Eid-al-Fitr – most commonly known as the “Festival of Breaking Fast.” It is so because it marks the end of the month of “Ramadan”, which is a sacred month of the Islamic calendar when people have a fast for 30 days from dawn to dusk, with full dedication and ode to God. The religious Eid festival is the first day of the month Shawwal when people are not permitted to take fast. Eid-al-Fitr is one of the biggest festivals of the Muslim community celebrated worldwide with pompous and show in the name of Allah. On this day, people would do charity before offering prayers and then proceeding to the rituals to thank Allah for everything He has offered to His disciple. Eid-al-Fitr depends on the sighting of the moon which may not be visible on the 29th day of the month so the festival is celebrated the following day.
Eid-al-Fitr has a particular Islamic prayer, Salat consisting of two units, Rakats which is performed in an open field or a large hall. It is more about embracing each other and filling the gap between the poor and the rich. People are gathered in a large group to offer religious prayers and this Salat may vary from locality to locality as in:
- The Hanafi school of Sunni Islam: Features six additional Takbirs, raising of the hands to the ears while saying “Allāhu ʾAkbar”, meaning “God is the greatest”, three at the start of the first Rakat and three just before rukūʿ (may be either a paragraph of Quran or act of belt-low bowing where hands rest on the knees) in the second Rakat.
- Other Sunni Schools: These have twelve Takbirs, similarly split in groups of seven and five.
- Shia Islam: The salat has six Takbirs in the first Rakat at the end of qira’a(variants in the recitation of Quran), before rukūʿ, and five in the second.
A little say on its history, it was originated by Islamic Prophet Muhammad and this festival was initiated in Medina when the Prophet moved to Mecca. Anas told that when the Prophet had arrived in Medina he saw people celebrating two specific days for their enjoyment and remarked those as the days of festivities marked by Almighty – Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.
As witnessed the holy festival of the Muslim community, it is no less than Christmas where Santa distributes gifts to young children and other people, i.e. after all the prayers are done, before serving of the main meal all the young children of the family would line up before the adults who would offer them money as gift, this tradition is followed in many countries like : Jordan, Saudi Arabia etc while in some countries including Turkey, Afghanistan, children visit door to door to receive offering as chocolates, candies and cookies.
This isn’t the limit of joy and merriment, fairs are organised in some places where people specially go to spend money so that all people can enjoy their Eid festival with full satisfaction with their families. It is a day-off around the world.
Someone asked “What is happiness?” To which I replied “To live and let live.”