Coming to Islam from Christianity, I can most closely compare the Eid-al-Fitr celebration to Christmastime, “the most wonderful time of the year.” I would have to say, however, that the Eid celebrations are much bigger and more heartfelt than any Christmas celebration I’ve seen. Eid-al-Fitr literally translates as “the celebration of breaking the fast,” and marks the end of Ramadan, the month where able-bodied Muslims fast during daylight hours, reflect on their faith, and do their best to help those less fortunate. We celebrate Eid and thank Allah for the chance to please him with our fasting, and we give gifts to our friends, children, and our families in general.
Because this was my first year to fast for Ramadan, I had a lot of expectations and anxieties about it. At first, I found myself often lightheaded, nauseous, and incredibly fatigued from the lack of food and drink, but within a few days, I was used to the idea of fasting. I adjusted my daily routines so that I could do the tasks that required more of me at night while running light errands during the day. I learned to drink more water and eat food that would “stick with me” all day, and most of all, I learned more about my religion and how to discipline myself in the name of God.
Though I definitely feel my faith is exponentially greater since fasting, I can say that I have room for improvement. Because I have a small child, I only attended tarawih, or late night, prayers once throughout the entire month. I was hoping to go to the masjid, or mosque, more often, but it seems that Ramadan is the time when people come out of the woodwork. This makes it quite difficult to break the fast with iftar in the masjid, or even to do prayers in congregation, especially with the hot summer heat. InshAllah, or God willing, I will be able to complete more congregational prayers in the upcoming Ramadans, and I will be able to interact better with the ummah, or my brothers and sisters in faith.
This Eid-al-Fitr, I plan to attend the huge prayer ceremony that will be held in a local gymnasium tomorrow morning. I plan to pray, and to ask Allah that he will accept our fasts. I plan to smile, to have a good time, and to show everyone that being Muslim is beautiful. Most of all, I plan to connect with my Creator on a deeper level, just as I have this past month. And in doing all these things, I will say bismillah, in the name of God.