Ilford Muslims celebrate Eid as largest pilgrimage in the world takes place

The largest pilgrimage in the world happened yesterday and an Ilford mosque is marking the occasion with special services this morning.

Hajj sees millions of pilgrims arrive in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is followed by Eid Al Adha, which means Feast of the Sacrifice.

As part of the annual pilgrimage people will circle the iconic Kaaba, meaning cube, structure seven times.

Special services were held this morning at the Ilford Islamic Centre, Albert Road

Ghazanfar Ali, chairman of the centre, said: “People come and pray and have a good feast and go to the park and buy gifts. There’s a community and family atmosphere.”

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Going on pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam considered obligatory, including praying five times a day, giving to the poor, fasting in Ramadan and a declaration of belief.

Abdullah Muhammed, Quran Study Group leader, said: “The pilgrimage is part of five days, but you have to be there today or it does not count.”

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It is believed the site the Kaaba is on was originally where angels built the first house of God before the arrival of Adam and Eve.

The building was then washed away during the floods during which Moses built an ark.

Mr Muhammed, who runs the group in Goodmayes, said: “The pilgrimage reminds people in this life that they are in this world for a short period of time and they arrive alone and leave alone, so they have to build a relationship with God.”


Muslims believe that Abraham and Ismael, who also feature in Judaism and Christianity, rebuilt the house of God.

Dr Mohammed Fahim, of South Woodford Mosque, Mulberry Way, South Woodford, said when they rebuilt it, they circled the structure seven times. This is why pilgrims walk around the Kaaba seven times. He added: “You go round it to emulate them and remember them and the great sacrifice offered by both of them.”

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