Muslims celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha at the Moscow Cathedral Mosque. © Vladimir Astapkovich / RIA Novosti
Around 140 thousand Muslims have gathered at mosques in Moscow to celebrate the Feast of Sacrifice, an Islamic holiday dedicated to the Prophet Ibrahim. The main celebrations took place at the newly-opened Moscow Cathedral Mosque, one of the biggest in Europe.
The celebration of Eid al-Adha – known as Kurban Bayram in Russia – began at 06:30 local time (03:30 GMT). The service at Moscow Cathedral Mosque was carried out by Russian Grand Mufti Rawil Gaynetdin who opened the mosque on Wednesday, along with President Vladimir Putin.
The Muslims took part in so-called ‘Salat’ ceremony, a prayer, which is obligatory for every Muslim.
© Vladimir Astapkovich / RIA Novosti
At least 140,000 worshipers have taken part in celebrations, with around 80,000 gathering at or near the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, police told Interfax.
© Mikhail Voskresenskiy / RIA Novosti
The Muslims are praying for peace in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other countries “where the blood is being shed,” said Gaynetdin.
“Our religion…calls for peace and respect for other peoples. We will never take such ideological directions, which make our youth ‘zombies’ so that they would take the route of those who will kill their brothers in faith and destroy cities and cultural heritage sites,” he added.
The celebrations also took place in two other mosques in Moscow – The Old Mosque and Memorial mosque.
There are roughly two million Muslims currently living in Moscow, according to Gaynetdin, however, only around 10 percent of them gathered in the capital’s mosques for prayers.
This year, Eid al-Adha falls on September 24. The celebrations usually begin with a prayer followed by a sermon. The celebrations mark the end of the hajj for Muslims making their pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Every Muslim is expected to undertake the trip at least once in their life. The hajj is a multi-day ceremony that finishes on the day of Eid al-Adha.
Animal sacrifice is a part of the Eid al-Adha celebrations. In recent years, the Moscow authorities banned the practice being carried out on the streets. Thirty-nine places have been designated for worshipers to undertake this ritual in the capital. The meat from the sacrificed animal should be divided into three parts. The first is retained for the family, the second is given to relatives, and the third is meant for the poor.