Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Kazakh Muslims Celebrated First Official Eid Holiday

Muslims in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan had an official holiday on Tuesday, January 10, to celebrate Eidul Adha for the first time.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev pledged last year to announce the first day of Eid an official holiday for the Kazakh Muslims. The parliament has recently endorsed a decision declaring the first day of Eidul Adha an official holiday.

The decision was welcome by Muslims in the former Soviet republic, who believes it was long overdue.Muslims make up 62% of Kazakhstan's 15 million population, Orthodox 35% and followers of other faiths the remaining percentage.

A Kazakh Muslim celebration of Eidul Adha is quite similar to that in other Muslim countries. Joyfully welcoming feast, they flock to mosques in the early morning to perform Eid prayers. There are some 1,500 mosques across the country. After the prayers, Muslims make their sacrifices, following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during Eidul Adha.

The ritual reminds Muslims of the great act of sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`il were willing to make for the sake of Allah.

During Eid, Kazakh Muslims also exchange visits and presents with both fellow Muslims and non-Muslims.
Islam has been gaining a foothold in the country since independence from the Communist Soviet Union on December 16, 1991.

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