Objectives: Describe how Eid al-Fitr is celebrated.
Eidul-Fitr starts as Ramadan ends and is dated the 1st of Shawwāl in the Islamic calendar every year. It celebrates the ‘breaking of the fast’, the end of the strict discipline of fasting in the daylight hours. The Eid prayer is held outside, weather permitting, to allow as many people to pray together. Everyone wears their best clothes and many people buy new clothes for the occasion. On the way to the Eid prayer, the people recite aloud Allaahu akbar (Allah is Great), alhamdulillaah (all praise if for Allah), laa ilaaha illallaah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah), repeatedly.
After the prayer which consists of two rak’ahs, the Imam delivers a sermon (khutbah) and reminds the people to obey Allaah, to remember Him, to worship Him, to fear Him, to avoid sins, to be kind, brotherly and generous, and to help those in need by giving in charity. Muslims should go away from the sermon wanting to be better worshippers, obedient to Allah, adhere to the Sunnah, to end suffering and to follow the truth. When the Imam has finished, the people greet each other, often hugging and supplicating for one another. Then they visit their friends and family to share this joyous occasion – they eat and drink together and they share gifts. Segregation between men and women is a must in Islam, though (unfortunately) not always practiced. Women beat the ‘duff’ (a simple drum), and sing pleasant songs, young girls enjoy singing the most! There is a great community spirit and no one is left out – the elderly are shown kindness and respect, the young are given toys. No haram acts are permitted on this lovely day such as flirting with the opposite sex, smoking, drinking alcohol, etc. Muslims are expected to give a special payment to charity in the form of food (rice, or wheat, or barley, etc.) in thankfulness to Allah and as expiation for any shortcomings. This payment must be given before the Eid prayer. Visiting the graves of deceased relatives is not from the recommended acts of Eid day that are reported in the Hadith. Also, paying Zakat al-Fitr in cash is not from the Sunnah – it must be paid in the form of food as mentioned by the Prophet.
Eidul-Fitr around the world: The way Eidul-Fitr is celebrated varies across the Muslim world, but almost everywhere food plays an important part and special dishes are prepared for the occasion. In Malaysia, there are three days of public holidays. Their special dishes include rice cooked in coconut leaves or bamboo shoots served with beef. In Iraq, a special breakfast of buffalo cream with honey and bread is eaten, while in Egypt, the festive meal is fish based.
- What are the teachings given by the Imam in his Eidul-Fitr sermon?
- What do you do on Eid? Describe where you go, what you eat and who you visit and the Eid prayer itself.
- How would you make sure no one is left out or feels lonely on Eid?
I initially compiled these worksheets for my students at the Redstone Academy (aged between 13 and 16 years), Moseley Road, Birmingham, UK who were working towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). I felt that others who do not attend the school could also benefit from these topics since they are presented in simple bitesize chapters. I have relied upon GCSE text books and adapted them for my classes.