The Id prayer, known as Salat al-Eid, is obligatory for men and women and performed in a congregation.
Id-ul-Fitr is the festival that marks the end of the month-long fasting of Ramadan. It is determined by the first sighting of the new crescent moon, which also marks the start of the new month of Shawaal. There are two Ids every year. Id-ul-Fitr in Arabic means the “festival of breaking the fast” whereas Id-ul-Adha, which takes place two months later, coincides with the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It is also known as the “sacrifice feast” and honours Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael, as an act of submission to God’s command.
Ramadan commemorates the time when Koran was first revealed to Prophet Mohammad through the angel Gabriel. The revelation was the final link in the chain of Divine communication, which includes the Commandments of Moses, the Psalms of David, the Scrolls of Abraham and the Gospel of Jesus.
The Id prayer, known as Salat al-Eid, is obligatory for men and women and performed in a congregation. The greeting “Id Mubarak”is Arabic for blessed Id. Having spent the month in fasting, prayers and self-restraint, the joys of Id include simple pleasures like bonding with friends and family. The night preceding the Id is the chaand raat, or the night of the moon. It is marked by vigorous festivities, particularly among girls, who get their hands, arms and legs patterned in henna.
Everywhere you have the glowing incense and fragrant perfumes. The grandees too do not want to be left behind as their faces glow with hennaed beards and kohled eyes. Homes and food plazas offer a vast range of culinary delights. Every country has its own traditional Id food that reflects its culture. One of the popular servings of the Indian subcontinent is sheer khurma, a dish of fine, toasted vermicelli noodles dipped in creamy milk and richly flavoured with exotic dry fruits
While food is important on Id, there are also religious obligations connected to the festival. Muslims are also required to give to charity by way of fitra — an obligatory charity. Every Muslim is obliged to give fitra before proceeding for Id prayer so that the poor can also participate in the celebrations. The gesture is intended to level any social distinction in the celebration of Id. The Koran is profuse about charity: “By no means shall you attain righteousness, unless you give of that which you love”(3:92).
Families also visit the graves of their family members, clean the grave sites and pray that their loved ones’ souls find peace. Id is an occasion for introspection and self-discipline so that we renew the essential message of brotherhood, patience, sharing and compassion.