On the night of July 27, Filipino Muslims once again scanned the skies for the sighting of the crescent moon.
The new moon marked the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the start of Shawwal, the 10th month of their lunar calendar Hijrah.
Muslims worldwide celebrate the 1st day of Shawwal as Eid Al-Fitr or the Feast of Breaking the Fast. As the name suggests, this celebrates the conclusion of the month-long fasting from sunrise to sunset.
More than a bountiful celebration, however, Eid Al-Fitr stands for something deeper for most Muslims.
I asked some of my Muslim friends for their perspectives on Eid and what I got were interesting reflections.
Here are four of them:
1) Celebrating Allah’s grace
Ramadan is fasting of the mind and the heart. Muslims not only refrain from food and drinks but more importantly, from bad acts and thoughts. It is an entire month of reflecting and going deeper to the core of Islam.
Muslims experience Ramadan as a month of training to be closer to Allah’s will. In the process, they experience a lot of difficulties and challenges, not only resisting the temptation to eat and drink, but the temptation to do evil acts as well.
Hence, Eid is a celebration of Allah’s grace for successfully nurturing them throughout the 29 or 30 days (depending on the lunar activity of the year). Eid is a time of thanksgiving for the revelations of Allah to Muslims during Ramadan.
2) Renewing journeys
Eid also marks the beginning of a new year’s journey. Since Ramadan was a training month, Eid is a send-off of sorts for Muslims.
My friend said the Quran commands Muslims to do the Zakat or alms-giving before offering their Eid prayers. This is a concrete way of showing generosity to give back in exchange for what Allah has given.
Eid is also an opportunity for Muslims to be better persons. It is a chance for them to renew and live out their commitments to Allah.
3) Healing social wounds
Islam, as most Abrahamic religions are, is very communal. Every celebration always has a deep social aspect attached to it. During Eid, communities come together to celebrate the success of Ramadan.
One of my friends even said that Eid is a time when he tries to heal relationships within his social circles. It is the time when he apologizes to people he has wronged and when he forgives those who have wronged him.
Although he practices forgiveness all year round, he said it’s more special when it’s Eid because of the spiritual renewal from Ramadan.
4) Bringing families together
Lastly, Eid brings families together. It is a special time for families to celebrate the goodness of Allah in their lives, as well as to renew their Islamic faith.
Different countries have various ways of celebrating Eid. The common thing among these celebrations, however, is that they are all done with the family.
In Brunei, for example, they go to the houses of their relatives to share their experiences of Ramadan and to show their love for each other. A Muslim’s faith is strengthened by his or her family’s support, and coming together every Eid is a way of thanking Allah for the gift of family.
For Muslims who have conflicts with their families due to their reversion, the communities they belong to become their immediate families.
Eid and beyond
More than a feast, Eid Al-Fitr is a spiritual thanksgiving. It is a celebration of Muslims’ commitments to live out the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. It’s also a time for Muslims to experience the blessings of belonging to families and communities.
August 8 will be a special time for Muslims worldwide for yet another Ramadan would have successfully passed.
I am one with my Muslim brothers and sisters as they celebrate the end of the holy month. Eid Mubarak! – Rappler.com
Aside from being a journalist for Rappler, David Lozada is a Philippine focal point of the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Network, the official platform of the Committee on ASEAN Youth Cooperation. He was formerly an international human rights ambassador for Each One, Teach One (EOTO) World.