Story of Eid-ul-Adha in Richmond January 11, 2006 CE 1426 AH
Majority of Muslims in the North America celebrate Eid-ul-Adha by attending a community prayer service. After the Eid prayer, some Muslim have their Animal Sacrifice (in Arabic: Udhiya; in Urdu: Qurbani) at a farm, while a majority visits family and friends. Some communities offer special activities after the Eid prayers that are similar to Eid-ul-Fitr.
Over the years, more and more Muslims are sending their Udhiya overseas and some even had abandoned this aspect of Sunnah(Traditions of Prophet pbuh) altogether. Muslim children and even adults grow up without ever witnessing the Udhiya, the significant part of Eid-ul-Adha.
It is been a challenge for the leadership in Richmond, Virginia like other communities in North America to provide facility where Muslims can sacrifice as a community without hardship. Ultimately, a part of the Muslim community stood up to take the challenge.
After November 2, 2005 (Eid-ul-Fitr 1426 AH), part of the community started the preparation for Eid-ul-Adha. Western portion of Metropolitan Richmond (West End) never held Eid prayers before, so it was decided to organize Eid-ul-Adha in the West End. First step was to find a site closer to the community to accommodate a large number of Muslims. Since there were no big indoor facilities in the West End, and only a farm can meet the regulations for animal sacrifice, Tuckahoe in Goochland County was selected.
[Open Field for Eid-ul-Adha Celebration]
A first concern the organizers had was the weather. As Eid-ul-Adha 1426 AH was expected to start from January 10 or 11 of 2006, arrangements were made to provide weather resistant tents with heaters.
As many components for event were being put together, the next biggest challenge facing the organizers was how to provide the facility for Udhiya.
Initial step was to find the farmers for goat, lamb, and cattle. Care was taken to select the farmers who breeds the animals humanely and can deliver the animals to Tuckahoe. Farmers were contacted and visited.
Muslims were able to reserved and scheduled the delivery of the animals in the morning of Eid-ul-Adha.
The next step was to ascertain that prayer service and Udhiya follow federal, state, and local regulations. This step involved a long and challenging process of understanding the regulations and finding the right contacts.
Based on the recommendations of the regulators, Udhiya area was designed in a way so it may be easy to setup and can be removed at a moment’s notice.
Next challenge was to sell the idea of Eid-ul-Adha celebration to the Muslim community. Many Muslims in the community, including some in the leadership position were consulted. Later, a larger community was informed.
On the morning of Saturday January 7, 2006 in the open field at Tuckahoe, volunteers gathered to setup the different components of the Eid-ul-Adha festival. Separate tents for brothers and sisters were erected and pointed in the directions of Qiblah (towards Makkah, Saudi Arabia) for Islamic prayer.
As days went by, volunteers continued the work. By the evening of Tuesday, January 10, 2006, everything was in place.
On the morning of Wednesday January 11, 2006 around 6:00 AM, the first group of volunteers arrived at Tuckahoe. They were greeted by Goochland county police officer, who has been guarding the facility since 4:30 AM. The volunteers walked toward the tents in complete darkness and fog, with headlights from their cars as their only guide.
At 6:30 AM, volunteers offered their Fajr (morning prayer) in the tent. As they were leaving the tent, a farmer with a trailer full of goats was coming toward them. Volunteers directed the farmer to a location closer to the Udhiya area. More volunteers joined in to start the heaters and assembled the Public Address System. The Sheriff of Goochland County came to greet and reassure the Muslims that his officers would be available to assist them.
Volunteers organized the parking and the tents as Muslims arrived for the first prayer service at 8:00 AM. Another farmer came with rams in a trailer; he was asked to park alongside the goat farmer. Eid Prayer started soon after the prayer leader (Imam) arrived. After the prayer, the Imam started the Khutbah (sermon). The volunteers continued to direct the parking, as more Muslims were coming to attend the prayer service.
After the Khutbah, Muslims greeted each other. Organizers asked the farmers to be ready, as Muslims slowly moved toward the Udhiya area. More Muslims were coming for the second prayer service at 9:30 AM.
Farmers brought the animals one by one to the Udhiya area. Utmost care was taken to shield the dead from live animals. Many children and adults watched the process behind a fence.
Meat from the first few goats was put on the barbeque grill. By noon, close to 30 animals went through the Udhiya area. As ritual continued, organizers prepared for Zuhr (Noon) prayer at 12:30 PM. Grilled meat with rice was served soon after the prayer. Some Muslims ate the meat while working in the Udhiya area.
Many families collected the meat in bags and gave one-third of it to the needy right on the spot. Muslims slowly started to leave. Goat and ram farmers left after their trailers lay empty. The volunteers started the cleaning and wrapped up the prayer area. They unassembled the Udhiya area, gathered garbage, and put things in cars and trucks. The last few volunteers prayed Maghrib (Sunset prayer) before leaving Tuckahoe, and some came back to haul the last few items.
Eid ul Adha 1432 AH / 2011 CE in Richmond Virginia Sunday November 6, 2011
Since then for many years, the Muslim community in the West End continued the efforts.
Just before the Eid-ul-Adha 2010 CE, we found that there was no place to host the festival. Eid-ul-Adha prayer was held at Islamic Society of Greater Richmond (ISGR) whereas the Udhiya/Qurbani were done at various farms around Central Virginia. Few Muslims in the West End continued their efforts to bring back the festival in line with the traditions of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).
After Ramadan 1432 AH / 2011 CE, we continue to look for a place to host the festival of Eid-ul-Adha. Finally, we decided to have the Eid Festival at ISGR, behind GlobalMart (store next to the Masjid or Mosque).
As prayer service and Udhiya went through federal, state, and local regulations, we found that we can only sacrifice few Udhiya/Qurbani for cooking and eating after the prayer.
Eid-ul-Adha in 1432 AH / 2011 CE started from Sunday November 6, 2011. In Richmond, Virginia Eid prayers were held in many places at different timings. We started the Eid prayer at around 8:30 AM. Attendance was similar to our Friday or Jummah prayers. Soon after the prayer, we start preparing for sacrifice. After Khutbah (sermon). Muslims were able to witness the sacrifice of few goats and a lamb. Udhiya was prepared for cooking, and Muslims eat soon after Zuhr prayer at 12:30 PM. Many needy and other Muslims were given meat to cook later.
We wrap up at around 2:30 PM as some brothers left to continue the sacrifice at another farm.
Next day, Monday November 7, 2011, we continued the sacrifice at another farm. In 1432 AH / 2011 CE, we also sacrificed a cow. Seven adults can share the sacrifice of a cow. Some families pick up their cow meat after it was processed, while the rest of the meat was reserved for needy and the Muslims attending the Jummah or Friday prayer on November 11, 2011. Some portion of the meat was cooked to be given free after the Jummah prayer with the raw cow meat. This way many had the chance of eating and cooking the Udhiya/Qurbani meat as some were unable to do sacrifice or they send the udhiya/qurbani overseas. Masjid continued to donate the meat to the needy families with vegetables, rice, and other food items.
According to Hadith (Sayings of Prophet pbuh):
Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 7/443; this is a hasan hadeeth because of corroborating asaaneed).
Narrated Al-Bara: The Prophet said (on the day of Idal-Adha), "The first thing we will do on this day of ours, is to offer the ('Id) prayer and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunna (tradition), and whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) before the prayer, what he offered was just meat he presented to his family, and that will not be considered as Nusak (sacrifice)." . , ,The Prophet said, "Whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) after the prayer, he slaughtered it at the right time and followed the tradition of the Muslims." [Shahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 68, Number 453]
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to Nahr or slaughter sacrifices at the Musalla (on 'Id-ul-Adha). [Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 15, Number 98]
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) used to slaughter his sacrificial animal at the place of prayer. Ibn 'Umar himself used to do so. [Dawood Book 9, Number 2805]
Narrated Shaddad b. Aws: There are two characteristics that I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: Allah has decreed that everything should be done in a good way, so when you kill use a good method. The version of narrators other than Muslim says: "So kill in a good manner." And when you slaughter, you should use a good method, for one of you should sharpen his knife, and give the animal as little pain as possible. [Dawood Book 9, Number 2809]
Narrated that Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not go out on the day of (Eid) al-Fitr until he had eaten, and he did not eat on the day of (Eid) al-Adha until he came back, then he would eat from his sacrifice. [Al-Zayla'i narrated in Nasb al-Rayah (2/221) that Ibn al-Qattan classed it as Sahih Ahmad (22475)].
Since then , the Muslim community in Greater Richmond continued the efforts to revive the Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh).