Happy Ramadan: Essence of Eid al-Fitr
30 June 2016
By Dr. Abdul Ruff
Eid al-Fitr is a joyous day
for Muslims all over the world after Ramadan month long rigorous fasting from
dawn to dusk. Among Muslim festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr, the 'fast-breaking'
festival stands out in its popularity and religious significance. Eid-ul-Fitr
is a celebratory day that generates the deep devotion and surrender to Allah
during Ramadan. It refers to the breaking of the month-long routine of fasting
from sunrise to sunset. 'Eid' itself implies a 'festive' occasion that spreads
joy and happiness all around.
Regarded as one of the
Five Pillars of Islam, Ramadan is the period when Muslims fast every day from
sunrise to sunset. They refrain from consuming food, drink and engaging in
sexual relations. It also includes the increased offering of prayers and
recitation of the Quran.
Generally, Eid is a three-day
long celebration that reaffirms the ideals of piety, empathy, charity and
solidarity among Muslims all over the world. It is celebrated with tremendous
enthusiasm and affection.
Following the successful completion of the month of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr
becomes a great occasion to thank Allah for giving believers the will-power
and endurance to observe the month-long fast and follow rules in personal
conduct. It is also a time to renew one's faith in Allah and seek his
In the Islamic calendar, the months are based on the lunar cycle. Muslims look
out for the very first crescent of the new moon, but it can be tricky to spot
if the night sky is cloudy.
On this fortunate day of
Eid-ul-Fitr festival, morning prayers are followed by a sermon and a
congregational prayer at the mosque. On the first morning of the celebration,
many gather in local mosques or open-air locations for special prayers called
Salat al-Eid, and have breakfast.
Muslims put on their
finest clothes for what will be their first daylight meal in a month. Some
will exchange gifts, greeting cards and prepare special foods. Men typically
wear white clothes that stand for purity while women and children are attired
in especially tailored, bright-colored clothes. Muslims offer Eid prayer 'Two
Rakat Namaz' on this day. Then, dressed in new clothes they proceed to greet
their family, relatives and friends 'Eid Mubarak'. This is done through
friendly embraces and handshakes, as good gestures of unity.
The Islamic practice of giving 'zakat' is also upheld during
this time. The ritual of distributing alms on this day is observed throughout
the ongoing celebrations. Just before Eid, Muslims part with some portion of
their earnings and grains for the poor, so that they too can celebrate Eid
with full fervor. Children also receive gifts or money by relatives.
Muslim families host gatherings of and relatives, friends and
neighbors and serve them sumptuous meals. The festive meals comprise a lavish
spread of tasty and most favored dishes along with the popular milk-based
sweet preparation called 'seviyan'. The spirit of Eid transcends community and
religious barriers, and the sight of even non-Muslims partaking of Eid
celebrations is a common one.
Holy Quran, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
holy Quran, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr are interrelated with holy Quran playing
the binding force to connect Muslims with them.
al-Fitr is one of the most important days in the Muslim calendar, although its
significance is purely spiritual. Literally translated from Arabic as the
'festival of breaking the fast', the religious holiday tends to last for a
number of days. The celebrations involve a range of traditions, generally
including the gathering of family and friends to eat and pray together.
The festival has no connection with any historical event but is
a day where Muslims thank Allah for the strength, the will and the endurance
he gives them, especially during Ramadan.
month begins on June 6 and will run through to July 5. During this time
healthy, adult Muslims are expected not to eat or drink during daylight hours.
At the end of the month there is a feast known as Eid al-Fitr.
The Holy Quran was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad (SAS)
during Ramadan and that observing the fast is a time to reflect spiritually.
The importance of Eid-ul-Fitr is associated with an actual event in the
history of Islam. Allah sent an angel to reveal his words over a period of 23
years. These teachings formed the Holy Quran.
Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is marked with daily
fasting. At times, Ramadan involves fasting from early in the morning – a
couple of hours before sunrise – right through to sunset and so it's been
particularly tough in 2016 because it's fallen during the period leading up to
and including the longest day of the year. That's led to fasting for 19 hours
a day at a hot time of year when going without water would be especially
difficult. Muslims will no doubt be looking forward to ending their fast with
In some countries this year it took in the longest day of the year on June 20,
when the sun rose at 04:44 and set at 21:34, giving 16 hours and 50 minutes of
daylight. And fasting actually began a couple of hours before dawn, following
an early prayer called fijr at 2.30am. That means no food or drink for around
19 hours a day. In the USA, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) already
announced that Eid will be observed on July 6 as it is basing it on
astronomical calculations rather than sightings. In London Eid is expected to
be on July 6 – subject to the sighting of the crescent moon.
Organizers of Eid celebrations are waiting until July 4 before announcing the
date of the city's massive event in Small Heath Park, but expect it to be July
5 or 6. The Muslim Council of Britain represents more than 500 national,
regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools: The day on
which Eid will fall is determined the night before, and is announced by Saudi
Arabia. This year, Eid al-Fitr will either be on Tuesday, July 5, or
Wednesday, July 6.
Muslim astronomy site Crescentwatch
urged everyone to look for the new crescent moon (known in Islam as hilal).
But it said forecasts indicated that on July 4, a naked-eye sighting of the
new crescent moon would be ''extremely improbable in all global regions,
except in the remote South Pacific where sightings are possible but also
This would then mean Eid would be
taken as July 6.
On the auspicious day of Eid al-Fitr
none shall fast. Muslims would be happy to welcome a new life gifted by the
Ramadan fasting era.
Eid is indeed a public holiday in Muslim-majority countries. Saudi Arabia is
holding an 11-day holiday from June 30 to July 10 inclusive. Al Jazeera
reports that the holiday in Qatar is also 11 days but from July 1 to 11. It
adds that Turkey has a nine-day Eid holiday (July 2 to 10), United Arab
Emirates and Bangladesh have a holiday of the same length, but from July 1 to
9, while Oman and Pakistan have a five-day break from July 5 to July 9. Eid is
not a public holiday in the so-called secular and democratic UK despite a
campaign in 2014 for it to be recognised as such.
Eid is the short name for what's properly called Eid al-Fitr, the festival of
the breaking of the fast. Muslims say to each other ''Eid Mubarak'' after
saying the Eid prayer, and may also hug each other three times. Eid Mubarak,
meaning 'Blessed Eid', is a traditional greeting used at Eid al-Fitr.
Eid el-Fitr should be distinguished from Eid al-Adha, which is
considered the holiest of the two main Muslim festivals. It's also said at Eid
al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice. That particular festival takes place in
Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar.
Taking place this year on 11 September, it marks the
willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to Allah's
command, before Allah intervened through his angel Jibra'il and informed him
the sacrifice had already been accepted.
Muslims and others eager await the Eid al-Fitr to witness happy mood of the
Eid al-Fitr is to celebrate ''the happiness which man feels after successfully
completing an important task,'' according to Al-Islam.
For Muslims around the world, it will very soon be the end of
Ramadan month and the start of Shawwal. Shawwal begins with a feast to
celebrate the end of that fasting. This celebration is called Eid al-Fitr and
is commonly known just as Eid, even though there are other festivals with Eid
in their name.
Eid al-Fitr is expected to be on July 5 or 6. If the crescent moon is seen on
Monday, July 4, then Ramadan will have ended after 29 days and Eid al-Fitr
will be on the next day, July 5. If the moon is not seen, then Ramadan will be
assumed to have lasted 30 days and Eid will be celebrated on Wednesday, July
Like in Pakistan and Bangladesh, great importance
is attached to Eid-ul-Fitr in India, as it is an important public holiday as
there exists a considerably large population of the Muslim minority (second
largest population after Hindus), which adds to the cultural demographics of
India. All schools, colleges and public institutions remain closed to mark the
significance of this day. With time, these traditions have strengthened their
interaction and intermingling with the Indian culture. Eid-ul-Fitr has, thus,
seeped into India's cultural milieu and is looked forward to by everyone.
Eid al-Fitr stands for joy and greetings. Eid al-Fitr reflects
happy mood of global Muslims having fulfilled one of the fundamental pillars
of Islam in the service to Allah, the almighty. God's full satisfaction is the
motto of Muslims fasting for a month- a significant achievement of Islam.
Muslims, for whom Eid is the most important festival to
celebrate even while facing anti-Islamic attacks on them by the enemies of
Islam, seek Allah's blessings and guidance during and after the Ramadan and
Eid al-Fitr as a very joyous day for Muslims
should be the beginning of our lives as the fasting would strengthen our minds
to continue with what we have achieved though fasting. Muslims would not
revert back to old way of life after the Ramadan fasting and Eid al-Fitr