Name of Questioner: Olivia
Date: 1-12-2016 04:09:57 PM
Consultant: Ask About Islam Editorial Staff
What do Muslims celebrate?
Dear questioner, thank you very much for your important question.
In Islam, celebration is a form of thanking Allah, the One True God. Celebration, in Islam, is merry-making, going out to parties, visiting and meeting friends and relatives and having clean fun, and also a form of physical and spiritual purification.
Islamic celebrations include taking a bath, putting on clean or new clothes, wearing perfume and going to the mosque or a place of congregation for salah (prayer), a form of prescribed prayers. The Islamic celebration of `eid is also a day when children and adults may get new clothes and gifts.
The dates and days of celebration are set according to the Islamic calendar.
Prescribed Salah (Prayers) and the Time Table
The prayer is a form of worship, a celebration of the holiness, praise and glorification of Allah and the renewal of dedication of oneself to Him. Every adult Muslim is required to perform prayer five times a day.
The literal meaning of these two words is 'the day of congregation‘, which is Friday. Muslims gather in the masjid (mosque) for a khutbah (sermon or speech) followed by Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) led by an Imam. After the prayer, people meet each other in the masjid and may visit relatives and friends.
In Islam, there is no Sabbath, therefore, there is no mandatory closing of businesses on Friday except for the duration of congregational services. However, in a majority of Muslim countries, Friday is the weekly holiday, sometimes combined with Thursday or Saturday. In the West, Muslims take a couple of hours from their jobs or businesses to go to the mosque on Friday. The Friday Prayer, held in the early afternoon, lasts less than an hour in general.
Ramadan: The Month of Fasting
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is known as the month of fasting. During Ramadan Muslims get up before dawn, 2-3 hours before sunrise, and eat a pre-dawn meal. There is no eating, drinking, or sexual activity between dawn and sunset. In addition, Muslims must implement the moral code of Islam very strictly; the violation thereof nullifies their fast. During the night Muslims eat, drink (intoxicants are forbidden) and carry on normally.
The first day of the month following Ramadan is `Eid al-Fitr (`Eid of Breaking the Fast). This is the celebration of fast-breaking. Muslims watch the western horizon immediately after sunset on the 29th day of Ramadan for the crescent. If the crescent is sighted, it is the first day of the new month and beginning of `Eid day. If the crescent is not sighted within ½ an hour after sunset on the 29th day of Ramadan the Muslims complete 30 days of fasting. Either way, the 1st of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar is ‘Eid al-Fitr.
On `Eid day, Muslims gather in a larger facility than the neighborhood masjid and join in Salat Al-‘Eid which is composed of salah followed by an address by the Imam (leader). This is a major holiday for the Muslims. On this day, they visit many relatives and friends and give gifts to the children.
`Eid is, first, a day of thanks to Allah, and next, a gathering of families and friends. All financially able Muslims are required to give Sadaqat Al-Fitr, a form of charity, on behalf of each and every person of the family, including newborns, to the poor and needy during the Ramadan but before the `Eid Prayers.
This is the celebration of sacrifice which comes two months and ten days after `Eid Al-Fitr. Muslims celebrate the sacrifice of the lamb in place of Ishmael (Isma`il) by his father, Abraham. On this day, after Salat Al-`Eid (the prescribed `Eid Prayers), Muslims sacrifice an animal: a ram, goat, sheep, cow or camel. The meat is divided into three parts: one part is distributed among the poor and needy, one part is distributed among relatives and friends and one part is used by the family.
This is also a major holiday for Muslims to visit each other and give gifts to the children. `Eid Al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and again depends upon the crescent sighting for the first of the month. For those people who have gone to Makkah for Hajj (the pilgrimage), staying in the Plain of Arafat on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah is the most important event. However, for those not performing Hajj, `Eid Al-Adha is the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah and one of the two most important celebrations of the year.
In the Arabian Peninsula the calendar follows the local crescent sighting criterion, whereas in the U.S., the local crescent sighting is used for the determination of dates. `Eid Al-Adha may be celebrated for four days from the 10th to the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.
Source: Taken from iiie.net by Dr. M. Amir Ali