October 14, 2011

Mosque invites public

"Lower Makefield: Mosque invites public to discussion of Islamic holy days"
By Joan Hellyer, Bucks County Courier Times, October 14, 2011
Members of the Zubaida Foundation are inviting people of all backgrounds to their mosque in Lower Makefield on Sunday afternoon to examine and discuss what is common between religious faiths, an organizer said.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the same roots in Abraham, said Brother Mohammed Husain, a foundation member and organizer of the free event, which includes a discussion and lunch.

The ties to Abraham will serve as a focal point, he said.

“If you want people to understand each other, you have to explore what is common between them,” Husain said. “We have to sit down at the same table to get to know each other and then maybe some of the stereotypes will go away. We will be in a little better condition and maybe we will be able to trust each other.”

To help visitors better understand their faith, mosque speakers will discuss the Hajj, a Pilgrimage in Islam, and Eid Al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice that marks the end of the pilgrimage.

Hajj, the religious high point for a Muslim, means “to set out for a place,” according to Islamicity.com. Millions of Muslims make the pilgrimage each year to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to praise and pray to Allah (God) as the Prophet Muhammad did during his last visit to the city.

Muslims who are “physically and financially able” are required to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj is one of the five “pillars” of Islam.
The pillars, which also include faith or belief in Allah (God), establishment of the five daily prayers, concern for and almsgiving to the needy and self-purification through fasting during Ramadan, are meant to help Muslims form the foundation of their faith.

The next Hajj will be in early November. It is based each year on the lunar calendar.
Eid al Adha, at the end of Hajj, is called the Festival of Sacrifice and serves as a commemoration of Abraham’s trials.

As part of the holiday, Muslims slaughter a sheep, camel or goat. Most of the meat is given away to friends and the poor to symbolize a Muslim’s willingness to give up things of benefit in order to follow Allah, religion experts said.

One-fifth of the world’s population practices the Islamic faith, according to religion experts.

The Lower Makefield mosque, which has been housed off Big Oak Road since 2006, has between 100 and 120 members, Husain said.

Mosque members are looking forward to discussing their faith with those of different backgrounds Sunday, the organizer said.

“This is an opportunity to get to know who we are and what we believe in,” Husain said.