Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr 2016, which marks the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and is celebrated over three days. It is estimated that over 1.5 billion Muslims will be celebrating the holiday worldwide.
Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset and is based on the sightings of the moon. According to Islamic traditions, Eid al-Fitr is the first day of the month of Shawwal. On Shawwal, fasting is prohibited. The Islamic calendar is lunar, and the days begin at dusk and can vary in different countries. Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr do not fall on the same date each year.
During this time, Muslims begin their day with prayers and gather together at local mosques dressed in their very best. Muslims, at this time, are also obligated to pay Zakat. Zakat is a form of alms-giving that is paid after prayers. Zakat also is also one of the five pillars of Islam and is based on the person’s annual income. The rate for Zakat averages 2.5 percent. Zakat means to “purify.”
Muslims are also obligated to spend time with their family and eat. Celebrations might be different around the world, but most Muslims eat traditional foods, including dates, different types of meat, and desserts. All food used is halal, which means permissible foods according to Islamic law. All food made is shared with relatives and friends when visiting them, and gifts are often exchanged, as reported by CNN.
This year’s Eid al-Fitr has also been a somber one. Many Muslim refugees and asylum seekers that are celebrating Eid al-Fitr have been displaced from their homes. There has also been an increase in terror attacks during this holy time. Three suicide bombings occurred in Saudi Arabia in a 24 hour period, including one at a mosque in Medina, one of the holiest sites in Islam. However, alert security noticed the Medina bomber, and he detonated his bomb in the Mosque parking lot, which spared many lives.
According to ABC News, Syria’s military declared a three-day cease-fire across the country in honor of Eid al-Fitr. The cease-fire began Wednesday and will last until midnight on Friday.
Unfortunately, this morning some Muslims were unable to celebrate Eid. During an early morning prayer gathering in Bangladesh, there was another terror attack. According to CNN, the assailants were fully armed with guns and bombs. Three people were killed in the attack, and 14 officers were injured. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, so far.
Islamic traditions teach that Ramadan was established as a Holy Month for Muslims after the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad beginning in 610 CE on the occasion known as Laylat al-Qadr, frequently translated as “the Night of Power,” as mentioned by the Huffington Post.
According to Islam, the Prophet Mohammed was blessed by the Angel Gabriel and was given divine knowledge of Allah. Mohammed repeated want he was told which later was transcribed and became the Qur’an.
Ramadan is a month-long fast based on the first revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and fasting during this time is a reminder to Muslims of the people who are less fortunate, via the Indian Express.
Fasting during Ramadan means that Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset during the entire month. In some cases, fasting may be broken, and women, for example, who are post-childbirth or menstruating are excluded from this rule.These women are to extend their fasting after they stop bleeding, according to the Islamic Association of Raleigh.
Also, Muslims who are ill or elderly may be excluded from fasting, as well, but they have to pay Fidyah instead. Fidyah means feeding the poor, and it is mentioned in the Quran in Surah 2:184. Fidyah is the equivalent of what a person would eat for two meals, and it can be paid in food or money. The very poor are not required to make this up, via the Hidaya Foundation.
Eid al-Fitr 2016 marks the end of Ramadan and will be celebrated over the next few days. Eid al-Fitr is an official holiday in Muslim countries.
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