University News

Hajj Dinner Celebrates Faith and Culture

By: by sophomore Marissa Pappas | Published: September 14, 2017 | Categories: All News, Engineering, Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Hajj dinner guests

On September 5, the Western New England University Office for Spiritual Life celebrated the annual Hajj dinner in Rivers Memorial Hall, commemorating the end of the Muslim holiday the Hajj, or pilgrimage. The annual event was organized by Nasser Al Aumari, president of the Islamic Student Association, along with Mohammad Salem and Afshi Rehman.

Hajj, the fifth pillar of the Islamic faith, is the sacred pilgrimage Muslims are expected to take at least once in their lifetime, to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Samra Ayaz, a freshman international student from Pakistan, explained that Hajj is meant to unite the people of their faith regardless of class or race. “Everyone gathers on the same day, wears similar clothing, prays, and makes the sacrifice.” Zubia Abbasi, a senior from Massachusetts, explained that “Tradition calls for an animal to be sacrificed just like what Ibrahim did for God on the mountain. The meat is divided and sent to the poor or to your distant relatives.”

Guest speaker Dr. M. Saleem Bajwa, Founding member of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts, shared with the group the importance of Hajj in a detailed presentation prior to the guests being invited to eat traditional Middle Eastern cuisine prepared for the event.