Mixed Reactions Trail Muslims Eid al-Adha Celebrations in Nigeria

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In Nigeria millions of Muslims joined their counterparts around the world to celebrate Eid al-Adha (Eid ul-Adha or Eid Kabir) also known as the “Festival of the Sacrifice” on September 12, 2016 equivalent to the 10th Dhul Hijjah on the Zulhijjah Islāmic calendar. The festival is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year, and considered the holier of the two.

According to the Quran, the sacrifice is to honor the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to God’s command, before God then intervened sending his angel Jibra’il (Gabriel) to inform him that his sacrifice has already been accepted.

Kids having fun on eid day...Photo/ Thenewstribe.com
Kids having fun on Eid day.Photo/ Thenewstribe.com

In remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice it is compulsory (only for Muslims who can afford it) to buy a ram, goat, cow, or camel, in which the meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts. The family retains one-third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy.

As a Muslim I woke up on that very day of September 12, full of happiness to go for ra’ka’at (rakat) prayer at the Eid ground closest to my home in the city of Kaduna.

We were expected to wear new clothes before leaving home for the mosque but those who do not have the means to purchase new clothes used old garments. In fact, you can read the happiness on the faces of both old, adults and children, as we moved to the prayer ground. We were all praising and thanking Allah our creator. My daughter Fatima and I joined friends and relatives to go for the prayer, which was scheduled for 9:15 a.m. local time, but unfortunately, it started  raining on our way to the Eid ground and we missed the prayers because the Imam prayed earlier than scheduled time, to avoid the rain.

After, slaughtering our animals as part of the Eid activities we were expected to visit friends, relatives, and well wishers, later in the day as scholars encourage faithfuls to exchange pleasantries among themselves throughout the three day period (marked as an official holiday period in Nigeria).

Unfortunately, due to the economic recession witnessed in the country many Muslims couldn’t buy rams but there were those who despite the economic hardship in the country were able to slaughter their rams or otherwise make the needed animal sacrifice.

In some states across the country, the celebrations were low-key due to economic hardship. It was reported on September 13, 2016 by Premium Times, a day after the Eid celebration that some residents of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, blamed the low-key Eid celebration on the current economic recession in the country. Also, a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported from the Federal Government Territory that the usual hustle and bustle associated with the celebration was lacking. At Water Fountain Park, Kado, Dauda Ibrahim, a resident who was there with his children said the economy was not favorable for elaborate celebration.

“It is no longer news that the country is in recession; therefore, I do not expect people to have elaborate celebration in this year’s Eid el-Kabir celebration. There are people who cannot afford to buy ram for the sacrifice, ” as reported by Premium Times.

However, there were still those who refused to allow the economic crisis to stop them and their family members from enjoying the festival as many used the little resources they have to keep themselves happy in the spirit of the Eid. Therefore, I wish all Muslims brothers and sisters Eid Mubarak.