Eid Al-Fitr: A Celebration At The End Of Ramadan

One of the most joyous days in the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr, also known as Eid ul-Fitr or Eid, is a celebration that marks the end of Ramadan (a holy month of fasting observed by Muslims). It is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Traditionally, the observance begins with the sighting of the new moon. While many will wait to see the moon or an announcement from Mecca, others will based on astronomical calculations and their own sighting of the new moon.

According to a hadith attributed to Anas ibn Malik, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, the two festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha were instituted by the Prophet after his journey from Mecca to Medinah.


When the Prophet (SAW) arrived in Medinah, he found people celebrated two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities to which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. At this, the Prophet (SAW) remarked that the Almighty has fixed two days [of festivity] instead of these for you which are better than these: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

The first Eid al-Fitr was celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions after the victory of the battle of Jang-e-Badar.

To mark the beginning of Eid and in accordance with the Sunnah, or practices of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), many Muslims wake up early in the morning and pray Salat ul-Fajr, or the pre-dawn prayer. After brushing their teeth, taking a bath and wearing perfume, they have breakfast before heading off to perform special congregational prayers known as Salaat al-Eid. Many Muslims recite the takbir, a declaration of faith, on the way to the prayer ground and give special charitable contributions known as Zakat al-Fitr.


Eid al-Fitr is a day of great merriment and thanksgiving. Muslims celebrate by gathering with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, giving each other gifts and putting up lights and other decorations in their homes. A common greeting during this holiday is Eid Mubarak, which means, “Have a blessed Eid!”

 
Eid-ul-Adha ('festival of Sacrifice')

Eid-ul-Adha ('festival of Sacrifice'), also known as the Greater Eid, is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar. The festival remembers the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.


The story of Ibrahim's sacrifice;

Eid-ul-Adha celebrates the occasion when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Note: This story is also found in the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament (Genesis 22). Here God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, his son with Sarah. Isma’il was his son with Hagar.

Celebrations

Eid ul Adha is a public holiday in Muslim countries;

Today Muslims all over the world who can afford it , sacrifice a sheep (sometimes a goat) as a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to Allah. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse.

They share out the meat among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share. Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received.

It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents. At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.

 
Hajj

The Hajj is pilgrimage to Makkah.

It is the Fifth Pillar of Islam and therefore a very important part of the Islamic faith.

All physically fit Muslims who can afford it should make the visit to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lives.

Every year around 2 million Muslims from all over the world converge on Makkah.

They stand before the Kaaba, a shrine built by Ibrahim praising Allah together.

The Hajjis or pilgrims wear simple white clothes called Ihram which promote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah.

During the Hajj the Pilgrims perform acts of worship and they renew their faith and sense of purpose in the world.