Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Eid al- Adha (Holiday)

The holiday I choose is a Islamic holiday called Eid al adha. Eid al adha is very well known around the world. Eid al Adha means festival of sacrifice. Eid al adha marks the completion of the annual Hajj, the pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. During the festival of Eid al adha, all Muslims celebrate Ibrahim’s trial by slaughtering an animal such as cow, sheep, camel, or goat. Eid al-Fitr is holiday that follows the month of Ramadan. The three-day Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, celebrates the end of Ramadan, the Muslims holy month during which individuals fast from sunrise to sunset. Eid al-Adha is very important holiday to Muslims like Christian is to Charismas.

Islam all over the world celebrates only two big holidays which are Eid al Adha and Eid al Fitr. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslims year in the month of fasting. It is one of the most important months in the Islamic calendar because it was during Ramadan that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Also the first battle between the idol worshippers of Mecca and the Muslims of Medina took place during this month. When fasting, Muslims are required to eat or drink nothing, including water, while the sun shines. Fasting is one of the five pillars or duties of Islam. It is compulsory for all Muslims over the age of twelve to fast during Ramadan. Fasting is the duty for every adult Muslim, but there are some exceptions. Elderly, sick, pregnant women, nursing mothers, travelers do not have to fast but they must fast at a convenient time later on. The fast begins at dawn and ends at sunset, throughout the month of Ramadan. During this time, eating, drinking, smoking and having sex are strictly forbidden. During Ramadan, the meal called Suhar is recommended to be taken before dawn because it provides nourishment for the rest of the day. After Suhar, everyone prepares again for morning prayer, worshipping either in the mosque or at home. Muslims go to prayer at night known as tarawih. In this way, by the end of the month the complete scripture of the Quran will be recited.

The month of Ramadan is not just about fasting it is also a month of worship. Muslims are able to practice self-discipline and prepare themselves for any suffering that they may have to face in the course of obeying God. It is a spiritual training and a way of submitting to God's will. Fasting is also a mutual experience, and everyone is made aware of what it is like to feel hunger. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadan. As the month draws to a close, Muslims are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making contributions to mosques. Fasting is also an opportunity to practice self-control and to cleanse the body and mind.
During Ramadan in the Muslim world, most restaurants are closed during the daylight hours. Families get up early for suhoor, a meal eaten before the sun rises. The fast ends at sunset, and the meal which is taken then to break the fast is called Iftar. Iftar usually begins with dates and sweet drinks that provide a quick energy boost. Muslims are reminded of the suffering of the poor. And in this most sacred month, fasting helps Muslims feel the peace that comes from spiritual devotion as well as kinship with fellow believers. Temptation is everywhere when you are fasting, especially in America because it is not mainly celebrated and also America is majority Christian country.

Celebrating Eid Al-Adha in America is so different than celebrating in Muslim countries because in Muslim countries when it is a prayer time all the stores close so people could go to the mosque to pray and also when it is time to break our fast. At Eid time people dress in their finest clothes, adorn their homes with lights and decorations, give treats to children, and enjoy visits with friends and family and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter. A sense of generosity and gratitude colors these festivities. Each Muslim family is encouraged to sacrifice an animal and split it in three and one –third for the needy, one-third for friends and family and one-third for themselves.

The Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. Going to Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime is mandatory by Muslim if he or she can afford it. The Hajj happens after the month of Ramadan. Muslims from all over the world, including the United States, travel to Makkah in
Saudi Arabia. The Hajj is designed to develop God awareness and a sense of spiritual up liftment. It is also believed to be an opportunity to seek forgiveness of sins accumulated throughout life. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had said that a person who performs Hajj properly "will return as a newly born baby free of all sins.” The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colors, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together.
Eid Al Adha is a holiday that is celebrated everywhere in the world and it is not well known here in the United State. Most Americans are clueless about holidays of other countries. Celebration of Eid is podcasted in TV about two minutes and that is not enough time to educate many people who may not know what Eid is. It is good to be aware of each others’ holiday therefore that does not imply that we have to celebrate each others holiday but it does not hurt to acknowledge it.


Citation

Abdalati, Hammudah. Islam In Focus
Plainfield, Indiana, 1975

Brunner, Borgna “Major Islamic Holiday”. Fact Monster Article
Fact Monster Website. 14 April 2007 http://wwww.factmonster.com

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