Eid al-Fitr to be celebrated

2016-06-29 06:00

THOUSANDS of Muslims across Port Elizabeth will soon be celebrating Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the fasting for the month of Ramadan.

At time of going to print on Monday, is was not yet certain whether Eid will be celebrated on Wednesday, July 6 or Thursday, July 7. Eid is celebrated with the first sighting of the new crescent moon.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and fasting in this month forms one of the five tenets of Islam that every Muslim must observe.

The month commences when the new moon is sighted after sunset, and ends when the next crescent is sighted, 29 or 30 days later.

Islamic scholar, Mufti Siraj Desai, said, “A day’s fast begins from dawn (about one hour and thirty minutes before sunrise) and ends at sunset. During this time Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink, or indulge in any sexual activity with our spouses.

“Upon sunset the fast is usually broken with dates and water, followed by the normal supper.

“At night all the above are allowed, and just before dawn Muslims will have an early breakfast before commencing the fast once again,” Desai said.

Desai added that there are several reasons why Muslims have to fast which includes instilling discipline and self-control within themselves.

“Fasting is not only abstaining from food and drink; instead we are taught to adopt total discipline in behaviour, speech, actions, and attitudes. Ramadan is a month wherein we train to curb bad habits, control anger, forgive others, bear with patience difficulty and hardship.

“By remaining hungry we can identify with the poor and destitute. This is then followed by the command to share our wealth and food with the poor in this month. Hence, we find Muslims doing more charitable work in this month than in any other.

“Fasting is a great inspiration to the spirituality of man.It gives the human being the ability to raise his spiritual performance to a higher level and communicate more closely with his Lord,” Desai said.

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the Eid festival, which is the first of two festive days in their calendar year. On the 29th day of Ramadan, just as the sun sets, Muslims throughout the world will attempt to sight the crescent moon.

“The sighting of this crescent will bring to an end the month of Ramadan and will herald the Eid Festival.

“The following day Muslims will prepare themselves for the Eid prayers by bathing, wearing their best Islamic attire, and setting off early for the prayer service,” Desai said.

The Eid prayer service takes place about one hour after sunrise and is usually held in an open area to accommodate the large number of attendees.

After this prayer service Muslims disperse to visit family and friends, sharing greetings, gifts, and specially prepared foods.

. Motorists travelling on Bramlin Road between Westering and Malabar are to exercise caution during Eid prayer times from 8am to 10am on July 6, as there will be an increase in traffic.

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