Originally created 01/05/02

Islamic holiday explained



In this festive season we Americans are fortunate to celebrate and give thanks during our respective religious holidays. Muslims in Augusta observed the Islamic holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr on Dec. 16.

Eid-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking), the celebration at the end of the holy month Ramadan, is a joyous occasion similar in spirit to that of Christmas, Easter and Hanukkah.

It culminates a month-long commitment to patience, self-control, humanitarian consciousness and deepening one's inner spiritual awareness.

The day of Eid begins with Muslims, dressed in their finest clothes, attending morning prayer services at a Mosque with their family. At prayer, one can observe an atmosphere of peace and community as people come together without any deference to ethnicity or social status.

After the Eid prayer, there is a special sermon that addresses the lessons of Ramadan and how Muslims can apply what they have learned during the month - not only to better themselves, but also the world around them.

The sense of community is reinforced after the sermon when Muslims stand to greet one another with the hugs and say "Eid Mubarak" (blessed festival). To share the spirit of the occasion with others, Muslims give a special charitable donation to buy food, clothing and gifts for needy persons. The rest of the day is devoted to celebrating, feasting, exchanging gifts and visiting friends and family.

Because Eid is such a peaceful time for Muslims, it was disheartening that its only mention in The Chronicle was on Dec. 17 - a brief Associated Press piece on page 8A, headlined "Terrorism update." I am, however, thankful to The Chronicle for providing me this forum to expound on the true meaning of Eid...

Zameer Sheikh, Martinez, Ga.