Salaams everyone. I'm just wishing you all a happy Eid (Eid = "celebration" and Mubarak = "blessed").
For context, we just finished fasting the month of Ramadan. The fasting consists of no food or drink, no cursing, no sex, no negativity, etc from
sunrise to sunset of each day. There are a lot of other religious elements to Ramadan which may or may not be mandated depending on your denomination
and culture, including additional night prayers, additional acts of charity, additional readings of the Qur'an and other scriptures, preparing
food to help others break their fasts, etc. For example, in my family, it was always a tradition for each of us to read the
entire Qur'an at least once before month's end.
There are plenty of reasons why we fast during Ramadan, including learning hunger in order to better empathize with the needy. But the main reason we
fast is because of this (from 2:183-185, Pickthall
183. O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil);
184. (Fast) a certain number of days; and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days; and for those who can
afford it there is a ransom: the feeding of a man in need - but whoso doeth good of his own accord, it is better for him: and that ye fast is better
for you if ye did but know -
185. The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right
and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of
other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should
magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful.
Eid al-Fitr (the celebration of breaking the fast) begins directly after the last day of the month of Ramadan, which is the first day of the next
month (called Shawwal). We usually break our fast at sunset of the last day of Ramadan with greetings of "Eid Mubarak!" and may even give out gifts
then. However, the Eid's length depends on the culture, with some only observing it for one day, some 3 days, etc. It usually consists of a huge Eid
congregation and prayer on the morning of the first day of Shawwal (which is this morning & it'll be around 7-10am). Then it's usually followed by a
banquet and a bunch of different voluntary events throughout the community, sometimes lasting for days.
For examples, my Dad and his associates (Imams in a small city) usually rent out a small convention center to hold their Eid al-Fitr prayers and
congregations. And virtually all of the Muslims there will come together there or at a separate mosque's Eid prayers. But the metropolis where I'm
staying in now has such a large Muslim population that there can be a half dozen or so major sites for the prayers and congregations. The one I
usually go to includes Muslims from virtually all walks of life, from Saudis, Somalis, and Chinese Muslims to African Americans, European Americans,
and Nigerian Muslims. I like the way that you can tell where a lot of the Muslims are originally from or tell their denominations by the clothing they
wear, the way they pray, and/or the way they greet you.
Hmmm... trying to remember if there's anything I'm missing. Ummm, there are additional scriptures that encourage us to fast an additional 6 days
during the month of Shawwal for even more blessings, though we can't fast on the day(s) of the Eid. And uhhh, there are usually a lot of different
Eid events for the kids in the community. Oh yeah, and one of our forms of required charity must be paid before the Eid prayers begin. Ok, that's all
I've got for now. My brain hurts lol.
Anyway, Eid Mubarak everyone.