Shia Muslims celebrate Eid Al Ghadir

Shia Muslims celebrate Eid Al Ghadir

Eid Al Ghadir is a festival observed by Shi‘a Muslims alone.  For them, it is an extremely important day.  It commemorates an event shortly before the death of the Prophet Mohammed, where Shi’a Muslims believe that he announced Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor.  In their eyes, this makes Ali the spiritual and temporal leader of Islam.

This year it starts in the evening of 19 August, but the main festival is the next day.  Shi’a Muslims mark this festival by fasting, doing Ghusl (ritual bath), reciting a special prayer called Du’a Nudba, wearing their best clothes, visiting relatives, and sharing food with believers.

The main belief behind this festival is one of the factors that divides Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, a divide that is said to be the largest and oldest in the history of Islam.  Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices – but they differ in some aspects of doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organisation.

The great majority – as many as 85-90% – of the world’s Muslims are Sunnis.  They regard themselves as the orthodox branch of Islam – their name is derived from the phrase Ahl al-Sunnah which means “People of the Tradition”.

Shi’a Muslims constitute about 10% of all Muslims.  There are relatively few Shi’a Muslims in the UK, although they are in the majority in some countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and possibly Yemen.

Mary Vickers moved to North East Lincolnshire in 2010, from the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, to become Urban and Industrial Chaplain NELincs. Made redundant in 2017, she's maintained many of her connections within the business, faith, and other local communities. She's also decided to stay here rather than return to either the south or her husband's native Yorkshire, so that she can continue to enjoy and help promote the positives of NELincs.

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