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Eid al Fitr in United States

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Quick Facts

Eid al-Fitr, which is on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan.

Many Muslims in the United States celebrate Eid al-Fitr (also known as Id al-Fitr or Eid ul-Fitr) on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar.

It marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and the start of a feast that lasts up to three days in some countries.

What do people do?

Eid al-Fitr is an important Islamic holiday that involves many Muslims waking up early and praying either at an outdoor prayer ground or a mosque.

Many Muslims dress in their finest clothes and adorn their homes with lights and other decorations.

Old wrongs are forgiven and money is given to the poor. Special foods are prepared and friends or relatives are invited to share the feast. Gifts and greeting cards are exchanged and children receive presents.

Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion but its underlying purpose is to praise God and give thanks to him, according to Islamic belief.

Some Muslim groups in the United States campaign for schools in some parts of the country to allocate Eid al-Fitr as a day off without being penalized on Eid al-Fitr.

For example, the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays, which is a group of more than 80 religious and ethnic organizations, have been lobbying to have the two Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha designated as days off in New York City schools.

Public life

Eid al-Fitr is not a federal public holiday in the United States. However, many Islamic businesses and organizations may alter their business hours during this event. There may be some congestion around mosques around this time of the year.

Background

Eid al-Fitr is also known as the Feast of Fast-Breaking or the Lesser Feast. It marks the end of Ramadan and the start of a feast that lasts up to three days in some countries, such as Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

It is one of Islam's two major festivals, with Eid al-Adha being the other major festival.

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the fasting that occurs during Ramadan.

It is not possible to predict the date of Eid al-Fitr according to the Gregorian calendar accurately. This is because the month of Shawwal begins, and hence the month of Ramadan ends, after a confirmed sighting of the new moon.

The new moon may be sighted earlier or later in specific locations.

Hence, Muslims in different communities, for example on the east and west coasts of the USA and Canada, may begin the Eid-al-Fitr celebrations on different dates.

Local Muslims Will Work Through Hunger Pains To Get Closer To God While Fasting

Central Florida Future

The month of Ramadan begins July 20 this year, according to the Islamic Society of North America. Because it occurs according to 29 and 30 day lunary calendar, the month of Ramadan starts 10 to 11 days earlier each year.

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and intimate relations from dawn until dusk in order to become closer to God.

Fasting while cooking at a deep fryer all day is ''absolutely painstaking,'' Khabeer said.

Farida Mustapha works the deep fryer alongside her son.

''I just want to survive it in this heat,'' she said.

Khabeer hopes their ability to sacrifice and mindset will be noticed.

''I really wish, being a businessman, you put so much time into the business, [but] you want time to reflect,'' Khabeer said. ''You hope the work will pay off, God willing.''

Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months for Muslims, a month in which reward for prayers and forgiveness from God is increased.

For Abuzar Baloach, president of the Muslim Student Association at UCF, the month is about more than just fasting.

''It's not like you refrain from eating or drinking but then you are bad to people the rest of the time,'' Baloach said. ''You're supposed to be a good human being. The fasting is another method of teaching self-control.''

The micro & molecular biology senior hopes to take advantage of this month.

''My goal is to pray and ask for forgiveness as much as I can,'' Baloach said. ''This is seen [by others] as a deed religion — how many good deeds you do and how many bad deeds you do, but it's not really like that; it's about God's forgiveness.''

Baloach said the MSA usually has an event called a Fast-a-Thon, where the club invites non-Muslims to fast for a day to see what it's like and spread awareness. Because Ramadan falls during summer this year, MSA hasn't picked a day yet for this year's Fast-a-Thon.

Baloach said that sometimes the Fast-a-Thon happens after Ramadan ''because of everybody being so busy."


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EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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