ADDIS ABEBA – The 1440th Eid Aladha is being celebrated across Ethiopia, where many Muslims turned out at Mosques and public places to observe the day in huge congregations on Sunday.
In the capital, hundreds of thousands of Muslims turned out for the Eid prayer in and around the city’s old stadium which is located in the capital downtown.
Eid al-Adha, which in Arabic literally means the “festival of the sacrifice”, commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith.
Muslims believe Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Ismail. The belief holds that God stayed his hand, sparing the boy, and placing a ram in his place.
Celebrate in love
Speaking to the congregation at Addis Abeba Stadium, Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council president, First Mufti Haji Omar Edris passed a message of good wish to celebrants in Ethiopia. The country hosts the second-largest Muslim population in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The president urged Muslims to stand by the side of needy, observe the day in love. Frist Mufti Haji Omar also said that Muslims should observe the day in Allah’s way in that helping the elders, and share what they have with them.
Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday during which animals are generally sacrificed, the meat from which is distributed to the poor.
Ethiopian Muslims have recently welcomed a new Majlis (Supreme Council) that enjoys the support of all after decades of sectarian divisions and a political interference before Abiy Ahmed taking the office of the prime minister, who spearheaded the latest successful efforts at unifying the Muslim community.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Abiy shared Eid-al-Adha messages with Muslim faithful celebrating the festival of the sacrifice, and said unity is the key to solve Ethiopia’s complex problems and achieve growth and prosperity.
“We should choose unity and peace over division and conflicts,” Abiy said adding the government recognizes that the unity of the Muslim community is the foundation for the strength and unity of Ethiopia.
The holiday also marks the end of Hajj, the five-day-long pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins and instill a sense of equality and brotherhood among Muslims.
Any Muslim, who has the financial means to undertake the pilgrimage, is expected to take part in it at least once in their lifetime and constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam.
During the last three days of Hajj, male pilgrims shave their heads and remove the white terrycloth garments worn during the pilgrimage. Women cut off a small lock of hair in a sign of spiritual rebirth and renewal.
Almost 2.5 million Muslims took part in this year’s Hajj, with more than 600,000 coming from outside Saudi Arabia, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.
Photo Caption: Muslims gather to perform the Eid Al-Adha prayer at Addis Ababa Stadium on August 11, 2019. Eid-al Adha is one of two most important holidays in the Islamic calendar, with prayers and the ritual sacrifice of animals. [Photo Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency]