The Muslim Student Association held its annual celebration for Eid al-Adha on Wednesday, Sept. 21, continuing its over 10-year-long tradition of hosting the event since the club’s inception at Baruch. Co-sponsored by the Muslim Business Association, Women in Islam and a multitude of other organizations around campus, the event gathered Muslim and non-Muslim students alike for food and festivities.
Eid al-Adha, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, is the second of two major holidays in Islam tradition. Honoring the willingness of the prophet Abraham to submit to the word of God and sacrifice his only son, it is considered the holier of the two Muslim holidays. Muslims typically sacrifice animals during the Eid al-Adha celebration to symbolize Abraham’s submission to God. Throughout Eid al-Adha, this meat is distributed and consumed, with one-third going to the celebrants who sacrificed the animal, one-third going to relatives and friends and one-third being delivered to the poor and needy.
The celebration opened with a short speech by MSA president Mohammed Amla, who outlined the activities of the night and thanked the event’s co-sponsors. Scarves were then provided for female guests who were not wearing a hijab or other type of veil, to cover their hair if they wished. After praying, the large group of students in attendance sat to listen to the two guest speakers for the event.
First, Imam Ahmed Elsamanoudy spoke at length about Eid al-Adha and Islam, quoting passages of the Quran as he shared his observations and studies. Elsamanoudy is known for delivering speeches at the Al-Ansar Center in Brooklyn and for his studies under prominent Islamic scholar Imam Mohammed Elshinaw. He has also taken classes at Queens College. Elsamanoudy was chosen as a speaker in part because he could “relate to the students [at the event] and our lives today,” explained Amla over email.
Dr. Raymond Brock Murray was the second speaker. Murray used personal stories to connect with the event’s attendees, taking from his background in both philosophy and psychology to relate to the students. After the speech, both Murray and Elsamanoudy were available to take questions.
Amla, a finance major, stressed how events like the Eid al-Adha celebration open pathways to mutual understanding between Muslims and those who do not practice Islam.
“I feel that it is not only important but critical for Islam focused events to be hosted at Baruch, as Baruch is CUNY’s most diverse college and nowadays, our religion is getting a twisted perspective in people’s minds after hearing input from those who don’t even follow our religion,” said Amla. “Islam focused events are here to spread the true ideology of our religion to those who know it, don’t know it and to those who question it. We want to benefit everyone who comes through learned speakers and knowledge teachers to help guide us in our thoughts and questions.”
Celebrating Eid al-Adha as a Baruch community also has the added benefit of letting students support one another as they try to balance their school commitments and their faith. Maham Hamdani, an economics major and a member of MSA, explains how fostering a Muslim community in Baruch is important, saying, “I feel like it’s kind of hard for some kids to keep their religion and to go school at the same [time] … If [students] want knowledge about their religion they know [through events like the Eid al-Adha celebration] that there is a place to come to in school.”
Amla expressed similar sentiments, explaining, “These events also allow for a community to form within Baruch of our fellow Muslim students, so they can celebrate and be proud of their religion and the culture that comes with it.”
This vision of Amla’s became a reality during the event as students grouped up at tables to eat food provided by MSA and discuss the speakers. Talking and laughing, these students were able to bond as one community and unite for a shared celebration.