Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving And Eid-Ul-Adha

This years thanksgiving marks an interesting intersection of the Muslim holiday of Eid-Ul-Adha and Thanksgiving for Muslim Americans.

Eid-Ul-Adha is a celebration of the Day of Sacrifice. It marks the climax of the Haj pilgrimage. For over 2 million people who have made the journey to Makkah, this day is when you return from Mount Arafat and have spiritually cleaned yourself. A sense of renewal and re-birth for those fortunate 2 million.

For the rest of us, it is a celebration marked by the second Eid. Festivities, family gatherings are common along with visits to the Masjid (Mosque). Muslims around the world share and rejoice the Eid day along with their fellow 2 million Hajjis.

For Muslim Americans, this Thursday is Thanksgiving. In many ways Thanksgiving is bigger than any US holiday because it is unquely burried in traditions that are the fundamentals of being an American. It is a celebration of our unqiue heritage of immigrants that have built the world greatest country. A heritage that bonds us all together this one day irrespective of race color religion or credo.

What will be going through my mind as I plan to share a meal with family this weekend? First and foremost this will be a non-traditional thanksgiving. Instead of a meal at home, I will be at the Masjid celebrating Eid and giving thanks with family, friends and other members. There will be a celebration from all around.

I will be thinking about what this intersection of two holidays means to me? Such an event comes rarely in a lifetime and I want to make it special by listening to voices that speak about our journey in the past year and what is to come.

This year many events have occured. For many 2009 will be a year to forget due to the tough circumstances that our country has gone through. Many personal events have occured that made the year tough and challenging. My business has struggled as we cope the economic downturn. Family turmoil, health issues and sadly a couple of family and friends have passed away.

But then there have been many good things as well. My imediate family is doing well and everybody has so far gone through the year without too big of any events. We enjoyed a good summer vacation and my parents got to go to Kerbala and Najaf along with my brother and his wife. My two children are doing well. Jamila got her Misaaq done and now she is a young lady peering into her future; marveling at the numerous possibilities. Its so awesome to view life through my kids as they wonder about their futures. It reminds me of my childhood days as I was curious about what I will be doing. Its also fun to collaborate with them and provide options and possibilities from my viewpoint and see how they digest those suggestions.

So to all my friends, colleagues and fellow brothers and sisters in the USA, i bid you a great Thanksgiving Holiday and a very auspicious Eid Mubarak! With many challenges and tribulations of this year, I offer a simple thought of thank you for being able to write this column today and being able to say thanks for one more time for one more great holiday. It is a privilege indeed.