New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) The festival of Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated with great joy in the national capital with Muslims offering prayers in large numbers at the Shahi Eidgah and other major mosques of the city.
Despite hot and humid weather, the devout turned up in their best at Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri Masjid, Sunheri Masjid and dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin among others.
The community members quickly returned to their homes to make arrangements for the sacrifice of animals, an essential part of Eid-ul-Zuha.
“Eid-ul-Zuha is celebrated to commemorate the great sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim, who was asked to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail. Allah accepted his gesture and sent an animal from the heavens to be sacrificed,” Mufti Mohammed Mukarram Ahmed, Imam of Shahi Masjid Fatehpuri, told IANS.
“The sacrifice of animals is the ‘sunnat’ (tradition) which is ‘wajib’ (mandatory) for each Muslim who can afford to sacrifice an animal,” he explained.
“A believer is encouraged to donate at least one-third of the sacrifice to the poor and needy, another one-third to his relatives and friends and keep the rest for himself. But one can also keep the entire portion for his family,” the Mufti said.
Soon after the prayers were over early in the morning, people were seen buying fodder for their animals kept for sacrifice.
“It is a very hectic day. We have to look for the right person who would enable us to sacrifice the animal. It is important that we get it done early so that we can distribute the meat to the poor and our neighbours and friends in time,” said Akbar Ali Abbasi, a resident of Ballimaran in Old Delhi.
The festival is celebrated for three days beginning 10th of Zil Hajj, the last month of the Islamic calendar. One can sacrifice animals before the sunset of the 12th of Zil Hajj. It comes a day after the Hajj is performed.
Neither the initial confusion about the exact date of the festival that arose due to non-sighting of the moon (Islamic months and festivals are based on lunar calendar) in and around Delhi thanks to cloudy sky, nor the high prices of goats could dampen the festival spirit.
“This year too animals were a bit costly. But the spirit of ‘qurbani’ (sacrifice) is supreme. The cost does not matter,” said Mohd Faisal, a resident of Turkman Gate who bought half a dozen goats for sacrifice.
Many Muslim organisations have appealed to the people offering sacrifice to be particular about hygiene in their neighbourhood and be sensitive towards the feelings of fellow citizens of other communities who do not consume meat.
The sanitary department of the municipal bodies made special arrangements to ensure cleanliness in the city.