Friday, October 26, 2012

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak is just a greeting used among Muslims today, which is the second Eid  of the year for Muslims in the world.  This Eid-al-Adha is the celebration that marks the end of Hajj for all religious Muslims who went to Mecca, and it commemorates Abraham's willingness to give up his son to God.  Funny how most Christians and Jews don't understand that this is the same Abraham they read about in the bible and torah.  The story is that an angel asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac and he made the attempt but God blessed him and didn't actually take his son, but instead rewarded his devotion.

Abdulhamid wearing the traditional white garb for prayer in Mecca

This is at Mecca, Saudi Arabia where Hajj takes place
My husband made a trip to Mecca earlier in the year, but it was not for Hajj.  You can see the huge black cube in the photo above.  People who do Hajj, walk around the stone called the Kaaba seven times.  All Muslims are asked to do Hajj once in their lifetime if they can afford it and are able.  It's difficult to get a visa because there are more people who want to go than there is room for.  While there, they stay in tents or nearby hotels and the focus is on prayer...lots of prayer.  He says it's one of the most incredibly moving experiences because you realize people are all the same.  No matter who you are or where you come from in the world, you're all praying the same prayer together and focusing on God.

In his family for Eid, they usually go to prayer at the mosque in the morning before they eat anything.  Then we all go out for a nice breakfast.  It's bittersweet this year because his oldest sister is leaving to join a medical practice in Kenya tomorrow.  They are in need of doctors, especially women.  Most Muslim women prefer to see a woman doctor.  She has worked here for many years, but was never able to get the credentials to open her own practice.  Unfortunately foreign born doctors who received their credentials in other countries still need to take the medical exam in the US and then have to hope they will get an internship placement.  Discrimination is fierce against older doctors as well.  She was never able to get the internship to practice general medicine here, yet she is incredibly talented and can practice medicine elsewhere.  When I first married Abdulhamid, we were all able to be together for the Eid holidays with his 3 sisters and 2 brothers, but slowly they have moved away to find work.  I'm starting to think we'll be here with no family in a couple of years time.
So now you know why Muslims are gathering today and may not be at work.  If you see them, you can say "Eid Mubarak"!

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