Nagpur: More than one billion Muslims around the world and whole of India will celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Thursday, as the month-long Ramadan fast ends and the festivities begin. It is the day when Fasting metamorphoses into feasting!
Our country is unique of its endless diversities right from its physical features to Geologic structures, fauna and flora, demographic structure, races, languages, religions, arts and crafts and customs and traditions. India has been variously described as “the Mini World”, the “epitome of the world” and an “ethnological museum”. The diversity in India is unique.
India is the land where all the world lives in peace and harmony. Some might disagree but those are few and that is the reason despite we generalize. Ramadan also transliterated Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar and is observed worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad.
This year’s Eid is fraught with pain as terrorist attacks across the Islamic world in Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have left the World reeling in pain.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
One of the most important days for Muslims, this is the “festival of breaking the fast.”
Families and friends gather to mark the end of Ramadan and show gratitude to Allah.
During this time, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.
How to celebrate Eid?
During the day, Muslims gather in large open spaces or mosques for special prayers, called Salat al-Eid, usually followed by a small breakfast, their first daytime meal in a month.
Gifts are usually exchanged, and alms-giving is also a common practice. Another custom involves donning new clothes for the new day, which marks a spiritual renewal.
Food is an important part of Eid al-Fitr, as feasting takes the place of fasting. After a month of the latter, delicacies and heavy foods will reign at the lavish dinners being prepared.
According to Islamic belief this annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
The Five Pillars consist of:
* Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith.
* Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day. I. Fajr- Dawn to sunrise, should be read at least 10–15 minutes before sunrise, II. Zuhr- After true noon until Asr, III. Asr in the afternoon, IV. Maghrib- After sunsetuntil dusk, V. Isha- Dusk until dawn.
* Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy.
* Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan.
* Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca.
Like all other religious beliefs Islam teaches love and peace!
1. Women and men are equal in Islam: “Each of you is equal to the other” (Quran, 3:195). It is true that inequalities exist in many societies but it is also true that gender inequalities exist in many other societies as well. Gender inequalities emanate from cultural practices, not the religion of Islam. In the Quran, men and women enjoy the same rights spiritually, but also socially and politically.
2. Islam shares many religious figures and historical events with Judaism and Christianity. Muslims greatly respect Jesus. Jesus is also considered a prophet in Islam.
3. Islam is a religion with a deep commitment to social justice. The five pillars of Islam is to help the poor through a donation of zakat. If put simply, it’s followers must give 2.5 percent of their savings to the poor, as zakat is a requirement of those who have accumulated wealth.
4. Violence is un-Islamic. At its core, Islam is a religion of peace, a message reiterated many times throughout the Quran. The Quran calls its way “the paths of peace” (5:16) and states that God dislikes any disturbance of peace: “God loves not aggressors” (2:190).
5. Advantages of Fasting:
Staying away from food during day during one complete month is prescribed in Islam. It is said to have two major lessons for you.
Fasting will make you realize how it feels to be hungry. How it feels to be a starving poor.
It will make you realize how weak you are, that when you skip a few meals, you lose your strength, energy and vigor. It reduces the arrogance in you.
With little information and awareness about the religion, I hope this article serves to redress some common misconceptions and clears the foggy window. I wish everyone a very Heartfelt and Happy Eid.
Dr. Rajan Pandey
M.B.B.S., M.D. (schol.),
Author & Columnist.