Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim readers! May God bless you and keep you in His protection.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Eid holiday: Eid marks the end of the month of Ramadhan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Eid for Muslims is like Christmas for Christians – it is a joyous and festive occasion in which families get together and celebrate. It is common for extended family members and neighbors to visit each other, and it is Islamically highly recommended that one wear new clothes and perfume on Eid, and one should clean the house and burn bakhoor (incense) for barakah (blessings). Children are often given money from their adult relatives, and malls in Muslim countries are open 24 hours in order to accommodate the overwhelming crowds.
Understandably, many Muslim students studying here in the US feel down, lonely, and homesick during Eid as they are alone in a new country in which hardly anyone even knows what Eid is, much less celebrates it! Just imagine if you were in another country over the Christmas season yet no one celebrated Christmas! I certainly know that I, as a former Christian, would find it difficult to spend Christmas without seeing my family, or not seeing all the bustling activity, excitement, and festiveness of the Christmas season.
Alhamdilulah, the Muslim Student Association and the Saudi Club here at my university are very active and have arranged an Eid dinner for the Muslims associated with the university. Several of my students actually invited me to go, but I decided not to as I don’t really want to put myself in the spotlight for potential gheeba (gossip) and rumors. I’ve experienced more than enough of that from students to last a lifetime, and would prefer to keep a low profile. I also heard that some of the mosques around here organized a banquet for tonight and were expecting close to 2,000 people! I was nearly speechless!! I had NO idea there were even 200 Muslims here, let alone 2,000! Indeed, Eid is certainly just like Christmas, as during Christmas the churches are usually packed with huge numbers of people that the regular attendees have never seen before!
InshAllah, everyone is having beautiful and blessed Eid night, and I hope that the lessons learned and improvements made during the month of Ramadhan will not be forgotten, but will instead be strengthened and built upon in the coming days and months.
After visiting sister Jnana’s blog site, I realized that I forgot to add a very important element of Eid – reflecting on the close of the month of Ramadhan through a dua (given to us from Prophet’s Muhammad’s great-grandson) bidding farewell to the holy month: http://www.duas.org/sajjadiya/s45.htm! I would strongly encourage everyone to read it as you reflect on the lessons learned and the purifying struggles and hardships faced this past Ramadhan.