Muslims celebrate Festival of Sacrifice

09:37, 08 December 2008
717 0

The big mosque on...

From Brownstown Township to Rochester Hills, mosques throughout Metro Detroit will fill today for the celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, one of the two major Islamic festivals of the year, according to

The big mosque on Ford Road, the Islamic Center of America, annually draws 6,000 Muslims who commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son to God -- and the revelation that the blood sacrifices of ancient times were unnecessary to please God or to atone for sin. Many smaller mosques also will attract overflow crowds.

"It is a big day," said E. Shukry Abdul-Ghani, of Detroit, as he completed prayer Friday at the Masjid Wali Muhammad, the home of the first African-American Muslim congregation in the country. "It is the most important of our two feasts."

"We give our children and our families gifts, and we have great big meals, and pray and meet with our families," said Alfred Hassan, who also worships at the mosque on Linwood, across from Central High School. "And it is a big time for donations to the poor. We give a lot at this time of year."

The mosque, once known at Muhammad`s Temple No. 1, was originally in the Black Bottom neighborhood on the east side. Founded by W.D. Fard and led by Elijah Muhammad of The Nation of Islam, the mosque moved to Linwood before it came under the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad`s son, who died in September.

Warith Deen Muhammad embraced what many Muslims considered mainline Islam long before his death.

At a time of harsh economic realities, the charity and the ceremonial sacrifice of lambs or goats and the distribution of the meat from the ritual of Eid al-Adha seems especially poignant. Annually, the freshly slaughtered meat is delivered to the needy, including food banks in Metro Detroit, and the amount of meat distributed grows every year.

There are more than 30 mosques in Metro Detroit

The holy day is a joyous occasion that occurs annually, based on the lunar calendar, at the end of the Hajj, the great, dramatic pilgrimage to Mecca, required of Muslims at least once in their lives.

"It`s a very busy few days for us," said Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, of the Islamic House of Wisdom, in Dearborn Heights.

Imam Dawud Walid, who also is the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan, told those worshipping Friday at Masjid Wali Muhammad that the Prophet Muhammad made the importance of Eid al-Adha clear when he called it "the greater day."

When a goat or ram appeared after God spared Ishmael, Ibrahim`s son, the meaning of the Feast of Sacrifice was also clear, Walid said.

"This was a sign: Not only was God telling them and us that we should not sacrifice our future, but God is in no need of blood sacrifice," Walid said.

"According to the Qur`an, our wealth and blood do not reach God; only our piety.

"This should be a sign to those crazy terrorists who go around killing and blowing up themselves and killing others: This is not Islam!"

For the first time, the members of 10 mosques will host the Greater Detroit Eid al-Adha Carnival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Rock Financial Showplace, in Novi.

"The whole idea came about because we tend to have our own growing communities here in southeastern Michigan, and they are often very separate in terms of activities," said Yusuf Hai, one of the organizers. "So this would be a good time to bring all of the communities together and have some common ground and make it a family event."


If you see a spelling error on our site, select it and press Ctrl+Enter