25TH MARCH 1999
Welcoming Prime Minister Tony Blair’s ‘first ever Eid greetings to British Muslims’, Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the message was a gesture of great and historic significance. In sharp contrast with those who say that civilisations must necessarily exist in a state of clash, the Prime Minister offers the high vision in which civilisations pro exist and enrich each other. Mr Sacranie added: “This is a vision which the community is going to reciprocate fully and wholeheartedly.”
Iqbal Sacranie also reminded Muslims of their obligation to reciprocate fully by contributing to the progress and development of the country. Eid al-Adha and Haj signify sacrifice and tell us about unqualified obedience of God. In his farewell Haj the Prophet (peace be upon him) also proclaimed the sanctity of human life, inviolability of human dignity, and equality of all men irrespective of race and colour. Muslims therefore need to live and share these fundamental values with the rest of humanity.
Note for Editors: Each year Muslims the world over celebrate Eid al-Adha (pronounced eed-al-od-ha) on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the eleventh month in the Islamic lunar of ‘Hijri’ calendar. The calendar dates from the Hijrah – the epochal event of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) migration from Makkah to Madinah in the year 622 CE.
Eid al-Adha or the Festival of sacrifice commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmail at God’s command. The day begins with congregational prayers followed by sacrificing a lamb, sheep, goat or cow. The meat is divided into three equal portions: one for the family, one for relations and friends and one for the needy. The rest of the day is spent visiting friends and families and exchanging gifts and greetings.
In Britain Muslims makes sacrifice according to the Halal method of slaughter in approved slaughterhouses. Besides making sacrifice locally many Muslims also arrange through recognised Charities to have their sacrifice offered in areas of need, such as Bosnia, Kosova and other countries in Asia and Africa.