Muslims around the world mark the end of Ramzan with feasting

This year, Eid al-Fitr in India starts on the evening of May 2 and lasts until the evening of May 3rd, with the official government holiday on May 3rd.

The start of the holiday is timed to the first sighting of the crescent moon marking the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.

The Saudi Arabia Supreme Court and the moon sighting committees in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Muscat, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and other Arab states have already announced that Muslims in these countries will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday May 2, 2022.

And since the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and European countries rely on moon announcement by Saudi Arabia Royal Court, Muslims there will also mark Eid celebrations with the Gulf states.

Given that Muslims across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries are gearing up to look for the Shawwal crescent – the new moon to mark the end of Ramadan, tonight ie May 1, there might be a rarest of rare case that the followers of Islam may get a chance to celebrate this year’s Eid-ul Fitr with their Muslim brethren in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, UK, USA and other Gulf and western countries, if the moon is sighted tonight in South Asian countries.

However, the Pakistan Meteorological Department had tweeted, “According to astronomical parameters, there is a No Chance of sighting the new moon of Shawwal, 1443 AH on the evening of 01-05-2022 ie on 29th of Ramazan, 1443 AH (sic) .”

Lunar months last either 29 or 30 days so Muslims usually have to wait until after sunset on the 29th day to verify its date.

On the 29th night of the month, local moon sighters will scan the horizon for the crescent Moon. If the new moon is visible, the next day will be Eid.

If not, Muslims will then fast one more day to complete a 30-day month.

When the sighting has been verified, Eid is declared on televisions, radio stations and by mosques.

Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days in all Muslim-majority countries. However, the number of holiday days varies by country.

Muslims begin Eid day celebrations by partaking in the prayer service that takes place shortly after dawn, followed by a short sermon.

On their way to the prayer, which is traditionally held in an open area, Muslims recite takbeerat, praising God by saying “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great”.

It is customary to eat something sweet prior to the prayer such as date-filled biscuits known as maamoul.

During the Eid celebration, Muslims greet each other by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’, which is Arabic for “Blessed Eid”. As it comes after a month of fasting, sweet dishes and foods are often prepared and consumed during the celebration.

Muslims typically decorate their homes, and are also encouraged to forgive each other and seek forgiveness. In countries with large Muslim populations, it is normally a public holiday with most schools and businesses closed for the day. Practices differ by country and region.

Eid is a public holiday in India. The holiday begins after the sighting of the new moon on Chand Raat. On that evening, people head to markets to finish their shopping for Eid, for clothing and gifts, and begin preparing their food for the next day.

Traditional Eid food often includes biriyani, sheer khurma, and sivayyan, a dish of fine, toasted sweet vermicelli noodles with milk and dried fruit, among other regionally-specific dishes.

Women and girls also put henna on each others’ hands. In the following morning, Muslims go to their local mosque or Eidgah for Eid Namaz and give Eid zakat before returning home. Afterwards, children are given Eidi (cash gifts) and friends and relatives visit each other’s homes to eat and celebrate.

There are two Eids celebrated in the year: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Adha, or “feast of the sacrifice,” celebrated this year from July 9-10, marks the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son to Allah. In Christianity and Judaism, this is told as the story of Abraham and his son Isaac.

Eid al-Fitr marks the first day on which Muslims return to their regular lifestyles and stop the daytime fasting required during the holy month of Ramadan.

One of the traditions of Eid includes donating charity, called zakat, one of the pillars of Islam. Muslims are obliged to pay zakat yearly toward feeding and helping those in need.

Ahead of the day of Eid, before the morning prayer at the latest, there’s a special charity required called zakat al-Fitr. The exact amount differs according to the state of the economy. The donations help people celebrate Eid no matter their financial situation.

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Published on: Sunday, May 01, 2022, 03:41 PM IST

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