Eid al-Adha & the power of religion
On Tuesday night I attended a beautiful celebration of Eid al-Adha hosted by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) on my campus. Having studied Islam for nearly four years, I thought it was about time I experienced some of the culture outside of the classroom.
Tuesday marked the end of the Hajj, a day called Eid al-Adha. The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that hundreds of thousands of Muslims make every year. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and every Muslim should make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
Muslims all across the globe recognize this day in celebrations big and small, but no picture struck me quite as much as the one below:
Nearly 1.4 million Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year and an indeterminate number can be seen above praying at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. These pilgrims come devoid of most possessions, wearling simplistic outfits of white cloth.
A board member of the MSA made a brief speech about the Hajj and Eid. He then shared some of his favorite bits of his faith that make him smile whenever he thinks of them. I wish that more people could see this simple expression of the Islamic faith. This is how the average Muslim practices Islam. It’s as non-violent as a child opening presents on Christmas morning; as beautiful as the breaking of glass at a Jewish wedding.
It may scare me, but then I remember: it is the unknown that is scary. Understanding and knowledge helps mitigate this fear. And that is why I expose myself to as many religions and religious experiences as possible–because I refuse to fear something by default.
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