British Muslims gathered on Sunday, following Saudi Arabia, and on Monday, following the moon, to celebrate `Eid across the country.
The three-day festival of `Eid brought men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims, together in what is traditionally known as the Festival of Sacrifice.
Central London Mosque in Regents Park ran 6 `Eid prayers and sermons on the hour every hour from 7 am, each led by a different imam. Delivered in Arabic first then English, which focused on the religious story behind this `Eid.
The excitement of the prayers was captured by almost everyone using their mobile phone. Highlights included free dates, and desserts when leaving the `Eid prayers, and within the mosque complex, there were a number of stands selling food and drink, including high-end pastries, balloons, toys, and even burgers and curries.
Towards the south of London in Burgess Park, over 6,000 attended a morning service followed by entertainment. I joined local Muslim Councillor Humaira Ali as she went to greet the organizers of the event trying to understand more about the community’s needs.
Necer Afroun, one of the organizers, a Muslim of Algerian descent said, “My name is Naz, I’m the coordinator of the `Eid Al-Adha event. I’m been involved for the past 10 years on the Muslim `Eid (in the park) event. Today mashallah we had a good start, over 6,000 people turned up, so everything went perfect. We had our prayer in the morning. As soon as it finished, some of them got up from here and some went to the funfair where many of them are now.”
Another one of the organizers, Saidat Oketunde, from the Nigerian community who is the Vice-Chair of the Southwark Muslim Forum said, “We had our `Eid today and it was fantastic, the turnout was large, everybody enjoyed themselves. `Eid Mubarak to everyone out there.”
The community spirit was further enhanced with local police on bicycles providing additional support and security ensuring that those attending the `Eid celebration were safe.
On Monday morning, the oldest mosque in the country, in Woking – along with others – offered three services for prayers.
Delivering sermons in Arabic and English, the `Eid spirit was carried with an ice cream van and bouncy castles for young children. The garden of the mosque’s ground was dotted in beautiful roses added a wonderful seasonal flair to the celebration.
Elsewhere around the country communities celebrated, the spirit in Rickmansworth where tea, cake and ice cream was served was captured by Aaqil Ahmed on Twitter:
#EidMubarak from the slightly sunny outskirts of London. A very British Eid with the mayor in attendance and then tea and cake. Hope everyone has a great time and please remember the Kashmiris and their plight in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/k8cLUSpZX6
— Aaqil Ahmed (@aaqil1969) August 11, 2019
With greetings from Prime Minister Johnson, the leader of the opposition parties, `Eid remains one of the many celebrations our nation recognizes and supports, ensuring that Muslims are granted the freedom to live and celebrate. Happy `Eid!
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) August 11, 2019
Jo Swinson, Lib Dems
"As we celebrate Eid, let us let us recognise the enduring and valuable contributions of Muslim communities across the country and let us refuse all attempts to divide our nation." @joswinson https://t.co/zy513PgBLM
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) August 11, 2019
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour
Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating #EidAlAdha today here in Britain and across the world.
As pilgrims finish Hajj, a journey of a lifetime for many, let us all reflect on how we can come together to work for the common good of all. pic.twitter.com/xbhA9S37P8
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) August 11, 2019
Some words from British Muslims:
“On `Eid al-Adha, wishing that your sacrifices will be appreciated and your prayers are answered by the Almighty. Have a blessed `Eid Al-Adha!”
“`Eid Mubarak to all our family and friends, both here and abroad! May the Almighty accept our Qurbani, our Duas and all of our endeavors, and grant us a blessed `Eid Al-Adha. Ameen”
“`Eid Mubarak to all my family and friends celebrating today! May Allah give you the best of this life and the hereafter.”
“`Eid Mubarak to my Muslims and non-Muslims friends, may you always find peace, joy, love and good health!!!”
“It was a traveling `Eid for us this year. Going through the Netherlands, Belgium, France and finally making it back to the UK with Eurostar. We still managed to get our fill of handesh, fatta, meat bhuna, and Bengali roast chicken upon our return. Alhamdulillah for the many blessings in our lives.”
“`Eid Mubarak. Have a lovely celebration with family and friends. Hoping less well off enjoy today some nutrition we take for granted. Best wishes.”
“`Eid Mubarak to all! I was very happy to catch the first `Eid prayer of the day with my sister Onjali Rauf and Aunty at a Sri Lankan mosque in East Ham. I’m looking forward to a day of laughter and food, especially Aunty’s special `Eid chicken nuggets! ”
“`Eid Mubarak to All my family and friends around the world 🌍 love you all ❤️❤️❤️…. Have a blessed Day”
“`Eid Mubarak everyone! A time to remember those in need, the sacrifice of things most important to us, putting family first and having utter faith that God plans the best for you if you believe ”