Eid Celebrated Amid Tension with Pakistan at Wagah Border, Sans Sweets Exchange

bakridIndia celebrated Bakrid or Eid al-Adha as millions of Muslims thronged mosques for prayers with government offices, banks and schools closed for the day on Monday, in the backdrop escalating tension at the Jammu and Kashmir border with Pakistan and no traditional exchange of sweets between the two held at Wagah border.

Muslims throughout the country made sacrifice of millions of goats on the occasion to  Allah as per the Islamic tradition and one-third of the animal was offered to the poor, and one third was given to relatives or close family friends.

The flip-side of the festival is that India and Pakistan did not exchange sweets along the Wagah border in Punjab owing to the violation of ceasefire along the international border in Jammu district that left 5 civilians killed and as many as 29 injured.

The firing was resorted by the Pakistani Rangers with the shelling of mortars on 10 border outposts, which included civilian areas along the Arnia belt in Jammu on Sunday night. It prompted an urgent flag meeting between the sector commanders of the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers but Pakistan authorities reportedly refused to schedule the sweets exchange ceremony.

The age-old tradition involved exchange of sweets on Eid with border officers in their uniforms give and receive sweets as a show of goodwill. It is held even during Diwali and Independence Day. However, reports said the regular evening retreat and lowering of flag ceremony will be held as usual.

Bakrid or Eid al-Zuha or Eid al-Adha is the second most important Islamic festival symbolizing the sacrifice made by Ibrahim who tried to follow God’s orders to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael (Ismail) but then God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. This year, it was initially scheduled to be held on Sunday but moved a day further to Monday as the moon was not sighted on September 25.

The basis for the Eid al-Adha comes from the 196th ayah (verse) of Al-Baqara, the second sura of the Holy Quran. The word “Eid” appears once in Al-Ma’ida, the fifth sura of the Quran, which means “solemn festival”.

Eid al-Adha begins with a Sunnah prayer of two rakats followed by a sermon (khutbah). Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the descent of the Hujjaj from Mount Arafat, a hill east of Mecca. Then, Eid sacrifice takes place until sunset on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.

The days of Eid have been singled out in the Hadith as “days of remembrance”. The takbir of Tashriq are from the Fajr prayer of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah up to the Asr prayer of the 13th of Dhul Hijjah (5 days and 4 nights). This equals 23 prayers: 5 on the 9th–12th, which equals 20, and 3 on the 13th.

Bakrid or Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, one of the sacred months, which is also the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar.

Muslims visit mosques wearing new clothes and offer prayers on the day. Then, they make sacrifices of animals such as goats, sheep and camels to resemble the sacrifice made by Ibrahim. Later, they visit friends and relatives and make donations to the poor. Many state governments have declared Monday a holiday and schools and government offices were closed for the festival across India.

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