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Eid al-Adha celebrated with gaiety across India
Wednesday October 16, 2013 7:47 PM, & Agencies

Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, was celebrated across India Wednesday with gaiety and religious fervour by tens of thousands of Muslims. The festival also commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail, also a prophet, as a test of faith and obedience.

A divine intervention at the last moment, however, spared Prophet Ismail's life and a lamb was sacrificed in his stead.

The day began with Muslims - men and children, praying early in the morning at eidgahs outside the cities and towns. At some places of the country, women worshippers too joined the men and children for the special prayers of Eid al-Adha though with especially made arrangements.

In New Delhi, Muslims dressed in traditional fineries, across the capital thronged the city's mosques to offer their prayers on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

"People prayed for peace and unity in the country. They greeted one another and exchanged sweets and gifts," Maulana Mufti Mohammed Mukkaram, Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid in old Delhi, told IANS.

After the prayers and the customary greeting of hugging one another and wishing 'Eid mubarak', comes the highlight of the festival, the sacrificing of animals commemorating the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham).

In keeping with the tradition, the meat of the sacrificed animals is distributed among friends, neighbours, relatives and the poor.

Faizan Umar, a resident of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, sacrificed half a dozen goats and lambs.

"The animals have been sacrificed and the raw mutton has been distributed as per tradition. Now dishes like biryani, korma, achari gosht, mutton stew as well as sewaiyan (sweet vermicelli) are being prepared," Umar said.

"A feast will take place in the evening with family and friends," he added.

The liver of sacrificed goats and lambs is considered to be a delicacy.

"It is chopped and fried or cooked in gravy and consumed immediately. It is believed to strengthen the immune system and makes one energetic," said Saima Qureshi, a resident of Jamia nagar in south Delhi.

In Bangalore, about 200,000 worshippers congregated at Hazrath Khazi Abdul Khuddus Saheb idgah ground for prayer and sermon by the chief qazi.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah joined former railway minister Jaffer Sharief and about 100,000 devotees at Bilal idgah on Bannarghatta Road in the city's southern suburb to offer prayers.

Donning a traditional fur cap, Siddaramaiah exchanged greetings with many devotees and participated in a grand feast later.

Considered the second biggest Muslim festival after Eid-ul Fitr after Ramadan fasting, which was celebrated in August, Muslims sacrificed sheep after the prayers to commemorate the spirit of Ibrahim's sacrifice and distributed it to the needy.

Eid was also celebrated in cities and towns across the state including Bidar, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hubli, Mangalore, Mysore, Raichur and Yadgir in the northern region.

In Meghalaya, thousands of men and children clad in new attire and wearing skull caps offered Namaz-e-Eid in Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in Shillong, Dawki, Nongpoh, Lad Rymbai, Byrnihat and Garo Hills region.

The biggest congregation here was held at Laban Eidgah, where over 7,000 devout Muslims offered prayers.

After the prayers, Muslims sacrificed goats and other "halal" animals to commemorate the great sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim and urged people to follow his teachings and the Holy Quran.

Also known as Bakr Eid or Eid-e-Qurban, it is the second major festival of Muslims.

The meat of the sacrificed animals is distributed among neighbours, relatives and the poor.

Muslims also exchanged greetings with relatives and friends and treated the visitors to their homes with sweet dishes.

Meghalaya Governor K.K. Paul and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma greeted the people of the state on the occasion.

Paul hoped "the festival will bring peace, prosperity and harmony in the state".

Extending his greetings, Chief Minister Sangma said: "Eid-ul-Zuha celebrates the spirit of submission to the will of God and may this festival remind us of the importance of charity and sacrifice and also to reaffirm our resolve to strengthen the bond of peace and brotherhood and prosperity."

Muslims constitute four percent of the nearly three million population of Meghalaya.

Muslims throughout Jammu and Kashmir offered Eid prayers at Eidgahs and mosques Wednesday and greeted one another on the festive occasion.

Large gatherings were seen in Eidgah grounds in the old city, at Polo Ground and Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar, and in towns across the Kashmir Valley Wednesday as Muslims dressed in new clothes came out in thousands to join the Eid prayers.

Eid prayers were also offered in Eidgah ground in Jammu city, Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar and other district headquarters of the Jammu region where Hindus greeted Muslims on the festive occasion.

Children clad in festive dresses accompanied parents to the prayer meets, adding to colour and fervour of the festivities in the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offered Eid prayers at Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar on the edge of Dal Lake.

Special security arrangements were made around the Hazratbal shrine.

Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, patron of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), offered Eid prayers at Syed Yaqoob Sahib shrine/mosque in the high security Sonawar area of Srinagar.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik were placed under house arrest by the authorities in Srinagar city Wednesday.

Another senior separatist leader, Shabir Shah was detained along with some of his supporters while he was going to the Hazratbal shrine.

Police said Shah and his supporters were released later.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, offered his Eid prayers at the Jamia Mosque in Nowhatta area of the old city in Srinagar.

Muslims across Kerala also celebrated Wednesday Eid al-Adha, also called Bakr Eid, with reverence and exuberance.

People arrived at Mosques and specially erected prayer centres across the state to offer special Eid prayers.

Muslims in the state rank second with 24 per cent of the 3.20 crore population and districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kochi witnessed large turnouts of the devout.

Right from the morning, Muslim men and women dressed in their best attires arrived at mosques and also at specially erected Eidgahs.

Except in Kochi, where sudden rain forced people to go indoors, people offered prayers in open Eidgahs in other towns and cities.

The biggest Eid al-Adha congregation in Hyderabad was held at historic Mir Alam Eidgah where over 200,000 people offered prayers. The historic Mecca Masjid witnessed the second biggest congregation. Prayers were also held in hundreds of mosques in the city.

Eid was also celebrated in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, Adilabad, Warangal, Vijayawada, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur, Guntur and other towns of the state with people turning out in large numbers at Eidgahs and mosques to offer prayers.

During their speeches before the prayers, the imams also prayed for peace and prosperity in the country.

Muslims constitute about 10 percent of the state's 84.6 million population.

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