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Eid al-Fitr - A True Thanksgiving Day
Eid al-Fitr is a very joyous day for the Muslims of the world. This years, 2.8 Billion Muslims will celebrate it on Sunday, August 19, 2012 (and some a day later) depending on the visibility of crescent. Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shaw'waal, at the completion of Ramadan. Shaw'waal is the 10th lunar month of the Islamic calendar.
“For every people there is a feast and this is our feast!” said Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hadith reported by Ai’shah (ra) - Sahih al-Bukhari
The Eid-al-Fitr is a very joyous day; it is a true Thanksgiving Day for the believing men and women. It will be reflected from their faces the day of Eid-al-Fitr. On this day Muslims show their real gratitude for their health, strength and the opportunities in life, which Allah, God has blessed them with to fulfill their obligations including fasting and accomplishing other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Historic Significance of this Day:
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) wanted to develop a distinct identity of Muslims, culturally and ideologically. When he migrated from Makkah to Madinah, he found the people of Madinah celebrating two holidays. On those two days they had carnivals and festivity. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) inquired the Muslims of Madinah about it. They replied that before Islam they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days. On that he told them: “Instead of these two days Allah, God, has appointed two other days which are better: the days of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.” Unas (ra) reported this Hadith.
Salient features of Thanksgiving, Eid-al-Fitr:
The holiday of Eid-al-Fitr begins with Muslim men, women, and children dressing up and putting on their best clothes available, whether new or cleaned old ones and going to the Eid congregation. Remembering the poor by giving a special charity, Zakat-al-Fitr, before the congregation of Eid (on Eid-al-Fitr). Proclaiming God Almighty by offering prayer in an open and inviting place for any one to participate and receive the joy of the holiday. They use two separate routes to and from the prayer to spread the joy by reciting and glorifying the Lord on the way to the congregation and until the beginning of the congregation, Salat-al-Eid: “Allah is great! Allah is great! There is no god but Allah. Allah is great! Allah is great! And all praises are for Allah.” Eid congregations are very large gatherings of Muslim men, women, and children across the country. You can witness these gathering at local Convention Centers, Fair grounds, Community Parks and/or at local Masjid/Islamic Centers.
A Gathering of men, women and children - the whole family and the community.
Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Messenger of Allah commanded the Muslim community to bring out on the day of Eid-al-Fit and Eid-al-Adha, young women, Hijab-observing adult women and the menstruating women and participate in this very joyous day by participating in the prayer and festivities of the day. When one woman asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “O! Messenger of Allah, if one does not have an outer garment?” He replied: "Let her sister cover her with her garment." Umm Attia (ra) reported it in Hadith Muslim.
It is indeed a gathering of the whole community; and every believing man, woman and child participate in this joyous occasion.
At the culmination of prayer, Imam reminds the community its responsibilities and obligations towards Allah, God, the members of the community, and the fellow human beings. Imam also encourages the Muslims to proclaim good and ward off wrong, injustice, and evil. It is also the time to become aware of the state of the community resulting in the spirit of sacrifice, community and struggle.
At the conclusion of the congregation, Muslims convey greetings to each other with hugs and handshakes; give reasonable gifts (usually cash) to the youngsters and visit each other at their homes and hold lunches or dinners for family and friends. They also invite their non-Muslims neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and business acquaintances to Eid festivities to share the joy. Don’t be surprised if you are also invited to an Eid dinner or a celebration by your Muslim neighbors or friends. Please do accept such an invitation. The hospitality, friendliness, and variety of international Muslim cuisine will pleasantly surprise you.
Greetings of Eid, Eid Mubarak!