COLUMBIA — Muslims worldwide celebrate two major festivals: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Fast-Breaking, marks an end to Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting. Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, is a three-day holiday that commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's faith.
This year, Eid al-Adha begins the day after Thanksgiving. Eid al-Adha marks the end of the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which occurs annually. Muslims who can afford the trip must participate at least once in their lifetimes.
On the first day of the festival, Muslims attend morning prayer services at local mosques and spend time with family and friends. Many Muslims also exchange gifts.
According to Islamic belief, God called Ibrahim (known as Abraham to Christians and Jews) to sacrifice his son Ishmael. As Ibrahim was preparing the sacrifice, God replaced Ishmael with a ram.
"Just like in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Muslims believe that as a mercy to Abraham, God replaced his son with an animal instead," Furqaan Sadiq of the Muslim Speakers Bureau of Columbia said in an email.
Custom is that at some point during the festival, families make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the holiday.
According to the Islamic Society of North America Web site, "The meat should be divided into three shares: one for the family, the second for relatives and friend and the third ... for the poor and the needy."
The Islamic Center of Central Missouri will offer an Eid prayer and sermon at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Windsor Ballroom in the Holiday Inn Select, according to outreach coordinator Rafa Nizam, and the center will host a community dinner the following week.