Muslims celebrate at Chestnut Ridge mosque
December 20, 2007 - Muslims gathered yesterday to celebrate their prophets and remember their willingness to do God's will. Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to prove devotion to God, a story also studied by Christian and Jews, could put into perspective some considerably lesser trials of modern-day life, said Yurdaer Doganata, assistant to the imam at the Jerrahi Mosque.
The day held special meaning for Muslims worldwide, a celebration marking the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the hajj. About 2 million people participate each year in the pilgrimage, one of five pillars of the faith required to be undertaken by all who are able.
The pilgrimage is joined by fasting, charitable deeds, professions of faith and daily prayers. "Today is a day of celebration," Doganata told several dozen faithful. "What is being celebrated is the selfless act, trust in God's Mercy. and a perfect example of submission," Doganata said later. "When we compare, we may not be ready to sacrifice our comfort for others. A Muslim is not supposed to sleep when his neighbor is hungry."
As one service concluded, congregants embraced one another with welcoming hugs. They then gathered for fellowship in other rooms, where they shared coffee and bagels, and bits of small talk. "Obviously it's a day of blessing," said Mohammed Yusef, 26, of Chestnut Ridge. "It's also a chance to gather with all of your brothers and sisters, and be grateful to God." Shah Tajdar has regularly traveled from Darien, Conn., for services at the mosque off Chestnut Ridge Road. "This place is very special to us because of the people here," said Tajdar, who was worshipping with his sons. "We've gotten to know a lot of the people here. They're very hospitable to us, so on special occasions we come here." Yesterday's services gave Muslims a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of those completing their pilgrimage to Mecca, Doganata said, while also pledging their willingness to do God's will. "Muslims say to other people," Doganata said after the second of two services, "that their God and your God are the same God, and to only him do we worship. One God, one message to all." Reach James Walsh at 845-578-2445 or email@example.com.
Section: NEWS Edition: RK Page: 4A