Muslims celebrate Eid ul Adha also known as Kurban Bairam

The festival of Eid ul Adha is being celebrated by Muslims on Sunday, including around 25 MLN in Russia. The holy day comes after the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are supposed to undertake at least once in their lives.

This is one of the most important days of the Islamic year.

Thousands of Muslims flocked to mosques around Moscow to pray for peace.

Peace, charity and help to the poor – these are the ideals of the Eid ul Adha holiday or the Sacrifice Feast.

Muslims honour prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son to God. 

But God stopped the prophet's hand and sent a lamb to be sacrificed instead.

“Allah bans the spilling of blood and the sacrifice of human life. The Eid ul Adha holiday calls for peace, kindness and mercy. We should all be good to each other and help those in need of support,” Ravil Gainutdin, Head of Russia's Council of Muftis pointed out.

The leader of Russian Muslims led the prayer for peace in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia.

He urged Muslims to unite with Christians in solving the economic and social problems of the country.

Eid ul Adha is one of the holiest periods of the Islamic calendar. Russian Muslims gathered at a mosque to wish each other peace and happiness, but this year – some of them say – the holiday has been overshadowed by events elsewhere.

Iftihor Amerbek Zoda, a Muslim believer, stressed “it's been a bad year because of the war in Afghanistan and Lebanon. Muslims have not been able to live in peace. And the execution of Saddam Hussein will lead to the worst, we are not happy about it.” 

“I want to congratulate all our brothers and sisters on this great holiday. I want to live peacefully but I'm not happy with what the U.S. president is doing. I hope next year will bring us peace and freedom,” Serozhiddin Davlaterov, another Muslim believer added.

The head of Russian Muslims expressed fears the situation in Iraq will deteriorate with the execution of the former Iraqi president. 

“It's a tragedy for the Islamic world. Russian Muslims strongly denounce the execution of Saddam Hussein. We understand the court was unfair as it was dependent on the United States and its allies. The Muslim world does not recognise its verdict. We think the execution will not bring peace to Iraq,” Mr Gainutdin believes.

Another important ritual after the morning prayer is the sacrifice of domestic animals, usually sheep.

The meat is distributed among the sanctifier's family, friends and the poor and hungry.

And then it's time to spend the rest of the day with your loved ones, exchanging presents and wishes that next year will bring happiness.