Eid al-Fitr: Celebrating the End of Ramadan and New Beginnings

The date of Eid al-Fitr may change, depending on the moon’s crescent, but will be observed this year on Thursday night. (Photo by Dr. Nour Suid)

Eid al-Fitr will begin on the evening of Thursday, April 20 and be observed by more than one billion Muslims around the world. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated to commemorate the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting in the Muslim religion.

For the past month, Ramadan has acted as a tool for Muslims to focus on prayers, as well as restore a sense of clarity between the body and the mind. Muslims are able to build a deeper relationship with Allah (God), promote generosity, and give more charity during the monthlong Ramadan holiday of fasting. Muslims have not only fasted from food and drinks, including water, but also refrained from behaviors considered sinful (or haram), such as cursing, gossiping, lying, smoking, fighting, and disrespecting other individuals. Muslims are encouraged to try and recite the entire Quran during this month as well as attend as many congregation prayers as they can at their local masjid (or mosque). On St. Thomas, Masjid Nur is located on 8th St. Thomas and on St. Croix, Masjid Abu Bakir Assidique is located at 84, Rte 85.

The date of Eid al-Fitr may change depending on the moon’s crescent. To celebrate, Muslims wake up early and wear traditional clothing or new clothing that was purchased specifically for Eid. Muslims congregate to attend a short sermon and prayer and to wish each other Happy Eid.

Some Muslims take the day off of work and school to be with their family and friends. Many individuals visit the graveyard to pray for their family and friends that they have lost. Part of the celebration includes Muslims giving gifts to one another, donating to charity, and feasting during daylight, comparable to a Christian Christmas celebration.

There are many sunnahs (words and actions modeled after those of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh) that Muslims complete on this day. Examples include eating an odd number of dates before they embark to their prayers; happily greeting family, friends and even individuals they may not know; take a different route home; spray fragrance; make an act of charity/donation; and pray the Eid prayers in congregation.

Lastly, Muslims do takber before, during, and after their prayers. This is where they repeat the phrase “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillahi’l hamd,” translates to “Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no God but Allah, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, all praise belongs to Allah.”

There are many ways to greet a Muslim on this day. Two common phrases you can greet Muslims with during the end of Ramadan are: “Eid Mubarak” and “Blessed Eid.” You will see Muslims celebrating this day as they greet each other with these phrases throughout the day. The word ‘Eid’ itself brings a smile to any Muslim.

To all the beautiful Muslims in the Virgin Islands, Eid Mubarak! Wishing you and your family many blessings! May this special day bring you peace, happiness, and prosperity to you and your loved ones.