Celebrating Eid Al-Adha in the US

Updated 29 January 2014
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Celebrating Eid Al-Adha in the US

Muslims in the US celebrated Eid Al-Adha with religious fervor. While it was a time for family festivities and community gathering for many it was also a time for ‘meaty’ decisions: Where and how should one offer the sacrifice of the animals, should they get a cow, goat or lamb?
Shahid (not his real name as he did not wish to be identified) has been living in the US for the past 15 years. He works for a big and famous car manufacturer but for 11 years he owned and ran a farm.
“My decision to buy a farm was to raise goats especially for Eid Al-Adha because my children were young and I wanted to teach them and expose them to the true spirit of sacrificing and slaughtering animals during Eid Al Adha. In the US, 50 percent people send money home and have their animals slaughtered there. If we want our children to learn and carry on the spirit of Eid to the next generation, I feel it’s important that they see and participate in the sacrifice of animals here at home.”
Shahid said he was very popular with his friends especially during Eid Al-Adha. Everyone came to his farm and slaughtered their animals. “I learned by trial and error. I remember in the beginning I bought a few she goats and had to get a veterinarian who did ultrasounds on them to make sure they were not pregnant as you cannot sacrifice a pregnant goat.”
Shahid said more and more people were choosing to slaughter their own animals because they want their children to learn and carry on the tradition. The American farmers too are now realizing that raising goats is big business. "In 2008, you could buy a goat for $35. The same goat now sells for at least $200.”
This year Shahid sold his farm. “My wife was very happy. She felt that it was not very good for my reputation. She felt I was being known as the ‘Bakray wala’ (the goat guy). I told the American guy who bought my farm, not to be alarmed as there were over 100 goat skeletons and skin buried in the farm.”
Shahid said that back home so many organizations fought over the collection of skin as it fetched top money. “Here unfortunately skin has no value, we end up burying it.”
Arshad sacrificed a cow for the first time this Eid. “The cow cost $1200 and each person got about 55 pounds of meat. “It was a tough experience for me because the farm I went to cut up the whole cow in very big chunk of meat, filled it up in eight big garbage bags and gave it to me. I had to take it all home and cut it up in manageable pieces. I had to do that in my garage. It took hours to do the job. My wife was overwhelmed but happy because after years we got to eat fresh meat.”
Adnan who just moved to Columbus from Chicago was celebrating his first Eid Al-Adha. He ordered a goat from the local butcher. The cost was $5.99 per pound. “I will get the meat in a week as the butcher has too many orders. He slaughtered the animals on the first and second day of Eid and put them in the chiller. Later he will cut up the meat and tell us how much money we owe.
“In Chicago things are very well organized. We went to a slaughter house where we were given scrubs and we had to cover our hair and beard. Our goats came on a moving gurney, tied, upside down. The butcher gave us a sharp knife. I was real nervous as it was the first time I was slaughtering an animal. But I was surprised it felt like a knife going through butter. The blood was drained and it moved on to the next assembly line where it was skinned, cut up and packed all pretty quickly.”
A lady who did not wish to be identified said, “I have high cholesterol and my husband suffers from hypertension so we don’t need to eat so much red meat. We sent money to India to get our animals sacrificed. The meat was donated to an orphan’s wedding and an orphanage. We felt very good and feel this option is the best for us.”
Eid Al-Adha meat is big business — a few minutes of web surfing showed hundreds of sites where you can order a mountain goat, a red goat, a black and white cow and much more. You can have the meat delivered to your doorsteps or to hundreds of cities in your hometown.
Children, especially boys were very excited about watching the animals being slaughtered. Most girls refused to see it. Women complained about dealing with so much meat and all were happy that though it’s a 3-day festivities, in the US it lasts only one day. Next day its back to work and business as usual!


Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

Updated 18 July 2019
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Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • Authorities estimate the mosquer dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries
  • Rare to find house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers

RAHAT, Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.
The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.
There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Makkah but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque — a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south toward Makkah.
“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.,” said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.”