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Muslims celebrate 'Blessed Eid'

January 01, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - They began the day in prayer. And later, they stood, hugged and said, "Eid Mubarak."

The phrase means "Blessed Eid," a day that about 500 area Muslims celebrated Sunday at the Islamic Society of Western Maryland in Hagerstown.

Abdul Waheed, chair of the Islamic Society, said Eid occurs on the 10th day of the lunar month Zulhajj.

Eid is celebrated as a day of sacrifice, remembering that the prophet Abraham sacrificed his most precious thing, his son, for God. Muslims slaughter animals on Eid, Waheed said.

On Sunday, while many were at the Islamic Society, others were at a slaughterhouse in Williamsport sacrificing goats, cows and lambs, he said.

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Zafar Malik said someone was at the slaughterhouse on his behalf Sunday morning.

"People who can afford to, they must slaughter to follow the method of Abraham," Waheed said.

Malik said that traditionally, one-third of the slaughtered animal is kept, one-third goes to a friend and the remainder is given to charity or the community.

It was the idea of community and brotherhood that was discussed during the morning prayer.

"Today is basically about unity and sacrifice," Malik said.

The topic discussed during the prayer was unity among Muslims and service to humanity in general, Waheed said.

Shahab Siddiqui described the day of Eid as a "joyous day."

Gifts were given, and later in the day most planned to visit friends and family at their homes, he said.

"People will celebrate all day," he said.

The many children celebrating Sunday enjoyed pony rides and a clown.

Waheed said that every year more people attend the Islamic Society prayers and events. This year, there were 70 families from Russia and many from Africa.

Waheed said those at the Islamic Society on Sunday were from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

"We're really feeling this is a multi-national center," he said.

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