Eid al-Fitr: A festival of unity and thanksgiving

Heraa Hashmi
June 25, 2017

Today as the first rays of sunlight appeared, Muslims in many countries wake for Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast. It marks the end of Ramadan, a month in which every Muslim (who is able to) fasts from food and water from dawn to dusk. The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, was believed to have been revealed during this month.

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Eid al-Fitr is one of two annual festivals in Islam, different from Eid al-Adha, oft used interchangeably due to the similar names. This Eid, Eid al-Fitr, celebrates the completion of Ramadan, while Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, marks the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah.

The exact date of Eid al-Fitr is difficult to predict as it’s dependent on the Islamic lunar-based calendar. The dates are decided according to the phases of the moon so it moves 10 to 11 days back each year in respect to the solar-based Gregorian calendar. Eid al-Fitr is observed when the new moon is sighted in the region, signifying the end of the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, and the start of the 10th month, Shawwal. This year it is on the 25th of June, but many countries around the world will be celebrating it on the 26th or 27th.

The significance of Eid al-Fitr is primarily spiritual. The month of Ramadan is seen as the holiest month of the year, culminating in Eid. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever spends the nights of Ramadaan in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven” (Sahih Muslim and Bukhari).

Muslims thank Allah for enabling them the health and capacity to fast and worship throughout the month. It is not a celebration of the end of Ramadan, but rather of the happiness of remaining steadfast through a blessed time. In fact, the day of Eid al-Fitr is one of the only days of the year on which fasting is prohibited, as the day is reserved for celebration. Many Muslims feel sorrow at the passing of Ramadan, counting the days until the next year arrives.

Eid al-Fitr is observed a public holiday in many Muslim countries, with school and work taking vacation days. In non-Muslim majority countries, this is not the case, but many employers and schools will make allowances for Muslims to take time off for their celebration.

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by spending time with loved ones and contributing to the community. It is obligatory upon Muslims, provided they are financially stable, to begin the day by paying Zakat al-Fitr (a special alms given at the end of Ramadan) to the poor and needy so they may have the means to celebrate the day along with others. Zakat al-Fitr is a special form of charity, given in addition to the annual zakat of 2.5% of one’s economic surplus. Charity is a vital aspect of Islam as one of its pillars. If one is not financially able to give zakat, they are eligible as a recipient instead.

Once the religious duty is fulfilled, Muslims gather to offer Eid Prayer, a special prayer only done twice a year. The prayer is usually offered early in the morning. Muslims greet each other by saying “Eid Mubarak, translated as “have a blessed Eid”.

The prayer is followed by a short sermon to remind people of the blessings of God, to reflect on the holy month that’s been completed. While the entire month was a time of spirituality and developing good habits, the day of Eid marks the beginning of a goal to maintain those habits throughout the year.

After the prayer, there are other traditions of Eid, such as wearing one’s best clothes and visiting family and friends. Sweets are exchanged, women and children adorn their hands with mehendi, and luncheons and dinners are often held with a spread of a variety of food. Kids are given Eidi, gifts of money, from the elders in the community. In Ramadan, one of the recommended ways to break fast is with the community, and this carries into the Eid celebrations. Muslims are encouraged to share meals with their neighbors, coworkers, and classmates.

Celebrations last long into the night and even throughout the week. It’s seen as a time of unity and giving thanks to Allah (God) for enabling them to complete the month of spiritual cleansing, forgiveness, and compassion.

Heraa Hashmi

The author, Heraa Hashmi, is a 19 year old University student at Boulder, Colorado. She’s studying Molecular Biology and is the president of Muslim Student Association. Recently she founded Muslims Condemn, a spreadsheet with over 5000 instances of Muslims condemning terrorism and is a part of the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, an initiative dedicated to tackling Islamophobia through education. This is her first article for coastaldigest.com

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News Network
September 29,2020

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Bengaluru, Sept 29: Slamming BJP MP Tejasvi Surya over his recent comments that Bengaluru has become the "epicentre of terror activities", former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday said the remark is a disgrace to the city, which "does not belong to militants".

The Janata Dal (Secular) leader further said that the statement was even an "insult to senior BJP leaders" and demanded an apology from the "concerned BJP leader".

"Some people having links with terrorist organisations were caught after the D J Halli incident. Our criticism must be against them... not the home of millions of people... Bengaluru does not belong to militants, it is ours... Bengaluru is our pride," Kumaraswamy's tweet in Kannada read.

He was referring to an incident of mob violence on August 11 when over 3,000 people went on a rampage, torching the residences of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy and his sister Jayanthi, besides D J Halli and K J Halli police stations in Bengaluru.

Without naming the BJP leader, he added, "The insult made by some commentators within the BJP that Bengaluru is a centre of terror activities is a disgrace to the city. I saw in media how CM B S Yeddyurappa struggled to justify such a statement, during a press conference on Monday. This slanderous statement is an insult to the senior BJP leaders as well."

A day after becoming the president of the of BJP's youth wing on September 26, Surya had said that Bengaluru has become an epicentre of terror activities and that he has urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to set up a permanent division of the National Investigation Agency.

The statement drew sharp criticism from the Opposition. Earlier, Congress' D K Shivakumar had asked the BJP to sack him from his new post.

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News Network
September 19,2020
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Yediyurappa

Bengaluru, Sept 19: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday said he expects directions from the BJP high command by "today or tomorrow" regarding the much awaited expansion of his cabinet.

Terming his Delhi trip as "successful", the Chief Minister reiterated that his desire was to complete the process before the monsoon session of the legislature from September 21, but everything will depend on what the high command decides.

"Regarding cabinet expansion I spoke to Nadda ji (BJP President J P Nadda) for about half-an-hour yesterday, he may speak to the Prime Minister and may give directions about the future course of action today itself," Yediyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi, he said, based on the high command's directions he will decide on the cabinet expansion.

The Chief Minister who is in New Delhi since Thursday afternoon had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several Union Ministers regarding issues concerning the development of the state.

Last night, he had met Nadda to discuss the cabinet expansion.

Responding to a question on how many will be inducted into the cabinet, Yediyurappa said, "we will have to see, based on the suggestions given by the Prime Minister and the national president, I will have to take the decision."

He said, "my desire is to complete the process before the session. So I expect they (high command) will let me know by today or tomorrow, let's see what decision they will take."

The monsoon session of the state legislature is scheduled from September 21 to 30.

Last night, Yediyurappa had even hinted at the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle, stating that it will depend on the directions from the Prime Minister and the national President.

Cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope for the 77-year old Yediyurappa, considering too many aspirants.

While several of the old guard are waiting for a chance to be inducted into the Ministry, those who defected from the Congress and JD(S) like A H Vishwanath, R Shankar and MTB Nagaraj, who are now BJP MLCs, are also aspiring for slots.

The cabinet currently has 28 members and six berths are still vacant.

Meanwhile, there are also strong speculations about the possible change in leadership in the future, considering Yediyurappa's age.

However, it has been rejected by senior party leaders like BJP state President Nalin Kumar Kateel and Minister R Ashoka among others.

As he returns to Bengaluru today, Yediyurappa also said that the Prime Minister and union ministers whom he met over the last two days have positively responded to the issues raised by him concerning the development of the state.

"I feel that this Delhi trip of mine has been very successful, from the Prime Minister to all the Ministers have positively responded to the requests that we had put forward for the development of Karnataka. I feel that they will take necessary steps in that direction soon," he said.

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News Network
September 22,2020

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Bengaluru, Sept 22: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the investigations into the communal riots that rocked Bengaluru in August and have registered two cases.

An NIA statement said it took over the investigation on Monday following an order from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asking the agency to probe two FIRs of arson and violence filed in connection with the incidents in Devarajeevana Halli and Kadugondana Halli police stations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The first case is registered on the basis of the FIR 195/2020 dated August 12 at Devarajeevana Halli police station while the second case is based on the FIR 229/2020 filed on August 12 at Kadugondana Halli police station.

On August 11 night, the NIA said, more than 1,000 people had gathered in front of the house of Congress MLA Naveen Srinivas Murthy (Pulakeshi Nagar constituency) at Kavalbyrasandra in Bengaluru protesting against a derogatory Facebook post about Prophet Mohammed by his nephew Naveen.

SDPI Karnataka Secretary Muzamil Pasha had earlier called a meeting and directed the members of SDPI and Popular Front to "instigate the mob and incite violence", the agency claimed.

"The mob went on rampage in Devarajeevana Halli, Kadugondana Halli and Pulakeshi Nagar area under Bengaluru City. They attacked Devarajeevana Halli and Kadugondana Halli police stations and vandalized the property of police stations. including government and private vehicles parked in the police stations," it said.

The mob also attacked the house of the MLA before attacking the police stations. The NIA team, headed by an IG-rank officer, is camping at Bengaluru in connection with the investigation of these cases, the statement added.

The Centre had earlier informed the Karnataka High Court that it would take over the case.

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