Praying on the Football Field: Sacrifice feast prayer is unlike any other year

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Start with 1500 people at eight o’clock in the morning on a football field. The Feast of Sacrifice starts this year differently than usual due to the corona crisis. The main field of football club BVV in Den Bosch was temporarily used as a prayer room on Friday morning.

For many Muslims, the Festival of Sacrifice does not start this year in the mosque, but in a public space. This also applies on Friday morning in various places in Brabant, such as Roosendaal, Tilburg and Den Bosch. Everyone had to bring their own prayer rug and keep their distance. It was also recommended to wear mouth masks. “Together we ensure that everyone can pray the Eid prayer as safely as possible,” was the message. Both men and women were welcome on the BVV grounds, but the women followed the prayer from a distance, invisible behind large green screens in the corner of the field. They were not allowed to be portrayed.

The Feast of Sacrifice is celebrated in memory of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). The prophet was willing to sacrifice his son for Allah. Just before the blindfolded prophet could make this sacrifice, Allah replaced his son with a ram. The animal was then slaughtered instead of the boy. In honor of this act of devotion, Muslims sacrifice an animal every year during the Feast of Sacrifice.

Board member Achmed Erassan of the Arrahma mosque in Den Bosch beams with pride. He is overjoyed that the mosques Arrahma and Attakwa have joined forces to hold this massive prayer together. “This is really very special. This is never done this way. I am also very happy that it can continue this way. The Festival of Sacrifice is one of the two holidays within Islam.”

The beginning of the Feast of Sacrifice went differently than usual:

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