Eid ul-Fitr – What You Didn’t Know

Written by Ahmed Mulindwa

I was having a conversation with my friend who asked me what Eid ul-Fitr is all about. I explained to him what this festival means and also thought that some readers of the Uganda Citizen might be interested hence this piece.

Eid ul-Fitr or Id-Ul-Fitr sometimes abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid’ is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiá¹­r’ means “to break the fast” so symbolizes the breaking of the Ramadan fasting period.

Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims after the day Ramadan ends, and is verified by the sighting of the crescent moon. On Eid day Muslims are advised to donate items or give money to the poor and sometimes mosques provide food for anyone that comes for prayers. Congregational eating at mosques is very crucial as it symbolizes sharing and brotherhood.

On Eid day Muslims wake up early, take ablution (Ghusl’) and perform their first prayers before they attend the main congregational prayers at the mosques. Believers are advised to wear their best clothes and perfumes (men) and if possible take a different route to and from the mosque. Muslims believe that on this day angels from heaven line-up along the routes to mosques and bless those going to attend the prayers. Hence it is advisable to take different routes on the way to and from the mosque.

The congregational prayer is generally short and is followed by a sermon (khuá¹­ba’). Muslims greet and embrace each other with hugs in a spirit of peace and love after praying. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH ) advised Muslims to make visits to the homes of relatives and friends as well as the lonely or the sick in hospitals.

Generally Eid ul-Fitr is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, peace of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. It is a time for making amends and share with those in need but most importantly thanking Allah for giving Muslims the health and the strength to fast in the holy month of Ramadan.

NB. Peace Be Upon Him’ (PBUH) – this phrase is used whenever prophet Muhammad’s name is mentioned as a sign of respect and devotion.