By Evren Baba
Have you ever experienced an Eid away from your family in a foreign country? I don’t know about you. But, I did. Yes, maybe I am not a non-Muslim student. Nevertheless, there are some differences between Turkey and here in Malaysia on celebrating the Eid.
It has just been two weeks after arriving here. I saw a lot of different things. So, I already stopped comparing between here and Turkey. But then, this is Eid, you know. There are about 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe, making up over 23% of the world’s population, where Muslims live in countless number of countries, with different backgrounds and traditions. That means, yes, on the basis of Eid-ul-Adha, it is the same. However, how is the rest of it? Let me tell you this, from the eyes of a Turkish exchange student at IIUM.
I am going to mention everything that I saw and observed.
Hey, there is no need for rush, right? Let’s go step by step, and of course, beginning of everything is the Eid prayer. First of all, let’s talk about the atmosphere that I felt. An alarm was ringing. Because I did not sleep early the previous night I was a little bit sleepy. I stepped out of my bed and tried to reach to the toilet. Make a guess! What did I see when I opened the door?
So many students were running around the corridor from somewhere to somewhere. Most of them, of course, were going to the toilet or coming back to the room. Some of them were taking showers, brushing teeth, getting shaved, performing ablution… I mean, they were really excited like children because this was the morning of an Eid.
The first week of school at the campus, I only saw a bunch of students around the mahallah in the morning who were trying to catch their classes with actually not a real intention. Just because that they had to. Certainly, if I were in my home, probably there would be just me and my father in the house who were trying to rush to the mosque on time.
But that morning, it was so obvious that dozens of students were running around because they really intent to fulfil the Eid, praying together with their friends, their loved ones here, at IIUM. Staying away from my family for the first time, I did not help to feel like Eid was coming.
But after that scene, I understood one hundred percent that this was a morning of an Eid. Furthermore, seeing everyone rushing in the campus to get to the mosque on time. If still, there are some outsiders who don’t know, that actually at the centre of IIUM, Gombak campus, is the Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Mosque.
From each corner of the campus students were going out from their mahallah and coming to the mosque. All students were gathering together in a main point which is the mosque. But there was a difference between here and other mosques. In this place, there were thousands of people and they were not just one colour, nationality, culture or background.
They were from different countries, cultures and backgrounds and they were together for only one purpose. I would love to see everyone in that great atmosphere. There were voices coming out from mosque and students. It was a completely proof of unity and brotherhood.
After praying, the scene inside the mosque was just amazing. Everyone was hugging friends, loved ones, even with people that they do not know, but as believers of the same religion, Islam. That was the moment that I really understood that I was really in a great university full of great people from around the globe.
I believe if we can get a chance to build a brotherhood like this all around the world with all of the people, then we can have peace and make an end to stories like “Poor children of Syria or Iraq or Sudan, Venezuela, Mongolia, Somalia, Chile etc…” Without questioning which nationality, religion, race that they belong to we should hug everyone and show the reality of being Muslims and followers of Allah.
In my country, breakfast at the Eid morning has a special importance. Men in the house, get up early and go to the mosque and after the prayer they come back home. At that time, all the women at home get up early to prepare one the best and a variety of breakfast menu you can ever think. By the way, Turkish families at the Eid come together with all other relatives.
After the Eid pray here, most of the students, as I could see, gathered together again with their friends from their classes or countries. They had breakfast together with their traditional foods. This was another happy moment for me because our former Turkish students here organised a breakfast for us, too. It was like being with relatives.
Let’s continue with sacrifices. After breakfast, everyone started to come to the side where sacrifices were kept. There were a lot of cows waiting for the sacrificing process. Every cow had a sign to show the country that donated and donated by who. So, students of that country come together as one again for only one purpose: to gain Allah’s consent and make this day as a really Eid-ul-Adha. Because, it really did for me.
I did not join the slaughtering process. But, seeing those youngsters again as focused on one point, it was priceless. They were not fighting or arguing with each other. On the contrary, they were working together perfectly. Countless of male students were slaughtering their sacrifices and moving to another country’s sacrifice to help another student like a brother. It was so obvious, they just wanted no one to get hurt and to get this process done nicely.
On the other hand, there were some scenes that I could not approve. As we all know, this Eid and sacrifices, is intended for only one purpose, that is getting Allah’s respect and consent. Unfortunately, I saw some events happening in front of my eyes that were not right.
The sacrificing process is not a TV show or something that we should show how strong we are, right? I saw a lot of people who tried taking pictures or videos about the cows that were difficult to “conquer” and here you saw the guys who were trying to turn the slaughtering process into a show. Mostly everything had been done nicely, but there were some unfortunate incidents too.
Everywhere around the campus, you could get across countless groups of student splitting big part of sacrifices with knives on their hands while sitting on the ground or cooking, making barbecue, etc. And of course, that smell in the air was amazingly perfect. I was also in a group with a bunch of Turkish students. We did the same thing too. It was lovely being together. It made me happy to embrace the university and the environment better.
If I was in Istanbul, I would be passing through the same stages on the first day of Eid-ul-Adha. And I knew what to expect.
Being here, I was thinking at first that I won’t feel that Eid was arriving. But right now, I felt better, thanks to the experience of an Eid here, and not at home. In this Eid, I totally understood what is the real meaning of being brothers of same ummah and what we can achieve if we really decided to make something realised.
All we need is believing and understanding in each other. We did it on the first day of Eid-ul-Adha here in this university campus as members of young Muslim society from around the globe. So, why can’t we achieve that in the future for more important issues? ***
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