Muslims Festivals

Eid ul-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fitr means “to break fast”; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal.

Eid ul-Fitr lasts for three days of celebration and is sometimes also known as the “Smaller Eid” as compared to the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called the “Greater Eid”.

Muslims are commanded by the Quran to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.

The Takbir and other Rituals

The Takbir is recited after having confirmation that the moon of Shawwal is sighted on the eve of the last day of Ramadan. It continues until the start of the Eid prayer. Before the Eid prayer begins, every Muslim who is able must pay Zakat al-fitr, an alms for the month of Ramadan. This equates to about 2 kilograms of a basic foodstuff or its cash equivalent, and is typically collected at the mosque. This is distributed to needy local Muslims prior to the start of the Eid prayer. It can be given at any time during the month of Ramadan and is often given early, so the recipient can use it for Eid purchases. This is distinct from Zakat based on wealth, which must be paid to a worthy charity.

End of Ramadhan – vary in different countries – depending on the reliable sighting of the crescent moon. Festival begins with the first sighting of the new moon and lasts for 3 days although the main festivities occur on the first day. Eid is a joyous celebration with important religious significance Happiness is observed as attaining spiritual uplift and enhanced piety after a month of fasting.

The believers celebrate at Eid because Allah has helped them to complete the month of fasting. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory and peace, of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking God for the help and strength that they believe He gave them throughout the previous month to help them practice self-control and to renew their commitment.

Eid al-Adha popularly known as Baqri-Id “Festival of Sacrifice” or “Greater Eid” is a Muslim Holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God. It is the sacrifice made by the pilgrims and performed as part of the ceremonies of the great pilgrimage. While the pilgrims are making their sacrifices at Mina, the ceremony is observed simultaneously by Muslims everywhere.

Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran.Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon .

Eid al-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.

History

Four thousand years ago, the valley of Mecca was a dry and uninhabited place. According to Islamic history, the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was instructed to bring his wife Hajar (Hajira) and their child Ismael to Arabia from Palestine by God’s command, as his childless first wife Sarah had become jealous that Hajar bore a child and she had not.

As Ibrahim made ready to return to Palestine, his wife Hajar asked him: “Who ordered you to leave us here”? When Ibrahim replied: “God”, Hajar said: “then God will not forget us; you can go”. Although Ibrahim had left a large quantity of food and water with Hajar and Ismael, the supplies quickly ran out and within a few days the two were suffering from hunger and dehydration.

According to the story, a desperate Hajar ran up and down two hills called Safa and Marwa seven times, trying to see if she could spot any help in the distance. Finally she collapsed beside her baby Ismael and prayed to God for deliverance. Ismael struck his foot on the ground, and this caused a spring of water to gush forth from the earth. With this secure water supply, they were not only able to provide for their own needs, but were also able to trade water with passing nomads for food and supplies.

When the Prophet Ibrahim returned from Palestine to check on his family, he was amazed to see them running a profitable well.

The Prophet Ibrahim was told by God to build a shrine dedicated to him adjacent to Hajar’s well (the Zamzam Well). Ibrahim and Ismael constructed a small stone structure–-the Kaaba–which was to be the gathering place for all who wished to strengthen their faith in God. As the years passed, Ismael was blessed with Prophethood and he gave the nomads of the desert his message of surrender to God–the Islamic faith. After many centuries, Mecca became a thriving city thanks to its reliable water source, the well of Zamzam.

In the year 628 the Prophet Muhammad set out on a journey with 1400 of his followers. This was the first pilgrimage in Islam, and would re-establish the religious traditions of the Prophet Ibrahim.