New Delhi: Thousands of
Muslims thronged the 17th century Jama Masjid and other mosques in
the capital on Eid-ul-Zuha Monday, celebrating the festival with
special prayers and the spirit of sacrifice.
Chants of "Allah ho Akbar" resonated in the narrow lanes of
Delhi's old quarters from the loudspeakers of the Jama Masjid, one
of the main centres for Eid festivities.
"The Jama Masjid was packed, thousands today (Monday) morning
attended the namaz at 8.30 a.m. The namaz is usually conducted
after one hour 15 minutes of sun rise," Syed Ahmad Bhukari, Shahi
Imam of the Jama Masjid, told IANS.
Several other mosques like Fatepuri Masjid and Idgah Masjid in the
national capital were also crowded as people offered prayers.
Eid-ul-Zuha is also known as Eid-e-Qurban or Bakr-Eid because of
the spirit of sacrifice it entails. On this day, Muslims offer
goats and sheep as sacrifice.
"The festival underlines the truth that sacrifice brings man and
god close to each other. It is not about the sacrifice of goat or
sheep, but a reminder of one's submission to god and the feeling
of sacrifice and obedience attached to it," Mukarram Ahmed, a
resident of Jamia Nagar in south Delhi said.
People hugged friends and relatives while exchanging greetings
after the morning prayer. After prayers, the devotees sacrificed
goats and other animals and shared the meat with their relatives,
friends and the poor.
"In today's (Monday) sermon, the Imam gave an explanation for the
celebration of Bakr-Eid. The celebration is to commemorate Prophet
Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of
obedience to god. Meanwhile Allah intervened to replace Ismail
with a sheep," said 12-year-old Shaukat Ali, a resident of old
The livestock markets in Delhi sold some of the popular breeds of
goats like Mewati, Barbari, Desi and Totapuri which arrived from
neighbouring sates like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and were
mostly priced between Rs.5,000 and Rs.10,000.
"The meat was cooked for various lip-smacking dishes like biryani,
kaleji and korma. We prepared sweets and desserts like sewaiyaan,
phirni and kheer," said Nadia Shanaz, a homemaker.
Markets wore a festive look. Elaborate traffic and security
arrangements were put in place for the festival.
India has the third highest Muslim population in the world after
Indonesia and Pakistan.