Muslims around the world celebrate first day of Eid al-Adha

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Muslim worshipers around the world are gathering at mosques for dawn prayers to mark the beginning of the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on Friday.

Eid al-Adha - the Feast of Sacrifice - marks the end of hajj, an annual pilgrimage undertaken by some 1.5 million Muslims this year in Saudi Arabia.

The holiday commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to obey God’s command to sacrifice his son Ismael.

Muslims believe that the very moment Ibrahim raised the knife, God told him to stop, that he had passed the test, and to replace Ismael with a sacrificial ram.

Muslims worldwide traditionally slaughter sheep or cattle in commemoration. The meat is distributed among the family and neighbors as well as the poor and needy.

But before the slaughter, men, women and children alike flock to mosques around the country to take part in the prayers.

Across the Muslim world, families were in a festive mood as they took to the markets and malls on Monday night, preparing to mark the occasion.

In Saudi Arabia, throngs of Muslim pilgrims converged Monday on Muzdalifah to prepare for Eid al-Adha feast after a day of prayer on Mount Arafat.

The faithful will spend the night in Muzdalifah to collect stones which they will use a symbolic ritual of stoning the devil in nearby Mina on Tuesday, the first day of the feast of sacrifice.

Earlier in the day men, women and children from across the Muslim world flooded the roads to Arafat chanting "Labaik Allahum Labaik" (I am responding to your call, God), as they observed the peak of the hajj.

A trip around the Muslim world

EGYPT: A man walks walks past sheep, ahead of Eid al-Adha, at a market in Cairo October 14, 2013. (Reuters)

(With AFP)

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