Eid al Fitr

Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎ ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). This religious Eid (Muslim religious festival) is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality.

Eid al-Fitr has a particular salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying "Allāhu Akbar" which means "God is the greatest"), three of them in the beginning of the first raka'ah and three of them just before ruku'in the second raka'ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam.[3] Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka'ah. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard فرض (obligatory), Mustahabb مستحب (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or Mandoob مندوب (preferable).

Muslims believe that they are commanded by Allah, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan[4]and pay the Zakat al-Fitr before offering the Eid prayers.

Alternative terms

Eid al-Fitr goes by various alternative terms in English, including:

  • Fast-breaking Eid
  • Sweet Festival
  • Ramadan feast
  • Feast of Fasting
  • Small Eid
  • Eid feast
  • Eid al-Saghir
  • Sugar Feast
  • Eid of happiness
  • Lebaran

Timing

Traditionally, it is the day (beginning at sunset) of the first sighting of the crescent moon shortly after sunset. If the moon is not observed immediately after the 29th day of the previous lunar month (either because clouds block its view or because the western sky is still too bright when the moon sets), then it is the following day.

History

Before the advent of Islam in Arabia, there is mention of festivals as well as some others among the Arabs. The Israelites had festivals as well, some directly prescribed in the Torahand others commemorating important days of their history.

Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is observed on the first of the month of Shawwal at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims undergo a period of fasting.

According to certain traditions, these festivals were initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad from Mecca. Anas reports:

When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities at which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. At this, the Prophet remarked that the Almighty has fixed two days [of festivity] instead of these for you which are better than these: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha

For Muslims, both the festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are occasions for showing gratitude to Allah and remembering Him, as well as giving alms to the poor.

General rituals

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Eid Mubārak ("Blessed Eid") or ‘Eid Sa‘īd ("Happy Eid"). In addition, many countries have their own greetings in the local language – in Turkey, for example, a typical saying might be Bayramınız kutlu olsun or "May your Bayram – Eid – be blessed." Muslims are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year.

Typically, practising Muslims wake up early in the morning—always before sunrise—offer Salatul Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer), and in keeping with the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad clean their teeth with a toothbrush, take a shower before prayers, put on new clothes (or the best available), and apply attar.

It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. It is customary to acknowledge this with a small sweet breakfast, preferably of date (fruit), before attending a special Eid prayer (known as salaat).

As an obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy (Arabic: Zakat-ul-fitr) before performing the ‘Eid prayer. The following list contains some general rituals:

  • To show happiness
  • To give as much to charity as possible
  • To pray Fajr in the local Masjid
  • To go early for Eid salaat
  • To read the takbirat in an open field
  • To go to the Eid prayer on foot
  • While at the open field/praying area, same rules apply as the mosque, nl. do not speak one word other than words that remember Allah or any Islamic terms during the Imam's lecture as well as before and after Eid Salaat. You can speak once you've left the Masjid, or mosque or any other place you were praying.
  • Say Eid Mubarak to other Muslims
  • Muslims recite the following incantation in a low voice while going to the Eid prayer: Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar. Lā ilāha illà l-Lāh wal-Lāhu akbar, Allahu akbar walil-Lāhi l-ḥamd. Recitation ceases when they get to the place of Eid or once the Imam commences activities.
  • Muslims are recommended to use separate routes to and from the prayer grounds.
  • Women are encouraged to join Salat of Eid
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