Eid al-Adha celebrations are continuing in Ireland and around the globe as the Muslim festival continues until Friday evening.
Yesterday 500 members of Ireland’s Muslim community celebrated Eid al-Adha in Croke Park.
It is the second year in a row that the stadium held the celebrations as it facilitated socially distanced prayer. However, last year saw just 200 Muslims attend the stadium for the sacred celebration.
On Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, Muslims remember Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son for God.
It is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar and follows the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Eid al-Adha is the second biggest festival for Muslims after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan and was celebrated in May.
The Eid prayer is prayed in open grounds or parks. However, Muslims in Ireland normally pray the Eid prayer in the mosque.
That was until last year when places of prayer were closed due to the pandemic and instead Croke Park facilitated the celebration.
After the Eid prayer families gather together and children receive gifts.
The Eid prayers in Croke Park yesterday were led by Skaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri from Blanchardstown Mosque who paraphrased the legendary Cork hurler Christy Ring who once said: “Let no-one say the best hurlers belong to the past, they are with us now and better yet to come.”
Dr Al-Qadri suggested the same sentiment holds true for Ireland’s Muslim community – better days are yet to come – and said he was “eternally grateful” the GAA made Croke Park available again for a “unique and special” moment.
He added: “Muslim communities throughout Europe face many difficulties. Our experiences in Ireland are not comparable, where prejudice and bigotry does exist it is quickly drowned out in the flood of love and solidarity.”
Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald both attended the celebrations.
Mr Chambers said Ireland has come a long way in becoming a more accepting society, but said there is always more that can be done.
Meanwhile once drawing some 2.5 million Muslims from across the globe to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic pilgrimage has been dramatically scaled back due to the virus.
This year, 60,000 vaccinated Saudi citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia have been allowed to perform the hajj.
Indonesia marked a grim Eid al-Adha amid a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation as large gatherings were banned and tougher travel restrictions imposed.
“Don’t do crowds,” Mr Amin said in televised remarks ahead of the start of the holiday. “Protecting oneself from the Covid-19 pandemic is obligatory.”
The surge is believed to have been fuelled by travel during another holiday, the Eid al-Fitr festival in May, and by the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
Muslims in the UK have gathered across the country to mark the second of the two Eid festivals in the Islamic calendar, and were able to pray in close proximity following the relaxing of restrictions on Monday.
Some remained cautious, however, about being able to meet in large groups as Covid cases remain high in England.
Davinder Niggar (70), attended a large Eid festival in Southall Park, west London, on Tuesday, which feautured funfair rides and music.
“I am really enjoying it,” he said. “It is good that restrictions have lifted, however, we still need to be careful.”
With reporting from PA