Eid is one of the most important of celebrations for global Muslims. Part of the celebration remembers the sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim AS (Abraham) was prepared to make as an act of obedience to Allah.
In many Muslim countries Eid is celebrated as part of a Bank holiday and festivities can continue for the maximum 3 days.
Eid Al Adha is a time for happiness and to reflect, to forgive, unite, serve and ponder. It is about sharing and a portion of the meat from the sacrificing of animals is delegated to the poor and needy. The whole Muslim community is bought together to remember the importance of sacrifice, and that their lives are a submission to the will of Allah.
Although Eid is a Muslim festival, the majority of Muslims celebrate with people of other faiths as well as those of no faith. In Barking & Dagenham the community gets together to celebrate with a fun day straight after the compulsory Eid prayers. This has served a number of great purposes:
• The fun day brings the local community together, Muslims, those who are non-Muslim, elected representatives, the Police, fire brigade have all attended.
• It has a very positive impact on interfaith relations. Rivergate Church/Centre is where the Muslims of that area pray.
• It gives the young ones (and elders) a chance to get out of the house and do something memorable together. The children go crazy on the rides and activities by lunchtime. The rest of the day can easily be spent visiting and entertaining guests.
We also talked about doing something amazing on Eid day (do something amazing every day is my precise motto). I spoke about visiting Pete on Eid day and goofing around with him by taking selfies, watching F1, sharing a few jokes and... writing a short Eid poem for the assemblies.
I shared the story of One Third Soup Kitchen deciding to keep the momentum going at Eid and holding the Soup Kitchen at Stratford to serve food to the homeless guests who sleep rough in Stratford. I explained the reason for sharing these experiences was in the hope that the young listeners, supported by teachers and their parents would do similar activities when they were older in order to help those less fortunate but also to unite and come together as one human race.
There was a mention of the Salvation Army Harvest Festival in Tower Hamlets - A great example of how the likes of Nick Coke are doing wonders with their interfaith activities. I’m a great admirer of the amazing works of Sister Christine Frost and was chuffed as a cherry when she said that she’d like to invite me to events and activities that she runs. Now that would be an honour indeed.
Here's that Eid poem Pete and I penned together...
All folks happy
Faces so shiny
And Mum screams yay!
Dad seems cheery
Hooray it's Eid day
© Peter Chatfield & Emdad Rahman
P.S. I had a super Eid lunch at Cyril Jackson too.