Eid ul Adha Celebrations in North America
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Eid ul Adha prayers and celebrations in North America
Muslims in North America celebrated Eid ul Adha last week with great enthusiasm and passion. Not surprisingly, Eid ul Adha was also not celebrated on the same day.
The Fiqh Council of North America, which is trying to unify dates of Islamic events, had announced that Eid ul Adha will be on Tuesday, November 16. However a large number of Islamic centers and mosques ignored the Fiqh Council date and relied on their local moon sighting committees to determine the Eid ul Adha day. Hence many decided to celebrate Eid on Wednesday, November 17.
It may be pointed out that in Mecca, Hajj rituals were performed this year on November 15 (9 th Zilhaj) and Eid ul Adha was celebrated on November 16. Since the Fiqh Council of North America ’s Islamic calendar is based on the sighting of moon in Mecca, its Eid ul Adha date coincided with the Saudi Arabian Hijra calendar.
In the Silicon Valley, like other parts of North America, Eid ul Adha was celebrated on Tuesday as well as on Wednesday. The
Muslim Community Association (MSA) of Santa Clara celebrated Eid on Tuesday with a large prayer congregation at the convention center. Islamic Society of South Bay (ISEB) of San Jose arranged the prayers at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds with an all-day Eid mela.
Fremont ’s two major mosques, the Irvington Mosque and Islamic Society of East Bay, celebrated Eid ul Adha on Wednesday. Irvington Mosque arranged Eid prayers at Lake Elizabeth Park to accommodate the maximum number of people.
In Sacramento, which hosts at least 15 mosques, there were Eid congregations on Tuesday as well as on Wednesday. Sacramento’s oldest Downtown mosque celebrated Eid on Tuesday.
Islamic Center & Mosque of Woodland, California celebrated Eid ul Adha on Wednesday. The Woodland Mosque management took the opportunity of the Eid prayer to raise $ 50,000.00, the balance payment for the mosque’s $ 600,000 property bought some three years ago. Now this property is fully paid.
The Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) celebrated Eid-ul-Adha on Tuesday. However, the Islamic Education Center, Houston celebrated Eid on Wednesday. It also issued a sample excuse letter for the school authorities to excuse the absence of Muslim students on November 17 to enable them to celebrate Eid.
Members of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago celebrated Eid ul Adha on Tuesday as well we on Wednesday. The CIOGC is a premiere federated body representing the cross-section of over 400,000 Muslim Americans in the Greater Chicago area.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Community Center and Fox Valley Muslim Community Center in Aurora, Illinois, celebrated Eid on Wednesday.
The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), one of the largest Muslim communities/mosques in the DC Metro Area, celebrated ‘Eid on Tuesday with four prayer sessions at the Lansdowne Flex Sports Center at National Conference Center, in Lansdowne. An Eid festival was also arranged at the Center. All Dulles Area Muslim Society also arranged Eid ul Adha prayers at four other places with four to five prayers sessions at each place.
In Canada, Hilal Committee of Metropolitan Toronto & Vicinity decided to celebrate Eid ul Adha on Wednesday while a number of Toronto mosques celebrated Eid on Tuesday.
In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada , there are more than 80 mosques. Large Eid congregations were held in Scarborough, Etobicoke, Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, Markham, Milton which are part of the GTA.
The GTA has a large concentration of Muslims population. It is estimated that around 400,000 Muslims live there with dozens of Islamic centers. Toronto hosts 19 mosques, Scarborough 16, Mississauga 16 and Etobicoke 7.
In Greater Vancouver, the British Colombia Muslim Association (BCMA) celebrated Eid on Tuesday. Greater Vancouver also has one of the largest Muslim population concentrations in Canada.
These reports indicate that many Islamic centers and mosques did not follow the Fiqh Council Islamic calendar endorsed by the Islamic Society of North America and people preferred to follow their local mosques.
In this situation the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a leading American Muslim organization, took a pragmatic decision and advised the Muslim community to celebrate the Eid holidays with their local masajid, communities and Islamic centers. In an Eid ul Adha message, the ICNA said the organization would like to see more harmony and unity among the Muslim community at the local level.
The ICNA message pointed out that Eid ul Adha is being celebrated by some Islamic Centers on November 16th and by some on November 17th. “We hope that American Muslims will observe the holiday with full piety and dignity—making dawah to our neighbors, co-workers and friends as we embrace this joyous season.”