Eid Celebration was on Friday last week, yet so many of us in Zimbabwe don’t really understand what this holiday means and why our friends and perhaps even family members celebrate it. A friend of a friend, last week, asked, “Why are people posting images of Eid when Muslims never post photos of Christmas?” I was not sure how to respond to that, then I got an idea to share my experience in my journey to understand Islam without prejudice; with an open mind to converting if I can connect to it at such levels.
I am just a simple girl raised Christian in our beautiful Harare in Zimbabwe. My friends would probably describe me as someone that is quite progressive and liberal… Someone that gives life her best shot and always looking at ways to live each minute to the fullest. I have always had a hunger for knowledge and a million questions to ask. Sadly, so many of us are filled with much prejudice; not me!!! I am venturing on this quest to find out about Islam and approach it without prejudice as I have always treated the world around me; hopefully my journey in some small way can help us to just get along a little better in this world.
Most of us have likely heard about the glorious celebrations of Eid, but… What is Eid? Some may explain it as the Islamic ‘Christmas’; however after spending some time talking and interacting with a few Muslims that were more than happy to answer the many questions I had – I now understand it a little more than just saying it’s the Islamic ‘Christmas’. I had the privilege of partaking in Ramadan which is the fast that comes before the first Eid of the year. Yes there are two Eids; EID Al-Fitr and EID Al Adha.
EID Al-Fitr is the Eid that was celebrated last week on Friday 15 June 2018, this is the celebration of the completion of Ramadan. Without knowing what Ramadan is about, you can’t really have a true appreciation for Eid Al-Fitr or Eid Al Adha. This month has been very enlightening and so much has been shared with me and hopefully I will do a good job of sharing with those that may be interested in learning more about the Islam religion hardly talked about in mainstream media.
Ramadan is a 30 day fast that begins at the sighting of the 9th new moon of the year. Sawm (fasting) makes up one of the five pillars of Islam. The month of Ramadan is not just a month of not consuming food or water from sunrise to sunset, it is a month to work towards bettering yourself, helping those in need, creating new habits or lifestyles, dressing more modestly, praying more, having good intentions and thoughts.
It was a challenge, not just the no-food or water aspect but stopping mid-sentence to catch the words about to roll off my tongue. In my short journey so far, I have learnt that Ramadan is not only about working toward bettering yourself but also giving to those truly in-need.
Zakat (charity) makes up another of the five pillars of Islam. This is not just going to the streets and giving to the beggars; the person you give to must truly be in need. Time is spent getting to truly know the person or people that are going to be helped. Not only does this happen during Ramadan or the Eid, it happens throughout the year by various organisations. The spirit of giving doesn’t start or stop in the Islamic home, but is followed in businesses too. A business owner gives or donates 2.5% of the cost of his/her merchandise to charities or those in need. I really loved this concept of giving to those in need.
As the month passes, what seems to take so much effort in the beginning now comes with ease as the day of Eid Al-Fitr gets closer and the preparations begin. Families dress in the best clothes that they have and spend the day visiting friends and family, sharing home cooked food, exchanging gifts and good wishes. Even as an outsider, traditions and celebrations were readily shared, stories told, love and acceptance shown towards me. Celebrating the closing of the month of Ramadan, with thankfulness, and gratitude for having been given the strength to complete the fast, Eid Al-Fitr is a vibrant celebration with room for everyone.
With such a beautiful vibe all round I look forward to learning more as time goes on and we come to the next Eid, Eid Al Adha; which is another time of sacrifice and giving. Follow my journey through my articles on ZimShoppingMalls where I will try my best to share my experience and shed some light over much ignorance that I personally think surrounds Islam and Islamic holidays and celebrations.
Article Written by a ZimShoppingMalls Reader
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