The festival of breaking the fast, Eid al Fitr, is a joyous time for people across the globe. Muslims all over the world indulge in a month-long fasting tradition and the Eid al Fitr celebrations begin at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It’s a day of togetherness and brotherhood for Muslims, but the celebrations extend to non-Muslims as well. Although the festival is celebrated in a slightly different way in different countries or called different names, based on local traditions or cultures, the quintessence of Eid remains the same everywhere.
Importance of Eid al Fitr
The significance of the festival of Eid comes from the belief that this was the day when Prophet Muhammad received a full revelation of the Holy Quran. The day falls at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a month with regular fasting from dawn to dusk. Also, it is said that the Eid al Fitr prayers are to show respect to Allah for providing the strength during this arduous month of fasting. Historically, it is believed that Prophet Muhammad started this celebration in 624 CE after winning the battle of Jang-e-Badar. Also, it is the first day of the month of Shawwal and usually begins with devotees waking up before sunrise, taking a bath, getting ready, and offering prayers to Allah. Charity is a big part of Eid al Fitr traditions and people try to help the ones in need. People wish each other greetings like “Eid al Fitr Mubarak” or “Eid Fitr Mubarak”.
Namaz on The Day of Eid
Eid al Fitr namaz is referred to as Salat al-Eid is the special prayer that is offered by the devotees on the day of Eid. This is a little different from prayer on other days and consisting of 2 units of prayers. The importance of Eid prayer is that it is a way of showing gratitude for everything Allah has blessed its devotees with. The prayers can be offered at home or in a congregation at an open space or masjid. Eid namaz timings vary from place to place but the prayers begin with the sun rises a few meters above the horizon. The devotees pray until the sun reaches its meridian and this is considered as the best time to pray on Eid al Fitr day. It is mandatory for all male Muslims to perform salah on the day of Eid. Eid Namaz for ladies can be carried out at home. It is also a tradition to eat dates in the early morning but only in odd numbers. The tradition started with the fact that Prophet Muhammad preferred to have an odd number of dates before going out to pray on the day of Eid al Fitr, a practice that has now become a tradition among practicing Muslims.
The Other Eid - Eid al Adha
Eid al Fitr is shortly followed by Eid al Adha, which is another festival separated by Islamic devotees. Although the names have some resemblance, the two festivals have distinct origins. As per the story of Eid al Adha, Prophet Ibrahim had a vivid dream about Allah ordering him to sacrifice his son as a symbol of his devotion to Allah. Prophet Ibrahim, given his ultimate faith in Allah, decided to fulfill this demand. Despite the devil adopting nefarious tricks to dissuade him, Ibrahim did not budge and threw pebbles at him in an effort to make him leave. It is said that when Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, Allah seeing his obedience and trust in him, spared his son’s life and replaced him with a lamb. Thus, the festival of Eid al Adha is celebrated by Muslim across the globe to celebrate their devotion and loyalty to Allah. Allah’s mercy and Ibrahim’s devotion are commemorated on this holy day.
Moreover, it is a tradition to sacrifice lambs on this day and the festival is famously known as the Festival of Sacrifice. Some people embark on the pilgrimage of Hajj as well, indulging in the symbolic act of throwing pebbles at 3 pillars in Mina, a place where it’s believed that Ibrahim threw stones at the devil. Eid al Adha essentially marks the end of Hajj, a pilgrimage to Makkah.
Essentials on Eid al Fitr
There are a few things that are guaranteed on the day of Eid and the festival is incomplete without these.
Eid al Fitr is a celebration that continues for around three consecutive days and since Eid al Adha stretches over 4 days, Eid al Fitr is sometimes referred to as the “lesser” Eid. Nonetheless, the spirit of celebration is no less, and festivities continue in all its joyous glory. Eid Mubarak!