“Eid Mubarak, Eid Mubarak” thus sharing their joy with others can be seen a large number of people clad mostly in spotless white Kurtas and Pyjamas and caps of various sizes and shapes, near the Eidgah and other places in Udaipur on the occasion of Eid-al-Azha. An annual festival of Muslims, Eid-al-Azha is celebrated in the last month of the Hijra calendar. This month, Muslims from all over the world gather at Mecca to celebrate Haj. To celebrate the festival of Eid at other places is like the partial performance of Haj. It is a day of solidarity.
As only a selected number of Muslims are able to visit Mecca and perform Haj, the remaining celebrate Eid al-Azha wherever they live. Spread out across the world the entire Muslim world is involved in celebrating this grand festival. The expression literary means Eid of Sacrifice. On this day Muslims sacrifice an animal. It is a symbolic sacrifice and reminds one of the real sacrifices required throughout life.
There are two main festivals of Muslims.
One is Idul-Ul-Fitr (Mithi Eid) which comes after 29-30 days of Ramzan and is a reward for those who fast during Ramzan. A definite amount is given in charity to the poor. A ‘fitra’ of wheat is given for each family member. It is called Mithi Eid as the first thing that is taken after ‘roza’ is sweet.
The second festival is called Eid-al Azha and comes after about two months of the first Eid. Eid-al-Azha reminds one that Haj and its practices are a symbolic re-enactment of acts performed by the family of Abraham that is, the father Abraham, the son Ishmael and the mother Hajira. The story of Eid-al-Azha is that Prophet Abraham had a dream in which he saw that he was sacrificing his son Ishmael. A great believer in God, Abraham took this dream to be literary true and decided to sacrifice his ten-year-old son. But, according to the tradition, God Almighty sent His angels and asked him to sacrifice an animal instead of his son.
The real sacrifice, according to God’s planning was that Abraham had to settle his son along with his mother, near Mecca, which at the time was nothing but a vast desert. This settlement would require great sacrifice on the part of this family. However, the settlement of this small family in the desert was the beginning of a new phase. After a few years, a caravan passed that way and Ishmael married a girl from that caravan. This was the beginning of a new generation called the Ishmaelites. On the auspicious day of Eid, there is great enthusiasm amongst Muslims in Udaipur right from early morning. Young and old clad in new clothes begin to proceed to the mosques in the form of small processions.
Special ‘namaz’ is performed in about 27 big and small mosques in all parts of the city such as those at Choti Masjid Savina, Badi Masjid, Savina Masjid Khara Kuan, Anjuman, Masjid Raza Colony, Mallatalai, Masjid Pahada, Masjid Sajjan Nagar, B. Block, and B. Block Masjid Dholi Bawri, Masjid Chipa Colony Mallatalai, Jahangiri Colony, Mallatalai, Masjid Diwan Shah Colony, Patel Circle, Masjid Rehman Colony, Masjid Gosia Colony, Kishanpole, Masjid Hiran Magri Sector 5, Masjid Makbara, Surajpole, Masjid Khanjipir, Jama Masjid, Chamanpura, Masjid Ayad Idgah, and Masjid Idgah Purana Station.
Muslims gather in large numbers at the centrally located Paltan Masjid near Chetak Circle. The Maulana leads the ‘namaz’ and reads the ‘Khutba’. Before, the ‘namaz’ the importance of the occasion and ‘Kurbani’ is explained Thousands of persons pray for the peace and welfare of the country. They embrace each other and exchange greetings. After that, they visit the graveyard to offer floral tributes and incense sticks at the graves of their relatives. They pray for the forgiveness of sins and place in ‘jannat’. Returning home they perform the ‘Kurbani’ rites and distribute the ‘tabrruk’ among their relatives, friends, and neighbors. So also among those who are not able to perform this rite.
The Daudi Bohras also celebrate the festival with great rejoicing. Namaz is offered at Moyidpura Masjid, Burhani Masjid, Fatehpura Lukmani Masjid, Saidi Khanjipir Saheb, Mallaitalai Masjid, etc. After the ‘namaz’ there is Kushi Ki Majlis. In addition to ‘Kurbani’ rites at home, there is community ‘Kurbani’ at Jamat Khana at Bohrawadi. As a large number of people belonging to the Bohra community reside in Bohrawadi, the area wears a festive look throughout the day. Two main practices are done by Muslims on this day-congregational prayer in the mosque and the sacrificing of an animal. These two practices reflect the basic spirit of the occasion, a combination of two important states of mind-spirituality and dedication.
Prayer is an expression of spirituality and sacrifices that of dedication. Eid is a big occasion that brings about communal harmony when people of other communities such as Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs visit Muslims’ homes to greet them and are warmly entertained.