Sacrifice & Hope on Eid al-Azha

Srinagar—Kashmir is celebrating Eidul Azha with great religious fervour and enthusiasm today to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S).

The day will dawn with special prayers in mosques and Eidgah’s, with biggest congregations expected at Srinagar’s sprawling Eidgah Grounds and at Hazratbal Shrine on the banks of Dal Lake.

As per the Islamic teachings, on this Eid, which is being celebrated on the 10th of the Islamic calendar’s last month, Zil-Hijjah, a spiritual Muslim offer a goat or sheep as a sacrificial animal while a calf will suffice for the vow of seven Muslims.

Allah ordered Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son Ismail. When the blindfolded father moved the blade on his son's throat to carry out the divine command, an animal from heaven replaced Ismail ( AS).

It is to celebrate the absolute submission of Prophet Ibrahim to Allah's command and the saving of Ismail's life that Muslims commemorate the day with symbolic sacrifices.

The Muslims, as per Islamic teachings, will start performing the act of sacrificing animals following the congregational Eid prayers.

Meanwhile, the markets in Kashmir especially the commercial Hub Lal Chowk and other adjacent areas in Srinagar witnessed a somber Eid eve hustle, partly because of the ongoing political uncertainty and recent spate of killings.

Pilgrims take part in Rami amid tight security

Two million Muslims pilgrims from around the world took part in the symbolic stoning of the devil in Saudi Arabia on Friday, with tight security measures in place two years after a deadly stampede.

The ritual at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina near Makkah marks the final major rite of the Haj.

The stampede in Mina in 2015 claimed the lives of 2,300 people ? the worst disaster in the history of Haj.

Saudi Arabia says it has deployed more than 100,000 security personnel to keep pilgrims safe this year.

The huge crowds took part in the stoning rite under strict surveillance, with police tape guiding the flow of pilgrims, cameras installed everywhere and helicopters hovering overhead.

Traditionally, seven pebbles are thrown at a post representing the devil, emulating the actions of Prophet Ibrahim.

Since 2004, it has been replaced by walls to accommodate the rising numbers of pilgrims.

By 8am, pilgrims were already reaching for their umbrellas as temperatures rose above 30 degrees Celsius. Security forces misted pilgrims with water as they made their way to the Jamarat Bridge under the hot sun.

The shadow of the 2015 stampede still looms large over the ritual.

Iran, which reported the largest number of victims in the disaster, did not send its pilgrims to Haj in 2016, as political tension between Tehran and Riyadh was on the rise, and authorities in the two countries failed to agree on logistics.

Iranian authorities say more than 86,000 Iranian pilgrims are taking part this year, each equipped with an identity bracelet connected to their smart phones in case of any accident.

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