Sunday, October 5, 2008


Eid ul-Fitr or Id-ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr‎), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break the fast" (and can also mean "nature", from the word "fitrah"); and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated starting on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
Eid ul-Fitr is a three day celebration and is sometimes also known as the "Smaller Eid" (Arabic: العيد الصغير al-‘īdu ṣ-ṣaghīr‎) as compared to the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called the "Greater Eid" (Arabic: العيد الكبير al-‘īdu l-kabīr‎).
Muslims are commanded by the Qur'an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid[Qur'an 2:185 (Translated by Shakir)].

General Ritual
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Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Īd mubārak ("Blessed Eid") or ‘Īd sa‘īd ("Happy Eid"). In addition, many countries have their own greetings based on local language and traditions.
Typically, Muslims wake up early in the morning and have a small breakfast (as a sign of not being on a fast on that day) of preferably the date fruit, before attending a special Eid prayer (salah) that is performed in congregation at mosques or open areas like fields, squares etc. Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes (new if possible) to attend the Eid prayer. No adhan or iqama is to be pronounced for this Eid prayer, and it consists of only two raka'ahs. The Eid prayer is followed by the khutbah (sermon) and then a supplication (dua') asking for forgiveness, mercy and help for all living beings across the world. The khutbah also instructs Muslims as to the performance of rituals of Eid, such as the zakat.[1] It is then customary to embrace the persons sitting on either side of oneself, whilst greeting them. After the prayers, people also visit their relatives, friends and acquaintances and some people also pay visits to the graveyards (ziyarat al-qubur).

The Takbir and other Rituals
The Takbir is recited after confirmation that the moon of Shawwal is sighted on the eve of the last day of Ramadan. It continues until the start of the Eid prayer. Before the Eid prayer begins, every Muslim who is able must pay Zakat al-fitr,[3] an alms for the month of Ramadan. This equates to about 2 kg of a basic foodstuff (wheat, barley, dates, raisins, etc.), or its cash equivalent, and is typically collected at the mosque. This is distributed to needy local Muslims prior to the start of the Eid prayer. It can be given at any time during the month of Ramadan and is often given early, so the recipient can use it for Eid purchases. This is distinct from Zakat based on wealth, which must be paid to a worthy charity.

The Takbir consists of:
Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar
الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر
laa ilaaha illAllaah
لا إله إلا الله
Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar
الله أكبر الله أكبر
wa li-illaahil-hamd
ولله الحمد
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest,
There is no deity but God
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest
and to God goes all praise

Islamic tradition
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting of Ramadan. This has to do with the communal aspects of the fast, which expresses many of the basic values of the Muslim community. Fasting is believed by some scholars to extol fundamental distinctions, lauding the power of the spiritual realm, while acknowledging the subordination of the physical realm.
The Islamic tradition also associates events with the occasion. For example, on Eid al-Fitr, the angel Gabriel descended with white clothes for each of prophet Muhammad's grandsons.
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