Eid Mubarak to all who celebrate!
عيد مبارك لكل من يحتفل!
Eid al-Fitr is a two-day religious holiday that falls on May 1 and 2 this year. The holiday marks the end of the fasting of the Muslim community during Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan began on April 1.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month-long fast practiced by people of the Islamic faith. Typically, when someone observes the holy month, they participate in fasting from sunrise to sunset. With this style of fasting, Muslims do not eat or drink anything during the day, including water.
There are a few exceptions to the rules. For example, if a person falls ill during Ramadan, they are not expected to fast. However, on the days they do not fast, they are expected to make up the days when they can. This rule applies to anyone who misses a day or more of their fast.
As a general rule, any Muslim who has reached puberty and is physically capable is required to fast.
According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, eight out of 10 Muslims in the United States report fasting during Ramadan.
Why do Muslims fast?
The holy month of Ramadan is believed to commemorate when the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of what would become the Quran, Islam’s holy book. Ramadan is a time when Muslims reflect, pray and practice self-control.
According to Muslim help, there are five fundamental principles, or pillars, in the Islamic faith: Shahadah (ٱلشَّهَادَةُ), Allah (الله), Salat (صَلاة), Sawm (صوم) and Hajj (الحج). Sawm means “to abstain”, and is one of the five pillars that the god of religion, Allah, requires of Muslims. It is most often understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan.
The practice of fasting is to give rich or poor Muslims an equal chance to ask forgiveness for past sins. During the holy month, many believe their prayers are heard and answered.
The Muslim Aid also states that the idea of fasting teaches people to be pious and abstain from worldly pleasures. Fasting is believed to instill discipline and urge participants not to be led astray by materialistic desires.
When it comes to breaking the fast at the end of the day, the process may be different for everyone, depending on their culture. Even within the same country — be it Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, etc. — practices may differ by region and village.
Some Muslims break their fast at dusk, while others wait until daylight is completely gone before doing so. Muslims break their fast with a meal called “iftar”, often consisting of culture-specific dishes.
Another important part of the holy month is the gathering of loved ones when it’s time to break the fast. Many gather for iftar with friends and extended family, and pray together during the evening hours, often at local mosques, in a practice known as “tarawih” (تراويح).
This year is a special year for Muslims: the more than 2 billion Muslims around the world can once again celebrate and gather in person during Ramadan, as the spread of COVID-19 has slowed compared to previous years.
During Ramadan weekends, many residents of the Detroit metro area gather in Dearborn — home to the largest Arab population in the United States — to break the fast at the Ramadan Suhoor Festival. The festival includes several food vendors and welcomes members of the Muslim community as they reunite with their friends and loved ones.
Click here to learn more about Ramadan Suhoor Festival.
How fasting in metro Detroit made national headlines
Fordson High School in Dearborn made national headlines during Ramadan years ago due to student athletes fasting while participating in sports.
In 2011, the documentary “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, and Football” was released. The documentary featured Fordson’s football team during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
The high school, whose student body is 98% Arab-American, continues its daily duties during the month of fasting. The soccer team was no exception. Since Vice to New York Timesthe documentary showed the rest of the country that an area with a high Muslim concentration can go about its daily life – and play the most American game – while fulfilling its religious obligations.
Related: Dearborn football coach dines at the White House
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