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Celebrating Eid with prayers, meeting family and friends & giving charity

31st May 2019
Celebrating Eid with prayers, meeting family and friends & giving charity

(Photo: Ahmed J Versi/Muslim News)

Aishah Ali

Eid is celebrated by Muslims across the world, marking the end of the blessed month of Ramadan. Eid al Fitr means the ‘festival of breaking the fast’ and Muslims thank God for helping them to observe the blessed month of Ramadan and giving them the strength to fast and engage in worship and good work.

Great grandson of the Prophet Imam Ali ibn al Husayn, who is also known as Zayn al Abidin, bade farewell to the month of Ramadan in a supplication, part of which says:

“So we bid farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us,

whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness,

and to whom we have come to owe

a safeguarded claim,

an observed inviolability,

and a discharged right.

We say: Peace be upon you,

O greatest month of God!

O festival of His friends!

Peace be upon you,

O most noble of accompanying times!

O best of months in days and hours!

Peace be upon you,

month in which expectations come near

and good works are scattered about!”

This is the first of two annual Eid occasions observed by Muslims. The second Eid is known as Eid al Adha which is celebrated at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

When is Eid?

Eid is celebrated at the end of the month of Ramadan. Therefore, it marks the first day of the tenth month on the Islamic calendar, Shawwal. The Islamic lunar calendar operates on the phases of the moon, so the day of Eid al Fitr is based on the appearance of the new moon which sets the first day of a new month. Various methods such as astronomical calculations, sighting by the naked eye and telescopes are used by different countries and communities to determine the start of the new month. This year, the date for Eid al Fitr is likely to be on June 5.

How is Eid celebrated?

Before the Eid al Fitr day, Muslims are expected to give a small amount known as Zakat al Fitr, to charity for the needy so that they can join in the Eid celebration, This is obligatory for all those Muslims who have more than the basic food necessities.

Muslims begin the day by attending sermons at the mosques and performing congregational Eid prayer. People dress in their best or new clothes for the celebratory atmosphere, exchange gifts and Eid greetings. A few individuals shared their experiences of how they celebrate Eid.

Sidra Mahmood, Birmingham, explained, “I begin the day by attending the mosque for Eid prayers with my family. I enjoy meeting my friends and fellow Muslims at the mosque to give them Eid greetings. The remainder of the day is usually spent with family and friends as we eat delicious food and exchange gifts.”

Mariam Kauser, Luton, said, “Eid is a joyful occasion for Muslims around the world. I dress myself and children in their best clothes and prepare tasty food and gifts. I like to visit my relatives who I may not see regularly to share the joyous day with them. We are very grateful to God for the blessing of Ramadan.”

Muhammad Shoaib, Manchester, said, “It’s important to begin the day with Eid prayers and to thank our Creator for all the blessings. I take my children to the mosque. We listen to the sermon, pray, and greet our fellow Muslims. We also give generously to charity so that those less fortunate than ourselves can receive food and necessities t­o join in the occasion.”

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