STA, 31 July 2020 - The Islamic community in Slovenia will celebrate this year's Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday, somewhat differently due to the restrictive anti-epidemic measures, as believers are coming to the new Muslim Cultural Centre in Ljubljana on Friday in groups of 50 in four separate ceremonies.
Also called Eid Qurban or Bakra-Eid, the Feast of the Sacrifice is considered the holier of the two major Muslim holidays, honouring the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God's command.
It is also connected with the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called Hajj, but this year Slovenian Muslims have not travelled to the holiest city in Islam due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Islamic community in Slovenia said on the occasion that Eid al-Adha is the time when people think about their families, relatives and friends and about how they feel.
"Hajj is a symbol of unity and deep belief, but also of diversity among people. It teaches them that everything is passable on Earth and that ethical and moral values are key for harmonious mutual relations," it added.
The community has recommended Slovenian Muslims focus on their families in the four days of celebration of Eid al-Adha, and advised against mass gatherings so that the unnecessary spread of the novel coronavirus is prevented.
"In their prayers, they should remember those who have found themselves in a difficult situation due to the epidemic. They should also think about healthcare workers, who are the most exposed to the virus and make the most sacrifices."
The first ever Eid al-Adha ceremony in the Ljubljana mosque was addressed by Mufti Nedžad Grabus, who pointed to the values of human life and equality, but could not avoid talking about the conditions dictated by the pandemic.
"The circumstances we live in demand full responsibility from all of us," said Grabus.
Nevzet Porić, the secretary general of the Islamic community in Slovenia, told the STA that, due to the restrictions, the ceremony had been attended by some 200 people, considerably less than in past years (up to 4,000).
"It's Eid al-Adha, but the feeling is strange, because you cannot shake hands with your friends and embrace them," he added, while calling on the community to be responsible as a few of its members already had died of Covid-19.
Grabus added that this year's prayers were also focused on "god easing the situation related to the contagious disease, which the entire world is fighting with, to protect the community from illness, worries and temptation."