Eid Al-Fitr: A Time for Celebration

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Every year, Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan. This celebration is the most festive of the Eids, and takes place over three days. Preparing for Eid means wearing your nicest clothes and indulging in various festivities. Although celebrations differ based on culture, the significance of this holiday remains constant across borders. Here are four fascinating festivities that are typically celebrated on Eid Al-Fitr!

  1. Festive Wear: Dress your Best!

Wearing your finest, most ornamental clothing is common on Eid Al-Fitr. For example, in the Middle East and other Islamic states, women generally wear long gowns or embellished abayas, while in Southeast Asia, women generally wear salwar kameez. It is also typical for western or modern Muslims to wear formal western attire. Alternatively, men either wear thawab, a festive pant suit, or formal western clothes.

  1. Common Festivities: Eat, Laugh, and Dance

During this celebratory time, Muslims gather for parties during the day and night. Typically large feasts are arranged where family and friends come and indulge in their country’s cultural cuisine. If you travelling abroad in a predominantly Muslim country, you may see festive lights and ornaments around the city. It is common to give gifts to those observing Eid, so, if you work with Muslim counterparts, a box of dates is a nice gesture. Additionally, prayers are often arranged and friends and family commonly pray together. After dinner, friends and family have a good time, chat, and enjoy the feast. For example, Chaand raat, or “night of the moon,” an Urdu phrase coined in the Indian subcontinent, includes dancing, cultural foods, and henna hand art.

  1. Charity: Giving back

Giving back is a part of the celebration! During Ramadan, Zakat, or giving charity to the less fortunate is an important part of the holiday. These practices are further encouraged on Eid Al-Fitr by giving both food and money to underserved communities. Although it is typical to indulge with friends and family, giving to those who cannot indulge is recommended and remains a large part of observing the Muslim faith. When participating in an Eid celebration with Muslim friends, it is also common for adults to give children Eidi, or ‘goodwill’ money as a part of celebrating.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

The Power of Storytelling: Creating a New Future for American Muslims

ap-american-muslims-trump-1-jt-161114_31x13_1600The Muslim American storytellers of the 21st century need to mine our rich Islamic and American identity and history to tell new stories that will benefit and add to the ever-growing multicultural mosaic that is America.

By Wajahat Ali

In 7th-century Arabia, the storyteller was valued more than the swordsman. The audience sat on the floor surrounding the gifted orator as he captivated the eager listeners with beautiful poetry narrating their history. In the 21st century, the art form may have evolved to include motion pictures, TV shows, theater productions, novels, and standup comedy, but they all serve the same function: storytelling.

Ideas and principles are most effectively communicated and transmitted when they are couched in a narrative. Stories, whether they concern the etiquette and biography of prophets or the trials and tribulations of America’s founding fathers, inform and influence a cultural citizenry of its values and identity.

Similarly, the story of a biracial man with an Arabic name and a Kenyan father elected to the highest office in the land reminds the world that indeed America can live up to its cherished principles of freedom and racial equality, and her citizens are capable of reflecting a magnanimous and egalitarian spirit bereft of prejudice.

If a person were to read these stories comprising the core values of Islamic and American history, one would assume their respective cultural fabrics resemble a generous, messy, lively, colorful mosaic perpetually adding and experimenting with new colors, styles, and hues to beautify its narrative.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS 

Egyptian Christians, Muslims share Ramadan meals despite Islamist violence

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CAIRO (Reuters) – In a display of communal solidarity defying the sectarian violence of Islamist militants, Egyptian Christians in Cairo organize daily meals for Muslim neighbors who must fast from dawn to dusk during their holy month of Ramadan.

Such intercommunal meals are held every year in Egypt, whose Copts are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they took on more resonance this year after a spate of Islamic State attacks on Copts meant to stoke sectarian divisions.

Dawoud Riyad, a middle-aged Christian man, set up tables in a street near his Cairo home last week, serving free home-cooked meals to hungry passersby when it was time for them to break their fast for the Iftar evening meal.

“They invited me and my kids, and I was surprised. They laid the table out on the street with no difference between sheikhs, Christians or Muslims – they pulled everyone to the table to break their fast,” said Tarek Ali, a Muslim resident.

Several Christian families in Riyad’s area pitch in daily to provide the food and drink in what he calls an effort to unite people of different faiths during a holy time of year. Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 92 million people.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BUSINESS INSIDER 

CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, JEWS BREAK BREAD IN INTERFAITH MOROCCO INITIATIVE

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When Moroccan students got together to explore the rich cultural legacy the Jewish community contributed to the North African country, they named their association Mimouna, the name of a Moroccan Jewish tradition which marks the end of Passover with inviting Muslim neighbors for shared meals.

They never guessed they’d end up creating such meals themselves.

Together with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and Jeunesse Chabad Maroc the students provided 1,500 needy Muslim families with meals in Marrakesh to help them celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The collaboration also included a festive interfaith dinner at the Slat al Azama synagogue in the Jewish quarter of Marrakech.

IFCJ Vice president Yael Eckstein was present at the event and stated that, since WWII, Morocco had set an example among North African societies for its treatment of Jews. She said she is honored to stand with the people of Morocco.

This is not the only example of the children of Abraham coming together around the dinner table this time of year.

In Cairo, Copts, who comprise the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, had set up tables outside their homes and invited Christians and Muslims alike to enjoy a meal as the sun sets and fasting Muslims are able to eat and drink.

Dawoud Riyad, who is Coptic, set up the tables near his Cairo home and invited Tarek Ali, a local resident, to celebrate together.

“They invited me and my kinds, and I was surprised”, said Ali, “with no difference between sheikhs, Christians, or Muslims.”

“We’re all brothers and friends”, said Riyad and pointed to another neighbor, “I’ve raised this man’s son (alongside my own son) and he’s Muslim.”