Eid in Moscow:Europe's largest Muslim city

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Eid in Moscow:Europe's largest Muslim city

By: Imam Ghazali (from al-Arba`in fi Usul al-Din)

29 Shaban, 1436 : July 2014


More than 250,000 Muslims offered Eid-ul-Fitr prayer in open areas in Moscow this year.

Moscow, Russia – July 17, 2015 Surrounded by movable metal fences and police, they placed their prayer rugs and shreds of wallpaper on the cold asphalt along the tram tracks. Then they planted their feet and exhaled "God is great!" They bent, knelt, and prostrated in front of the golden-domed Sobornaya mosque. More than 60,000 Muslims gathered at the square and temporarily blocked streets around Moscow's main mosque, with an additional 180,000 gathering at five other mosques and three dozen temporary sites in Moscow and the greater Moscow region, to mark the end of this year's holy month of Ramadan, and offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayer police said. Islam is the second most widely followed religion in Russia and the capital city according some sources is home to roughly two million Muslims. The city is currently building a new mosque to hold up to 60,000 worshippers. Because of the lack of space in the city's current mosques - of which there are only four or five- Moscow officials allow Muslims to pray in the streets during important holy days, such as Eid al-Fitr.

After dawn prayers on the day of Eid al-Fitr, Muslims offer Eid prayers. After Eid prayers, Russian Muslims gather in their houses to taste traditional food and exchange gifts with relatives and spend three days celebrating Eid, enjoying gourmet foods and desserts.

The majority of Muslims in Russia adhere to the Sunni school of Islam. About 5% are Shia Muslims. In a few areas, notably Dagestan and Chechnya, there is a strong tradition of Sunni Sufism, which is practiced widely and is primarily represented by Naqshbandi and Shadhili schools, whose spiritual master Said Afandi al-Chirkawi receives hundreds of visitor daily. The Azeris have also historically and still currently been nominally followers of Shi'a Islam, are part of larger Islamic community, as their republic split off from the Soviet Union, significant number of Azeris immigrated to Russia in search of work.

Compiled and adapted from Al-Jazira, The Independent, UK and other News sites

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