Ifrah (a.k.a Sucdi) Hassan is a Somali-Canadian who enjoys community work and believes that giving back is everyone’s responsibility. She is also committed to inspiring and building bright future for the Canadian-Somali Youth.
Eid Al-Fitr: A Time of Reflection for Muslims
Every year, more than one billion Muslims worldwide observe the holy month of Ramadan – a month-long fasting from dawn to sunset. Each day during this holy month, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking for the sake of God. Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar and one of the five Pillars of Islam. In the Qur’an, God declares that “fasting has been written down upon you, as it was upon those before you.” However, young children, the elderly, those with illnesses, travelers, and women who are menstruating, pregnant, breast-feeding or have recently had a baby are not required to fast. Ramadan is much more than just fasting. It is a time of self-reflection, soul cleansing and focus on worshipping God. Fasting is also intended to educate the Muslims on spirituality, humility, patience, and generosity. This year, Ramadan started on Sunday, June 29th. After Ramadan, comes a major holiday festival called Eid al-Fitr. The remainder of this article will focus on the significance and practices of this joyous occasion. Eid al-Fitr, also known as Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, Bayram, the Sweet Festival and the lesser Eid, is one of Islam’s two major festivals, the other major one being Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the start of a feast that lasts up to three days in some countries. This holiday was founded and first celebrated by Prophet Mohamed (peace & blessings be upon him) in the city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia, around 622 CE. The significance of the festival is to show gratitude to God and to remember Him. It is also a time to give charity to those in need, and is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. Just a few days before the day of Eid al-Fitr, each Muslim family gives an earnest amount as a donation known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking). This donation can take many forms (i.e., monetary, food etc.) and is intended to ensure the less fortunate ones have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. On the day of Eid, Muslims worldwide wear their best attire and gather early in the morning in outdoor spaces or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. After the Eid prayer, people often scatter to visit family and friends; offer gifts (especially to children), serve traditional sweets, organize special events and play cultural performances. In the spirit of the holiday, I asked some of my close friends if they could tell me what they’re mostly looking forward to this Eid. Here is what they said: “For this coming Eid, I look forward to Eid prayer the most with family, friends and hundreds and hundreds of Muslims gather in a single room to celebrate the end of Ramadan speaking different languages, wearing cultural clothing, smiling, and hugging. It’s a heart warming experience! I cannot wait inshaAllah (God- willing).” Dalia Abdalah “In addition to spending this joyous occasion with our families, as newlyweds, we’re also excited to be spending our first Eid together. We also pray that Allah give us the long-lasting effects of our Ramadan routine (fasting, reading quran together and praying together).” Hanaan Wardere & Sharmaarke Abdullahi “I look forward to going with my family, watching my kids have fun on rides and exploring different attractions of the city, plus shopping! I also look forward to Muslim festival where I go every year; my children learn different cultures, watch animals, and play.” Suad Ahmed “One of my favorite things on Eid day is actually the Eid Prayer! Hearing and saying the takbiraat and praying with my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in the mosque are just amazing! Seeing children, young and old give each other greetings and congratulating one another for their accomplishment during Ramadan remind me of the Islamic principal of unity, brotherhood and of one Ummah (people). I also look forward to celebrating with my family.” Maryam Arale “For this coming Eid, I look forward to being a better man than I was prior to the beginning of Ramadan and hope that my numerous du’aas (supplications) will be accepted by Allah (God). Of course, I also look forward to enjoying a large quantity of Cambaabur as well (Somali Eid bread).” Sughe Saleman “I will be spending Eid al-Fitr in Jerusalem this year inshaAllah (God willing). Although I’m feeling sad that I’ll be celebrating Eid away from my family, I’m really looking forward to praying Eid prayer in the holy city and celebrating with fellow Muslims from all around the world.” Dalila Benchaouche This year’s Eid Al-Fitr is expected to be on or around July, 28, 2014.