The holiday honors the biblical story of Abhraham, who is believed to be the father of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Abraham was about to kill his son, when God intervened at the last minute and told him he had proved his devotion.
God then told Abraham to sacrifice a goat instead, a tradition continued by Muslims today who sacrifice a goat or sheep and divide the meat amongst their relatives and the poor.
Two other mosques in Oakland and Bay Point which are part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community did not have Eid celebrations so that everyone could converge at the Milpitas location, which is the largest of the three.
After about 30 minutes of prayers, Muslims spent time with family and friend socializing and eating.
“Everyone’s in a good mood, we talk about recent events, what’s going on in each other’s lives,” said one San Jose resident.
But introspection is a big part of the day, too. People reconcile their misunderstandings with others and give back to the community.
“It’s a relgious duty, but at the same time some would say it’s a kind of a social duty,” said a member of the mosque, Idrees Munir.
Laila Khan, an extension student at UC Berkeley, added that it’s a time for deep reflection, an opportunity to take an “inventory of your life and your day-to-day activities, and your relationship with God.”
Hajj—the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that every Muslim is expected to complete once in her or his life during this time—is particularly remarkable, she said.
“It’s not just physical sacrifice. It’s to look inside yourself and see how you sacrifice in the name of God,” said, Laila’s mother, Amtul Khan, noting that people should examine their egos.
First published in Milpitas Patch.