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Sacrifice and Execution

By Timmy Watson in News on Dec 30, 2006 8:30PM

Muslims around the area are getting ready to celebrate Eid Al Ahda, or, the Feast of the Sacrifice. The Eid, one of two celebrated by Muslims throughout the year, comes at the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage involves nearly 2 millions muslims every year, and every person of Muslim faith who is able bodied is obliged to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime. Saudi Arabia issues special visas to foreigners to visit the site, and no person of non-Muslim faith is able to enter.

06_12_30_arafat.jpgThe Feast of the Sacrifice is in remembrance of the prophet Abraham's sacrifice of his own son, Ishmael, at the request of Allah. Many Muslims have animals sacrificed in their name, and the Chicago area is known for taking orders from Muslims around the country and making those sacrifices. Once the animal (usually a lamb) is sacrificed, the meat is then sent to the family. Tradition shows the animal is divided into three parts a third poor, a third for neighbors, and a third for the family.

This year there were differences between Sunni Islam and Shi'a Islam regarding which day the Eid Al Ahda fell on. Sunni's believes the sacrifice is to take place today while Shi'a's believe it is to take place tomorrow. The ritual is based on the five pillars in Sunni faith and the 10 branches of religion in Shi'a faith. The five pillars and the ten branches of religion are at the core of the differences between the two factions of Islamic faith. These are also the two groups in Iraq that may or may not be in a civil war right now.

The culmination of the Hajj this year comes at an increasingly polarizing time in the Islamic world. Many Sunni's are showing displeasure that the execution of Saddam Hussein was hurried and fell on the day Sunni's were completing the Hajj. This, in combination with the current situation in Iraq and the executioner yelling out "long live Muqtada al-Sadr" right before the hanging could result in rising violence.