When Mohammed the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, the people of Madinah were observing two major festivals.
The Ansaar (Muslims of Madinah) told him that before the advent of Islam, they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days.
The Prophet told them: “Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better – the days of Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha (Hadith).”
Eid Al Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, following the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Shawwal is the 10th month in the Islamic calendar.
Eid Al Fitr is a true Thanksgiving Day for the men and women of faith. On this day, Muslims show their real joy for the health, strength and the opportunities of life, which Allah has given them to fulfill their obligation of fasting and other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Eid Al Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Zdilhijjah, the 12th and the last month of the Islamic calendar. It is also a very joyous day; it is a feast of self-sacrifice, commitment and obedience to Allah. It commemorates the great act of obedience to Allah by Prophet Ibrahim in showing his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael.
Allah accepted his sacrifice and replaced Prophet Ismael with a lamb. Although Haj has no relation with Eid Al Adha, the five-day-long ritual of Haj is also done during this month culminating with Ninth Zdilhijjah.
Many rituals of Haj are enactment of the struggle of the family of Ibrahim, specially his second wife Hajirah and her son Prophet Ismael.
The Sunnah of Eid: On this day, people wake up early, offer Salatul Fajr and prepare for personal cleanliness. They take care of details of clothing, take a Ghusl (bath) after Fajr, brush their teeth, dress up with the best clothes available and have breakfast before leaving for prayers. They offer ‘Salaat Al Eid’ with others in an open place, except when weather does not permit. They use two separate routes to and from the prayer ground.
They recite ‘Takbir’ on the way to Salaat and until the beginning of Salaat Al Eid.
At the conclusion of the Salaat, Muslims exchange greetings and offer reasonable gifts to youngsters and visit each other at their homes.
Muslims should also take this opportunity to invite their non-Muslims neighbours, colleagues, classmates and business acquaintances to Eid festivities to expose them to Islam and Muslim culture.
Reproduced from Indian Newslink, November 15, 2003.
Photo : The true spirit of Eid- Muslims in Christchurch