle East I always asked my friends if they had been on the Hajj yet. I have always been really interested in the Hajj. The Eid meant that everyone I talked to was happy and celebrating,” Rowley said. “We were given cakes everywhere we went and you could feel the unity and joy of the people all over Jordan.”

Nearly 40 Muslim BYU students will celebrate this holiday away from family.

“I cannot believe that I will not wake up to the screaming of my mother, telling us to get ready,” Dalia Aroury, a Freshman Muslim student from Palestine, said.

Unlike Christmas, those celebrating Eid al-Adha do not often have official school breaks. Some students find it hard to balance the holiday celebrations with their homework, especially as midterms start to pepper in the last week of September.

“It feels weird to be here without my family, in a different country and different culture with people who have no idea about how much this day means to us Arab Muslims,” Aroury said.

Some students think that celebrating festivities from one’s home country when they are on foreign soil is challenging. The specific resources that are necessary are scarce, which might limit the full joyfulness behind the celebrations.

Hammad Javed, president of Muslim Student Association at BYU shared his thoughts about celebrating religious holidays while attending school.

“At school, considering that Eid is right in the middle of the week, it is hard to take the time out for a celebration similar to something that one might have in one’s own country,” Javad said.

Javed continued to emphasize the importance of performing some traditions even though he is away from home.

“I will make the time to go offer the morning Eid prayers on Thursday, at the mosque in Orem next to the University Mall,” Javad said. “I will hug everyone three times in a row and wish them Eid Mubarak all three times because that is how we do it in Pakistan.”

Muslim students on campus organize special events on that day to bring some of their special traditions to life.

“Eid is a holiday for people, to get closer to each other and to God, it is a day to remember that matter where you are in this world, your traditions and culture will always be a part of who you are,” Aroury said.

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