Members of the Islamic faith gather at the Cavan Islamic Cultural Centre to celebrate the holy festival of Eid al-Adha.

Islamic community celebrate religious festival of Eid

The temperature, the clear blue sky and the mellifluous hum of the Muslim prayers intoned in the Cavan Islamic Cultural Centre bring an North African flavour to Gortnakesh. The holy festival of Eid al-Adha, also known as the ‘festival of sacrifice’ or Greater Eid, has brought a throng to the local Islamic place of worship. The carpark is full as the devout gather to celebrated the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic or lunar calendar. Also known as Eid Qurban or Qurban Bayarami, it marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Hamaad Sajid explains the significance of the ceremony: “It’s one of the two most important religious festivals we have in the year. Eid al-Adha is the Arabic for festival of sacrifice. It is the latter of the two official holidays celebrated in Islam. It honours the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Gods command. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, God provided him with a lamb to sacrifice instead. It also marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca,” he tells.

Hamaad says the community of his religious faith has been growing in recent times: “It has evolved over the years. I was born and bred in Cavan. Through the year I have seen a huge increase in numbers and, Alhamdulillah, thanks to God we now have our own mosque here in Cavan.”

An outside observer of the Islamic celebration would be struck by the segregation of men and women: “In the faith women can read or celebrate this festival at home. As our place of worship has grown, we are able to accommodate them here as well. There is a male and female side of the mosque,” Hamaad explains.

After the Eid prayer, families will get together and visit each other, and children will get gifts - called Eidi.