It was a celebration of sacrifice in Gambrills Friday, as area Muslims gathered for the Eid Al-Adha holiday.
Hundreds came to the Makkah Learning Center for breakfast and prayers, and took time to reflect on the importance of selfless service.
"It's really something we should think about every day, but this day brings it to the forefront, and allows us to think about it a little more," said Aftab Ali, a Crofton resident who attends prayer regularly at Makkah.
Eid al-Adha is one of the most important holidays in the the Islamic faith. It recognizes the sacrifice of Abraham, who Muslims believe was asked by God to sacrifice his son. When Abraham showed that he was willing to carry out the sacrifice, God spared the son and rewarded Abraham with a second son.
Eid al-Adha is the second of the Eid holidays. Eid al-Fitr took place earlier in the year to celebrate the breaking of the Ramadan fast.
Mikeel Ahmed Smith, the Imam and religious leader at Makkah, told Friday's gathering that the most powerful sacrifices are those that come with little reward during a person's life.
"In this age of instant gratification, we are such that we wanted to see the results of sacrifice immediately," Smith said. "We must remind ourselves that those who sacrifice leave the world long before they get to see their efforts materialize."
Friday's gathering was also used as an opportunity to raise funds for expansion at Makkah and at facilities in Annapolis. The Islamic Society of Annapolis hopes to break ground on a new multipurpose room in Gambrills next year.
The Muslim Society of Anne Arundel County estimated there are at least 12,000 Muslims living in the county, but that the real total could be much higher. Roughly 200 Muslims come to the Makkah center each week for prayer.