Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Eid-ul Fitr “Festival of Fast-breaking”
The end of Ramadan is marked by the sighting of the new moon, which is followed by a day of celebration known as Eid-ul-Fitr or the ‘festival of fast-breaking’. Families wake up early in the morning, put on their best clothes and go to the mosque for the Eid sermon and congregational prayers. They thank the Merciful God for having given them the opportunity to experience the blessed month of Ramadan. The day is accompanied by celebration, socializing, festive meals and modest gift-giving especially to children. But before the festivities begin, every person, adult and child, must have already contributed towards Zakat-ul-Fitra. This is the giving of a meal, or cash equivalent, to a needy person to make sure that none are excluded from this happy occasion.
The Eid celebration is not merely about feasting and socializing. There is a deep significance for those who truly observed the holy month with their fasting, abstaining from all bad habits and striving hard to earn the pleasure of God. For the observant, the Merciful Allah has granted Eid as a day for forgiveness of sins. The Muslim is left with a feeling of happiness and joy and a renewed energy to face the rest of the year with faith and determination. Islam teaches that the objective of life is to earn the pleasure of God. The spiritual closeness that can be achieved during the month of Ramadan serves this purpose for those who truly work hard to benefit from it.