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India celebrates Eid

Thousands of Muslims today celebrated Eid-ul-Zuha or the festival of sacrifice all over India with much fervor and celebrations with special prayers. Eid-ul-Zuha is also known as Eid-e-Qurban or Bakr-Eid because of the spirit of sacrifice it entails. In pics

delhi Updated: Nov 07, 2011 15:16 IST

Thousands of Muslims celebrated Eid-ul-Zuha or the festival of sacrifice all over India with much fervor and celebrations and offered special prayers.

In New Delhi, the faithful thronged the 17th century Jama Masjid and other mosques in the capital. Chants of "Allah ho Akbar" resonated in the narrow lanes of Delhi's old quarters from the loudspeakers of the Jama Masjid, one of the main centres for Eid festivities.

"The Jama Masjid was packed, thousands today morning attended the namaz at 8.30am. The namaz is usually conducted after one hour 15 minutes of sun rise," Syed Ahmad Bhukari, Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid.

Several other mosques like Fatepuri Masjid and Idgah Masjid in the national capital were also crowded as people offered prayers.

Eid-ul-Zuha is also known as Eid-e-Qurban or Bakr-Eid because of the spirit of sacrifice it entails. On this day, Muslims offer goats and sheep as sacrifice.

"The festival underlines the truth that sacrifice brings man and god close to each other. It is not about the sacrifice of goat or sheep, but a reminder of one's submission to god and the feeling of sacrifice and obedience attached to it," Mukarram Ahmed, a resident of Jamia Nagar in south Delhi said.

People hugged friends and relatives while exchanging greetings after the morning prayer. After prayers, the devotees sacrificed goats and other animals and shared the meat with their relatives, friends and the poor.

"In today's (Monday) sermon, the Imam gave an explanation for the celebration of Bakr-Eid. The celebration is to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to god. Meanwhile Allah intervened to replace Ismail with a sheep," said 12-year-old Shaukat Ali, a resident of old Delhi.

The livestock markets in Delhi sold some of the popular breeds of goats like Mewati, Barbari, Desi and Totapuri which arrived from neighbouring sates like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and were mostly priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000.

In Lucknow the festival was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety amidst heavy security arrangements.

Muslims thronged mosques and prayer grounds to offer prayers. At some places, the crowds spilled on to roads near mosques.

The biggest congregation was held at the Aishbagh Eidgah and the Aasifi Masjid - both in the old Lucknow city.

After the prayers, devotees embraced each other and sacrificed animals, particularly goats, and later distributed their meat among family members and the poor.

In Kerala, Muslims celebrated Eid by offerring prayers at mosques and specially-built prayer centres across the state.

Devout Muslims, dressed in their best, started arriving at prayer venues since early morning. At most places, there were special sections for women.

The biggest prayer gatherings were seen in Muslim-dominated Malappuram district, besides districts like Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

However, in Kannur, rains played spoil sport forcing prayers to be held indoors.

Superstar Mammootty, a devout Muslim, took a day off from films and was at his home in Kochi.

"I am all alone, my wife and children are in Chennai. This is one of the rare days I take a break from my profession. Today evening, I am leaving for Hyderabad to resume the shoot for my film The King and the Commissioner," said Mammootty.

In Andhra Pradesh, attired in their best Muslims offered prayers at mosques, Eidgahs and open grounds before the slaughter of 'halal' animals, symbolising the spirit of sacrifice, on the occasion.

Imams, or priests, recalled the great sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim and exhorted Muslims to follow his teachings and the Quran for success both in this world and the hereafter.

After the prayers, Muslims sacrificed goats and other 'halal' animals commemorating Prophet Ibrahim's great act of faith many centuries ago.

However, Eid festivities were marred in Kashmir Valley as clashes broke out between protesting youths and police soon after the congregational prayers concluded in Anantnag and Sopore towns, police said.

Clashes broke out in Anantnag, 50 km from Srinagar, when police tried to prevent a large group of teenage boys from taking out a protest rally after the congregational prayers, they said.

The agitators threw stones at police, who retaliated with tear smoke cannisters. Several people, including two policemen, were injured in the clash.

In Sopore also, people took out a protest march soon after coming out of the Eidgah, police said. When police attempted to intercept the rallyists, they started pelting stones at them. Police fired several tear smoke cannisters there to disperse the crowd.