WEST Belfast’s Islamic community gathered last week at the Iqraa Mosque in Dunmurry to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha and the annual Hajj pilgrimage with a family garden party and barbecue.
Explaining the importance of the festival to their community, local Imam Jamal Iweida said: “This is important to us for two reasons, we celebrate the life of the prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, when he wanted to sacrifice his own son.
“We believe that he was ordered to sacrifice his own son, Ishmael, and he was going to go ahead with it. His son accepted his fate but then Allah gave him a sheep instead and he made this a tradition for Muslims.
“Our prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, sacrificed sheep, and this is what we do to this day.
“The other celebration is for Hajj, which is our annual pilgrimage to Mecca. At this time of year Muslims travel to Mecca. Normally we would have two to three million people travelling there but this year it is limited to 60,000 people because of the pandemic. Muslims are very hurt by that and we hope that next year we can go back to worship as usual.”
Detailing the importance of holding an event for the whole community, Jamal said that it is the best day of the year for the Islamic community.
“According to the tradition of our prophet, Mohammed, peace be upon him, he said that the best day is the day of sacrifice. To show the happiness it is important to bring everyone together.
“They don’t have any other chance to get together, to meet and to celebrate with the children. We made arrangements for activities and games for the children along with some food and stalls.
“People are coming together for the first time at our garden party and enjoying the nice weather which we are not usually guaranteed.”