BURKE, Virginia – A local church in Burke, Virginia, opened its door on Tuesday, August 21, to host `Eid Al-Adha prayer, accommodating the growing number of Muslims in the community.
“We were able actually to pray and accomplish our `Eid prayer and our goal of getting closer to God, even though it is actually in a church,” Yousef Zerwal, a Moroccan-American Muslim, told Voice Of America.
“So personally, I am proud to be part of this message that, if anything, shows tolerance that exists in this community,” Zerwal said.
Muslims across the world celebrated `Eid al-Adha holiday on Tuesday, August 21 with prayers and slaughtering of cattle, sheep, and goats.
Close to Washington, DC, the Peace Islamic Center in Burke could not accommodate the large number of Muslims who wanted to attend the prayer.
Same as recent years, the center arranged to hold large gatherings at nearby St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
“We are all people of the book — Jews, Muslims, and Christians. And so for me, it is very easy to welcome people of the book, who worship God into our place,” Rev. Tim Heflin, the second rector of St. Andrew’s, said.
`Eid Al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice”, marks the end of the Hajj season and is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.
A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares with six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha celebrations.
The ritual commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah as an act of obedience and submission.
The Udhiyah meat is divided into three equal parts, one each for one’s own family, friends and the poor.
It is permissible that someone in another country could perform the sacrifice on one’s behalf.
“We bought the lambs, goats, and cows about a month ago and prepared them for everybody to slaughter for `Eid al-Adha,” Omar Wali, owner of a halal meat company, said.