Eid ul-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice is one of the major Muslim holidays.  It comes right after the fifth pillar of Islam called the Hajj or pilgrimage. 

The Hajj commemorates the life and trials of Prophet Abraham's family, upon them peace and blessings.  Once in a lifetime, every adult Muslim who has the physical and financial ability is required to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, home of the Ka'bah, which Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael.

The Hajj pilgrimage is an extremely communal event as over two million Muslims, men and women of varied ethnicities and nationalities, dressed in simple white clothing symbolizing the equality of all people, perform identical rituals.

Eid al-Adha is an occasion to reaffirm our sacrifice, trust and devotion to Allah and to express gratitude for His countless blessings and grace, following in the footsteps of Abraham and his family, upon them peace and blessings. 

This year, Eid al-Adha coincides with the annual celebration of Thanksgiving, and so I also wish happy Thanksgiving to fellow Americans of all faiths.  I extend heartfelt thanks and special prayer to the Native Americans who have endured pain and suffering during this time.  I acknowledge your suffering and pain as well as agree with your narrative of the story. 

Islam nurtures Muslims that a sincere thanks means to acknowledge the true story of any event, and to repair any harm so that the walls built and anger and resentment brewing from within are removed from each others' hearts -- leaving the door open for God to heal the wounds and bond us together as a human family.

Eid ul-Adha celebrations are similar to Eid ul-Fitr with the addition of sacrificing a lamb, goat or cow to commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, who Muslims believe was miraculously replaced by a lamb, similar to the Biblical story.  People share the meat of the sacrified animal with the poor and needy, relatives and friends.

The day begins with a special congregational prayer followed by a short sermon.  People are dressed in their best clothing, and children traditionally receive new clothing as well as other gifts.  Food, holiday congratulations, and festivities such as rides, balloons, and other fun activities for children follow the prayers.  The holiday lasts for four days during which people usually visit or invite each other.

I wish everyone in all places at all times a Eid Mubarak(Blessed Holiday). May Allah accept your good deeds and all your efforts during the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah.

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