By Dembo Kanteh, Direct Support Professional II & Member of VOAWW's Floyd Committee. Dembo is pictured here with longtime VOAWW Disability Services client Ron Peters.
Islam recognizes and celebrates two Eids. Eid al fitr and Eid al adha. Eid literally means a festival or feast in Arabic.
Eid al fitr is the lesser one and is also know as the 'feast of breaking the fast' and is celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan.
Eid al adha is the most important festival as it remembers prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son when ordered to so by Allah (God).
Eid al Eid: This Eid marks the end of Ramadan. It is a special three day festival. People greet each other with "Eid Mubarak" meaning "Blessed Eid" and hugging each other. The first day of three days begins with the sighting of the new moon and observes as a public holiday in Muslim countries. Muslims attend prayers in the morning and visit loved ones and neighbors. The head of a family gives Zakat al fitr (charity for the poor) for a member of the family. This is $7 per person in the US. Example: a family of 6 people, should give $42 to a poor person within or outside your community.
Ramadan: Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Ramadan is 29 or 30 days which depends on the lunar month. Islam has five pillars, and fasting (Ramadan) is the fourth pillar of Islam. Fasting is done by abstaining from pleasures like smoking, drinking and sexual intercourse between sunrise to sunset.
Muslims aim to grow spiritually and get closer to Allah (God). Charity is highly recommended during the month of Ramadan. Islam makes it compulsory to give 2.5% of savings or wealth annually. This is normally done during the month of Ramadan. This is why Muslims give a lot of charity in month of Ramadan. Zakat (charity to the poor) is also a pillar in Islam.
Eid al adha: This is the more important Eid. It is "the feast of sacrifice". Eid al adha tells the story of how God commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail as a test of faith. Ibrahim wants to follow his command, so Allah intervenes and a ram is sacrificed in place of Ismail. Muslims slaughter an animal to remember Ibrahim's sacrifice and remind themselves of the need to submit to the will of God. The manner of celebration is the same as Eid al fitr.
On behalf of the Muslims in VOA I would like to give special thanks to the Management of VOA for recognizing Eids as a holiday. VOA leads and others follow.