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
A Very Happy E-Eid
Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Arab News
“..At this holiday time it’s easy to see how digital technology has changed our lives. For the past 48 hours, mobile telephones across the Kingdom were beeping non-stop as friends, relatives and business acquaintances sent out their best regards for Eid Al-Fitr..” [more]
Fireworks, Folk Dances Highlight of Eid Festivities
M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan & K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News
“..Spectacular fireworks, captivating folklore dances, orchestras led by well-known singers and other recreational programs marked Eid festivities across Saudi Arabia yesterday..” [more]
The Shifting Values of Eid
Tariq A. Al-Maeena, firstname.lastname@example.org
“..As the lights went out for the month of Ramadan this year and the dawn of a new Eid broke, there emerged a sense of renewed excitement and expectation within the residents across the land. Eid means a lot of things to a lot of people. And this year is no different. Among the elders, there is hopeful anticipation in view of the positive actions the government has been recently taking toward the welfare of its people. The steps taken so far by King Abdullah and his government in this respect have given many a people a reason to celebrate..” [more]
(US) Presidential Message on Eid al-Fitr
“Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a time of prayer, reflection, and fasting. It is the holiest month of the Muslim year. To celebrate this holiday, many Muslims gather in their homes and mosques to thank God for His blessings and His help in keeping the fast. Muslims also demonstrate their compassion by reaching out to the less fortunate and giving gifts of money or food to help those in need. This year, many American Muslims have reached out to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma and to those affected by the devastating earthquake in South Asia. Their contributions have been generous and reflect the important values shared by all Americans..” [more]
Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Laramie
“On the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, candy is a traditional gift for children in many cultures. A piñata is a candy-filled party game, so the fusion of Eid al-Fitr and the piñata for Wyoming’s culturally-diverse Muslim community was a natural one..” [more]
A Joyous Union at Ramadan’s End
“‘We just had 10 days of intense worship,’ said Riyad Shamma, 36, who flew in from Cincinnati. ‘Now, it’s time for us to rest, relax and enjoy time with family.’ For many Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is a chance to catch up with friends and loved ones. That certainly was the case yesterday, as hundreds of Muslims from across the region celebrated..” [more]
Eid al Fitr a Time of Celebration
“This November, American Muslims will celebrate Thanksgiving, one of the great American holidays. But first they are celebrating Eid al Fitr, or the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic faith..” [more]
Muslims in US Celebrate Eid With Enthusiasm and Some Confusion
Sameen Tahir Khan, Arab News
“..Confusion stemmed from the fact that many mosques in Illinois, Ohio, Pittsburgh and California left recorded messages on their answering machines in the middle of the day stating that Eid would be celebrated on Friday. Many Islamic websites also carried the same message. But the twist in the story came late in the night with the announcement that Eid would instead be celebrated on Thursday..” [more]
Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins
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BBC – Ramadan In Pictures
BBC – Eid in Pictures
The Five Pillars of Islam
About Eid (BBC)
Lailat al Qadr (27 Ramadan): The Night of Power
Ramadan 2005 – BBC
Ramadan on the Net
Religion and Ethics – Islam (BBC)