Eid al-Fitr is a holy festival in the Islamic Calendar celebrated by Muslims all over the world. It symbolizes the end of the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the month of fasting observed by Muslims. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated as also known as the ‘festival of breaking of the fast’.
It falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal and fasting is strictly prohibited on this day. It is celebrated as a conclusion to the 29 or 30 days of fasting that Muslims observe throughout Ramadan from dawn to sunset.
- Before The Origin of Eid al-Fitr
Before Islam arrived in the Arab countries, a festival similar to Eid was celebrated in the Arab world. It was called yawn al-sabasab and yawn al-sab’. Mentions of some other festivals can also be found. People of Israel also had similar festivals but these were celebrated to pay respect and tribute to certain dates in history. This evidence can be found with the help of Old Testament and some other scriptures.
- The History of Eid al-Fitr
This day was originated by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is believed in Islamic tradition that in the year 610 A.D., while Prophet Muhammad was meditating in Mount Hira, angel Jibril appeared in a vision on a night during the month of Ramadan. The angel declared Prophet Muhammad to be the messenger of God.
Angel Jibril embraced him three times and that is when Prophet Muhammad learned the words of God that the angel had recited to him. Prophet Muhammad’s age was 40 years at that time. Throughout the next 23 years Angel Jibril visited him many times and taught him the holy verses, these were actually the code of conduct that Allah wanted his people to follow. These verses were later compiled in the form of the holy Qur’an, the most sacred book for all Muslims.
- The Ritual of Fasting throughout the month of Ramadan
It is believed that the holy verses were revealed to Prophet Muhammad throughout the month of Ramadan. So to commemorate this month and pay respect to Allah for gifting all the true knowledge, the prophet wanted his followers, the followers of Islam to fast throughout the month of Ramadan. To end this month of non-indulgence, Eid al-Fitr was observed with grand celebrations and festivities. This is how Eid al-Fitr was created and it is a celebration of three days that symbolizes the end of Ramadan, the ninth month and the beginning of Shawwal, the tenth month. This festival is celebrated to promote peace and reinforce the feelings of brotherhood.
- Prophet Muhammad’s arrival in Madinah
According to certain traditions, Eid al-Fitr was initiated in Madinah when Prophet Muhammad migrated to Madinah from Mecca. As noted by Anas:
As Prophet Muhammad came to city of Madinah, he saw some people celebrating two days in which they amused and entertained themselves. When he asked about these festivities, the people informed him that these days were celebrations were for the days of Jahilliyah. It is at this time that Prophet Muhammad told them that the Almighty God had sent them two days of holidays called Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, that are far better than what they celebrate.
- Traditions of celebrating Eid al-Fitr
According to ancient traditions all Muslim are supposed to fast each and every day from dawn to sunset throughout the month of Ramadan. Fasting involves refraining from all things one desires from food to drinks. These days are about paying respect to Allah and thus renouncing all that you desire intensely. Even children are taught to observe fasting throughout the month of Ramdan and then feast on the day of Eid al-Fitr. Celebrations of Eid al-Fitr and observing the month of Ramadan are inter-twined because one symbolizes the month of fasting and the other symbolizes the end of fasting and beginning of the celebrations.