LYNNWOOD, Wash., July 21, 2021 – Hundreds gathered at the Lynnwood Convention Center on July 20th to celebrate the first day of the Islamic celebration of Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.
As attendees ushered in, dressed in their finest, masks equipped, paper prayer mats were distributed to those who did not bring their own.
After a prayer service, Imam Khalid of Lynnwood Mosque charismatically took the mic to leave the room with five core messages from the Quran.
The five pillars of Islam are the declaration of faith (shahada), prayer (salah), alms-giving (zakat), fasting (sawn), and pilgrimage (hajj).
“Are you willing, starting from today, to take at least ten minutes to speak with Allah with your own heart, to be vulnerable? Those are questions that should be instigated in our hearts and minds. Remember Allah by feeling it, by tasting it, by living it,” Imam Khalid said. “If you are not sure who you are, then have Allah in your heart. Make good relationships with everyone.”
Imam Khalid has been Lynnwood Mosque’s Imam for three years but has been Imam for over 25 years throughout Oregon, Florida, and Seattle. Outside his commitment to his faith, he is also professor of Clinical Mental Health at Antioch University, a field in which he has his Ph.D.
Local elected officials attend event
In attendance at the Eid al-Adha festival at the Lynnwood Convention Center were Mukilteo Councilman Riaz Khan and his wife and current Mukilteo City Council candidate Ayesha Riaz Khan.
Ayesha formed an interest in politics while in India twenty years ago. To her parents, politics for a woman was completely out of question, and they believed she should focus on getting married. Throughout her husband’s campaign, she referred to herself as the person “behind the curtain.”
“I helped him understand what politics is. Many people have said to me, both [of you] will be in politics for the first time and I said ‘yes…buy one, get one free,’” Ayesha Khan joked with the Lynnwood Times.
As an engaged resident of Mukilteo, Ayesha has worked on several projects supporting refugee families, hosting International Women’s Day, and leading the communication panel of ICOM/MAS as a board of director. Her political platform aims to address public safety, expanded sidewalks, and budget allocation.
“This momentum is real and tomorrow is looking great,” Ayesha Khan said.
The Khans typically have a big celebration at their house during Eid al-Adha with food and balloons for the kids. Ayesha belongs to the Islamic Center of Mukilteo but also attends Lynnwood and Everett mosques. As well as a teacher of Islam, she is a substitute teacher in the Mukilteo school district, specializing in English and history.
Eid al-Adha Background
There are two Eids celebrated each year in the Islamic calendar. On May 12 and ending at sundown on May 13, Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr, also known as the festival of breaking fast, typically celebrated at the end of the Muslim month called Ramadan where they fast for 30 days.
“When you are hungry you don’t have the chance to fight with others. You don’t say anything bad because you don’t have that much energy, and you understand all over the world when people are hungry,” Ayesha Khan told the Lynnwood Times.
Eid al-Adha is the second Eid, marked around two months after Ramadan where many Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the same pilgrimage the prophet Muhammed made years ago according to Islamic belief.
“It was one of my best ever spiritual experiences of my life,” Hussam Marouf said, who was in attendance at the celebration in Lynnwood and performed the pilgrimage himself eight years ago.
Because Muslims follow the lunar calendar, Eid does not fall on the same day every year but is dictated by a new moon. Eid is celebrated by sacrificing a sheep, goat, or whatever the family can afford as a reminder of Ibrahim’s sacrifice of his son to Allah. After an animal is sacrificed, the meat is dispersed to the poor, to family, and to friends. The day begins with prayer at a mosque where it is obligatory to donate money to charity to help the poor join the celebration.
“We love all of our brothers. Whether you are a Christian, a Jew, you are all our brothers because we all worship the same God. There are different prophets with different books; Jesus with the Gospel, the Jews with the Torah, and us with the Quran, but we are all united under our faith to God,” Husama, volunteer and member of the Lynnwood Mosque in attendance of the celebration, said.