Eid Al-Adha Celebrated in California
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Eid Al-Adha was celebrated with a great deal of enthusiasm at various mosques in the Sacramento, California area on Friday, September 1, 2017. Since it was just not possible to visit all of the congregations in the area, this time the choice was made to start the day with prayers at the Muslim Mosque Association Downtown “V Street” Masjid and later visit either the SALAM Eid event at the Citrus Heights Community Center or the Tarbiya Institute after-prayer activity at McClellan Park to socialize.
Just as a side note, this reporter usually attends Eid Prayers at the SALAM Islamic Center, the downtown Mosque or at Tarbiya depending on the circumstances that day. This time the 411 V Street Masjid was visited for participating in prayers. This “Jame Masjid” as it is named located in the downtown Sacramento area also happens to be the oldest continuously operating Mosque in the United States west of the Mississippi river. It was founded in the year 1947 by Muslims from South Asia (British India) who came to settle in this part of California in the early 1900’s. These founders hailed mainly from the Punjabi and Hindko-speaking belt located in what is today’s Pakistan.
I was able to join in the 10:00 am second shift of prayers at the V Street Mosque (there are now too many participants to hold a single Eid prayer event here). Even the second shift overflowed into the courtyard as the congregation led by Imam Qasmi offered prayers to fulfill the requirements that Muslims observe at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. For those readers that may not be aware, Eid Al-Adha or the feast of sacrifice, is the holiest of the Muslim holidays during which Muslims revisit the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son. They enact this event by sacrificing animals (mainly goats, sheep and cows) and dividing the meat to distribute amongst the poor, relatives, neighbors and friends while keeping some for themselves. Needless to say, in the days following Eid Al-Adha, many poor people in the Muslim countries get to eat quite well.
The atmosphere at the downtown Mosque after prayers was reflective of Eid in Pakistan. Imam Qasmi was especially reflective in his Khutba or sermon this year as he asked for prayers for people suffering in many places in the world (including in Texas where Hurricane Harvey has caused major damage recently). He also asked for prayers for the elderly and the sick in our local community. The scene after prayers outside could have been out of Pakistani Punjab with an American touch as sweet jalebi and pizza were consumed and many people were seen hugging each other in the traditional Eid way.
When I reached the Tarbiya Institute after the Eid event, it was winding down. Imam Azeez was having lunch with his wife and brother but did not mind the interruption. Many friends from Placer County and El Dorado Hills came to this location after prayers, giving it a festive air. Indian American comedian Hasan Minhaj was also present here and posed for many photographs with local families. His parents Najme and Seema are long-time residents of the Sacramento area and Hasan grew up in nearby Davis and attended school there so we can all be proud of his recent success.
The SALAM venue was visited for an Eid party on Saturday and many area Muslim families gathered at this Islamic Center for a celebration on Sunday, September 3rd during which kids had a great time and their parents had another opportunity to socialize before the third and final day of the Eid holiday weekend wound down.