With the help of Campus Ministry, Muslim students helped celebrated Eid Ul-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, at Quinnipiac on Saturday. The worldwide religious event commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s service to Allah, while marking the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage taken by Muslims to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 50 people filled the Mancheski seminar room to take part in the festivities. The evening started with a reading from the Quran, followed by a presentation explaining the significance of the holiday.
The three-day celebration is held on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. Allah ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son, Ismail. Right when he was about to do so, Allah provided him with a goat to sacrifice instead.
In honor of Ibrahim’s obedience, Muslims offer the meat of sheep, goats, and camels to Allah, before distributing it to the needy. It is also tradition to go to the mosque for prayer, share a meal with family and friends, and exchange gifts.
Under the supervision of the new QU Muslim chaplain, Shamshad Sheikh, some Muslim students are working to establish a Muslim Students Association at Quinnipiac.
“There was so much energy and I told them they should take the leadership role and teach other students the message that comes from our religion,” Sheikh said.
“You’d be surprised at how many Muslim students there are, but they’re actually too shy to come out and say that they are Muslim,” sophomore Syed Hassan Haider said.
Since its establishment, the organization already has several undergraduate members and more than 20 graduate students attending its meetings.
“I’m Muslim and I was getting emails about this event, so I was thinking maybe it would remind me of my country,” senior Jemal Durdygulyyeva, an international student from Turkmenistan, said.
Even non-Muslim students came out in support of this event, including sophomore Taylor Lombardi.
“I’m not Muslim but I’m always happy to learn new things, I’m excited for the whole experience,” Lombardi said.
The room filled with guests of all ages, many of which were dressed in traditional Islamic attire. For both men and women, this includes a headdress and halwar kameez, which is a long tunic with matching pants. Women decorated their hands with henna.
A feast of traditional Islamic dishes, including kabobs, naan, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves capped the evening.
“We eat ‘halal’ only, it’s the way the animal is slaughtered, it’s very religious food here,” Sheikh said.
Kristin Helms, a student assistant for the Office of Multicultural and Global Education, said she realized how much diversity there is on campus once she started working in the office.
“I don’t think a lot of students see that because they are graduate students,” Helms said. “Starting MSA is going to help because they can have events to help teach about their religion and culture.”
According to graduate student Abdalelah Machalzer, the portrayal of Muslims in the media is completely different from reality. With the help of MSA, he hopes to eliminate the stigmas held against his culture.
As the event ended, Haider stood in the back of the room, proudly observing the result of his organization’s efforts.
“Hopefully in the future we’re known in the greater New Haven area, and can have the outside Muslim community come to our events,” Haider said. “But for now we’re trying to let students and faculty members know that we’re here.”
Correction: This story originally said the event was hosted by the Muslim Students Association and that this organization was established in October. In fact, Quinnipiac is still in the reviewing process to recognize the Muslim Students Association. Campus Ministry, along with several Muslim students, hosted this event.