26 August 2011

Nigeria: End of Ramadan And Eid Il-Fitr Islamic Holiday


The end of Ramadan is marked by all Muslims going to Morning Prayer services and then the Islamic Holiday Eid il-Fitr begins.

The Night Preceding Eid il-Fitr

The night before Eid il-Fitr is regarded as a very blessed night and Muslims believe that it should be spent in nafl (voluntary) Salat (prayers) and worship. There will be no Taraweeh prayers on this last night of Ramadan, but a devout Muslim will spend the night in prayer, remembrance of Allah and reading the Holy Qur'an.

Before the Eid il-Fitr salat, Muslims will be sure to pay the "Sadakah Al-Fitr." This is money due to the poor and the needy. Every Muslim must pay this, even the poor. Sadakah ul-Fitr is a fairly small amount of money equal to 1.75 kilograms of wheat for every person in the family.

On this topic, Ibn 'Umar said: "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, made zakat ul-Fitr obligatory for the Muslims - slave and free, male and female, young and old, being a sa' of dates or a sa' of barley. He commanded that it be paid before people went out to the prayer." (Muwatta, Book 17, 52)

Preparing to go to Eid il Fitr Salat

The morning of Eid al-Fitr, it is considered sunnah (consistent with the ways of the prophet) to perform certain acts in preparation of thanking Allah for a blessed Ramadan.

These acts include:

•Wake up early in the morning and take a bath.

•Brush the teeth with a Miswak or a toothbrush.

•Wear the best available clothes.

•Wear perfume (men only.)

•Eat a few dates before the Eid prayer.

•Recite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the 'Eid prayer: "Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd."

Eid el-Fitr Salat (Prayers)

The Eid prayers should be performed in an open field or area if possible. It is not recommended to conduct Eid prayers in every single mosque. It is said to be a time for Muslims to celebrate Eid together in large gatherings. If a large field or park is not available, then a large mosque will suffice.

The Eid prayer is mandatory for every male Muslim. Muslim women must attend Eid prayers if there are no emergency situations in the home, such as issues involving small children or sick and elderly parents that require assistance or tending. The Eid prayer should be attended and prior to the prayer takbir should be recited:"Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd."

When not reciting the takbir (above), saying zikr (remembrance of Allah) is recommended. No nafl salat (voluntary prayers) are recited in the home prior to or after the salat; Muslims may perform nafl salat in the home after returning from the Eid prayers.

The Eid prayer is distinct from other Muslim prayers. The Imam will lead the salat (prayers) and there will be six sets of takbirs (Allah Akbar). Three of the takbirs will be in the beginning of the salat. After each takbir, the hands are raised to the ears. At the beginning of the second rakat, after the Imam recites the Fatiha and surah from the Qur'an, an additional three takbirs are recited.

The Eid Prayer Khutbah (Sermon)

The Khutbah itself is regarded as an inspirational event and it involves praising Allah. Muslims should listen intently and reverently to what the Imam has to say. It is regarded as a time to remember Allah's blessings and to be thankful to be present in such an assembly. Muslims should not leave the Eid prayer early hoping to avoid the crowds; they should stay until after the final dua is said; then, it's customary to greet each other with a congratulations or "Ramadan Mubarak."

Eid-il-Fitr celebrations begin at the end of Ramadan. Islamic holidays and celebrations are unlike Christian or Jewish celebrations. In a non-Islamic situation, there may be partying, dancing, music and singing - this is not so in a Muslim community. Muslims will visit friends and relatives, and then praise Allah for His bounty at the end of Ramadan. It is normal for Muslim families to make the rounds, visiting each home for a brief period of time. It is considered inappropriate to refuse food or drinks (halal) when offered.

Wishing a blessed Eid-il-Fitr to the whole Islamic Ummah.

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