To observe Eid Al-Adha, the Muslim Student Association made 100 sandwiches for Urban Ministries Saturday afternoon.
The MSA hosted a celebration on the back lawn of West Duke complete with food and performances by various members of the group. The festival of Eid Al Adha—described by members of the MSA as the festival of sacrifice—was also an opportunity for a service activity.
In lieu of the traditional lamb sacrifice, MSA made bagged meals for Urban Ministries—a nonprofit organization that provides food, shelter and clothing to impoverished neighborhoods and the homeless.
It is a custom to sacrifice a lamb for Eid Al Adha in memory of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of Allah and Allah’s subsequent mercy in permitting him to sacrifice a lamb instead, said Ahmed Al Shareef, senior and president of MSA in his introduction of the event.
"We made sandwiches for the Urban Ministry which is the equivalent of sacrificing a lamb and giving a third to those in need," said freshman Sama Naqeeb, a member of MSA.
For the service activity, guests at the festival took turns making sandwiches and bagging baby carrots in an assembly line.
On the day of Eid al-Adha—which was actually Oct. 15—people usually go to the mosque for Morning Prayer, said Shajuti Hossain, junior and vice president of MSA.
“When I’m home, my family has lots of friends in Raleigh—so we usually go to five to seven peoples houses to eat and celebrate,” Hossain said.
MSA hosts an event—either a banquet or an outdoor festival—for Eid al-Adha annually so that students can have a way to observe the festival even though they are away from home, Hossain noted.
"It is hard celebrating any religious holiday, that would normally be spent with family alone, but this festival reminded me of home by celebrating Eid in the same way I normally would," Naqeeb said.
The student-run event served food from Almadina Supermarket—a Middle Eastern grocery store in Raleigh. There were lamb and chicken stews, hummus, pita and baklava. For activities, the MSA got a bouncy slide, a snow cone machine and students could get henna tattoos. The celebration stretched all afternoon and attracted students of different backgrounds.
Naqeeb emphasized that it is important to remember to give back to the community while celebrating Eid al-Adha.
"One cannot be caught up in their own celebrating and forget those in need—those unable to celebrate due to extenuating circumstances or financial hardships," Naqeeb wrote in an email Sunday. "Therefore, the celebration of Eid requires us to give back."