SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Local Muslims will celebrate Eid-ul-Adha this Thursday at Rowland Park, starting with 7:30 a.m. prayers, according to the organization.

The holiday commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael (peace be upon them) at God’s command, and God’s mercy in sparing Ishmael.

The festival coincides with the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca which memorializes the event.

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Muslims with means are required to sacrifice an animal on the occasion.

Only goats, lambs, cattle and camels can be sacrificed. Up to seven persons can sacrifice a camel, or cattle. Only one person can sacrifice a goat or a lamb.

The sacrifice takes place in slaughter houses.

One third of the meat is distributed among the poor, another third to relatives and friends, and the last third is for the family of the person sacrificing.

The Qur’an says that it is not the meat or the blood of the animal that reaches God, it is the piety of the person who makes the sacrifice that reaches God.

The festivities follow the completion of religious rites with early prayers at 7:30 a.m. and then at 9:30 a.m.

In the event of rain, the parayers will be held at the mosque on Route 1 in Monmouth Junction.

To make the Eid experience enjoyable for the children, this year the Islamic Society of Central Jersey will host food stalls, and vendors selling fun items after morning prayers at Rowland Park.

The most enjoyable part of the Eid for the adults and children is visiting and hosting family and friends, and entertaining lavishly with special food prepared for the occasion.

Although children enjoy the festivities, the underlying theme of Eid-ul-Adha is sacrifice.

Muslims worldwide commemorate the occasion by donating money to charity (Zakat) and fasting (optional) for the nine days leading up to the day of sacrifice (Eid).

 Children perform community service after school, helping and visiting the needy within the community, and volunteering at hospitals and senior centers.