Eid al-Fitr: Celebrating the Breaking of the Fast

Published: November 5, 2005

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Eid al-Fitr – “celebration of the breaking of the fast” – marks the end of the month of Ramadan in the Muslim world, the month of fasting and reflection, one of the five pillars of Islam. The Eid holiday is generally marked by celebration, family gatherings and gift giving.

Today, we are pleased to share a compilation of news stories on celebrations of the Eid in Saudi Arabia and in the United States.

We wish you a blessed celebration — Eid Mubarak.

Eid Marked With Fervor
P.K. Abdul Ghafour, M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan & K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News

JEDDAH/RIYADH, 4 November 2005 — Muslims across the Kingdom celebrated Eid Al-Fitr yesterday with a variety of cultural and recreational programs while imams leading Eid prayers emphasized the need for strengthening Muslim unity.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and senior officials took part in Eid prayers held at the Grand Mosque in Makkah along with nearly two million faithful who included foreign pilgrims.

The large mosque complex and its vast courtyards overflowed with worshippers and thousands joined the prayer standing in nearby streets and pathways. Authorities deployed a large number of security personnel to control the crowd.

In his Eid sermon, Dr. Saleh Bin-Humaid, chairman of the Shoura Council and one of the mosque’s imams, called upon Muslims to stand united in the face of growing challenges.

“Muslims are divided at a time when they must unify their ranks to confront major challenges and threats,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted him as saying.

“Reform and change will come only from within, most importantly from the mind,” Dr. Bin-Humaid said.

He emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue and objective criticism, saying they are some of the noble human values. “World civilizations were the result of positive interactions of individuals and societies dealing with various issues,” he explained.

Bin-Humaid called upon scholars and thinkers to shun intellectual tyranny, saying dialogues must aim to achieve higher interests of the religion, society and state.

Citizens and expatriates across Saudi Arabia enthusiastically participated in the congregational prayers. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in Eid prayers offered at open grounds and mosques in many parts of the Kingdom.

Riyadh Deputy Governor Prince Sattam, who received and exchanged Eid greetings with a large number of princes, ministers, scholars and high-ranking government officials in the capital, offered prayers at the Dira Eid Ground.

In his address to some 30,000 worshippers, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh invoked the blessings of Allah on those who had observed the fast during the holy month of Ramadan and hoped that they would carry forward the spirit of fasting, which they had imbibed during the period.

The mufti reminded the faithful not to forget the plight of their unfortunate brethren amid the festivities.

Expatriates from Pakistan and India offered special prayers for the victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake that brought about widespread destruction of life and property. “After the Eid prayers, we offered prayers especially for the quake victims,” said Shaharyar Abdul Raza, a Pakistani construction supervisor in Jeddah. In the wake of the earthquake, members of the expatriate community offered regular prayers and collected donations in cash and kind for the victims under the guidance of the Pakistani diplomatic missions in Riyadh and Jeddah.

“I felt very happy, while receiving guests, embracing them and exchanging greetings. We also gave charity before prayers,” said Abdul Hafeez Khan Jamil, an expatriate who works at ICICI Bank, at a Telemony center of the Arab National Bank.

Major roads and streets in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam presented a near-deserted look toward the afternoon, unlike during the month of Ramadan when shopping malls were filled with shoppers.

Hotels in Makkah and Madinah were full with pilgrims. Most of the five-star and fourstar hotels said they had a good Ramadan month with guests coming from overseas and elsewhere in the Kingdom. Families visiting the major cities spent the time at amusement parks for the sake of children. Parks and picnic spots also attracted families wishing to spend quiet evenings during the Eid holidays.

In Jeddah, families headed toward the Corniche, some of them spending the whole night in tents. Some of the Corniche roads were jammed with traffic. Similar was the case with the roads leading to the Half Moon Bay in the Eastern Province.

The Riyadh Zoo remains open for visitors.

All hospitals across the Kingdom are open to enable visitors to meet with their friends and relatives and exchange Eid greetings.

While some expatriates had gone home on vacation, those who stayed behind spent the time in between prayers exchanging family visits or watching television.

Source: Arab News

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