Muslims start celebrating Eid al-Adha

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    The 4-day Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, is being observed in some countries starting today but for those living in the Philippines, India and Pakistan, it will not begin until tomorrow (Monday 12th August).

    Eid al-Adha in Arabic means the “festival of the sacrifice” and commemorates the story of the Muslim Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith.

    Muslims believe Ibrahim was commanded by God to sacrifice his son, Ismail and the belief holds that God stayed his hand, sparing the boy, and placing a ram in his place.

    In the village of Mina, near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, it marks the day on which millions of pilgrims perform the symbolic stoning of the devil.

    They will then circle the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, Islam’s most sacred site, before departing.

    The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam. Observant Muslims around the world face towards the Kaaba during the five daily prayers.

    The day is marked with the sacrifice of an animal, usually a goat, sheep, or cow, and the distribution of the meat among neighbours, family members, and the poor.

    The holiday also marks the end of Hajj, the five-day-long pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins and instill a sense of equality and brotherhood among Muslims.