Eid comes but a few times a year

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The Muslim Student’s Association decided that it was better late than never to celebrate Eid al-Adha or Al-Hijra, so weeks after both the festival of sacrifice and the Islamic New Year, general merriment was had in the auspices of Low Memorial Library.

Below the colossal classical pillars and Greco-Roman statues, a completely different tradition commemorated two of their most sacred holidays. But the MSA Eid Formal Dinner was not simply a display of cultural remnants–two traditional prayers, Isha and Duaa, bookended a program full of stand-up routines, oud performances and a movie short.

MSA President Adil Ahmed opened the event describing his purposes in holding this somewhat belated event using this same language of old and new in the types of formal dress that appeared in crowd–including tuxedos, jeans, and traditional Arab and Turkish garb–to old and new members who worked to put the event together.  Next, a Quran recitation and translation by CC Junior Faisal Khan and a theological speech by Haroon Moghul, a MEALAC Ph.D candidate explained the meaning of Ibrahim’s sacrifice of Ismail, comparing it with the Prophet’s journey from Mecca to Medina. 

twoFollowing dinner, which consisted of fantastic Pakistani and Turkish food, the performance section of the program began.  First was a video by MSA students in a setting that looked suspiciously like Carman training Rocky-style, complete with Eye of the Tiger.  Afterwards, oud virtuoso Zafer Tawil serenaded the crowd with classical Arab music with an instrument that resembled a 12 string fretless Portuguese guitar, followed by an awkwardly hilarious stand up routine with “Allah Made Me Funny” performer Azhar Usman, who complained about “performing in a planetarium” and that his religion did not market their religion well enough.  “Eid sucks, it’s die spelled backwards.”  Unlike Christmas and Halloween, which involve giving free stuff to kids, “In Islam, you starve for a month!” 

Before the crowd of almost two hundred filed out, Chaplain of Muslim Life Imam Sayeed said that in the 37 years he has been at Columbia, “This was the first night that was really funny”.  Adil Ahmed, who stood anxiously on the stage after the show, said that it exceeded his expectations in every way.


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  1. Anonymous  

    Completely different tradition? Laffo. If Muhammad hadn't read both the Greeks and the Bible in translation, Islam would have been impossible.

  2. seriously  

    i bought the Eid stamps in the post office in my hometown of Katy, TX and the clerk asked me if I knew that I was supporting people that wanted to kill me and that Eid is "die" backwards. i have never been more ashamed to be a Texan. i told him I knew that Eid is die backwards, that dog is god backwards, and that I wanted a book of stamps.

    true story

  3. Anonymous  

    For the non-Arabic speakers, eid is the general term for "feast" or "festival." So for example, a general birthday is "eid melaad" (feast of birth, indefinite). "Eid al-melaad" is "The birthday" (definite), which is the term for Christmas.

  4. hmmm  

    what pakistani food?

  5. 1231232  

    The title of this article is irrelevant to the subject and verges on being inappropriate.

  6. Also,  

    the translation of classic Greek literature into Arabic happened after Muhammad's life.

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