Eid Al Adha in UAE: A morning of prayer, day of get-togethers

Eid Al Adha in UAE: A morning of prayer, day of get-togethers

Dubai - Worshippers congregated at Eid Musallas to offer the special prayers that started as early as 6.04am in the UAE.

By Saman Haziq and Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:18 PM

Mosques across the UAE reverberated with sounds of takbeerat (Allahu Akbar, meaning God is Great) on early Sunday morning, and thousands of Muslim men, women and children flocked to mosques and musallas to offer their Eid Al Adha prayers.
Worshippers congregated at Eid Musallas to offer the special prayers that started as early as 6.04am in the UAE.
In Abu Dhabi, the biggest gathering was at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. After the prayers, wishes of 'Eid Mubarak' filled the air as families and strangers hugged one other with equal fervour.
"This is what Islam teaches you. All are equal. While the day of Eid Al Adha is one of sacrifice, it also means having to remove the differences between rich and poor from your mind," long-time expat Illyas Muhammad said after performing his prayer with his family.
The Eid Musalla in Mankhool, Dubai, was also filled to the brim, with around 700 worshippers, including children.
Sofia Shaukat, 25, was among the first to reach the prayer grounds, with her parents and sisters.
Sweating profusely yet smiling wholeheartedly, she said: "It almost feels as if I am competing with the sun to see who graces the Eidgah first. Although it was a pretty hot and humid morning, it didn't wear off our enthusiasm of celebrating this auspicious day."
The hustle and bustle of Eidgah always sets the mood for the celebration that continues for the next couple of days, Shaukat added.
For her, Eid Al Adha holds a special significance because of the spirit of sacrifice attached to it.
"The meaning of sacrifice goes beyond putting down an animal. This day teaches us how to be selfless and connects us with our roots of hospitality and generosity, which are the basic teachings of Islam," she said.
Shaukat said it would be a busy day for her family. "After a day of cooking, packing and distributing meat, we will end with a grand feast in the evening at my friend's place," she said with excitement.
'Not our usual Eid'
For Dubai-based expat Ajaz Rasool Budoo, this Eid was not as 'eventful' as it would usually be.
Budoo and his wife Wahidhail are from Kashmir in India, which has been in lockdown with no Internet or phone connections after the government cancelled the region's special autonomous status.
"I was so excited about Eid but since the lockdown, my wife and I have had no contact with our parents, siblings and family in Srinagar. We don't know if they have eaten or if they are well," he said.
"Every Eid, the first thing we would do was to call them and speak to them, but for the past week, our state has been completely cut off from the rest of the world. Although we are welcoming guests and donning a smile, we are tensed and all we are doing now is praying that God takes care of them."
New Muslim?s perspective
For UK national Aisha Ashley Williams - who is celebrating her second Eid Al Adha in Dubai after embracing Islam in 2018 - Eid Al Adha is all about spending quality time with family.
"I live with my 13-year-old daughter Meagan, and our day started with Eid prayers. It was an emotional moment for me as I felt a strong connection with God," she said. Williams also shared how grateful she was to be in the UAE, with a community that gives her "a sense of belonging".
"The support that the community has given me has helped me forge strong bonds. I consider these newfound friends my family, as my daughter and I do not have any relatives in the country."
A devout Muslim now, Williams fasted for the first nine days of the holy month of Dhul Hijja.
"Islam has re-introduced me to life, and I am now very aware of what I do and why I do them. I have seen a sea change even in my daughter after embracing Islam.
Both of us have become much more calm, tolerant and kinder," she told Khaleej Times.
Bonding over biryani
Eid Al Adha is a day of togetherness and love - and to some, a gathering is not complete without a plate of mutton biryani.
Mir Rais - an expat draughtsman at a firm in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi - said he couldn't remember the last time he celebrated Eid with his family. But through the years, he and his friends have become each other's family.
"We all miss our traditions back home but we do our own little celebrations here. We cook biryani in our accommodations and then invite all our brothers over, irrespective of nationalities," Rais said.
Catch-up with pals
Then, there were people like Samir Wali, who spent time travelling to another emirate to catch up with friends, noting that public transport was packed to capacity.
"My circle of friends is in Dubai. Eid and such festivities are occasions when I get together with them. Surprisingly, the public buses were full. The one I travelled in got full. Too many people are travelling to Dubai for the celebrations," Wali said.
Mohsin Khan, a bachelor, has invited friends from Al Ain to explore the Capital city in the next two days.
"It is nice to have people to spend the festival with. There are two more days to enjoy before returning to work. We will go on a cruise and check out the theme parks on Yas Island on the next day."
In the afternoon on the first day of Eid, there was a lull on the streets as people huddled together for lunch, but the atmosphere was revved up by the evening as activities started at malls, hotels and clubs, and restaurants.

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