A Short Guide to the Major Islamic Celebrations

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A Short Guide to the Major Islamic Celebrations

All religions are complex and to someone who doesn’t share the religious beliefs of others, it can be confusing understanding how a faith is structured. Islam is one of the most popular religions in the world, with over 1.6 billion brothers and sisters following its practices. However, this still leaves over 6 billion people who do not know the Islamic religion well or are confused by its systems.

This post is designed to help those who aren’t familiar with Islam and its holidays to understand why their friends, neighbours or co-workers might be celebrating in a specific way. Understanding one another is the best way to build meaningful relationships, regardless of religion, social status, ethnicity or any other individual traits. Hopefully, through this short guide you will discover a little more about the most important times of the year for Muslims, including how we worship, why we worship and what we do during these periods.

Ramadan

Let’s start with one of the most recognisable Islamic words – Ramadan. Ramadan isn’t a single holiday or celebration, it is a Holy month when many of the most important Muslim celebrations occur. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and as the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, this means the timing of Ramadan shifts slightly each year.

Ramadan is important to the Islamic faith because it is the month in which the Holy Qur’an was first revealed, and it serves as marker for many of the most important Islamic events like Laylatul-Qadr. The most important points to keep in mind are that throughout the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset and many tend to start giving their Zakat during this time.

Zakat is part of the fundamental Five Pillars of Islam that must be observed by all Muslims. It involves the act of giving to charity (Zakat) and supporting those less fortunate than you, using a figure based on your total wealth accumulated over the lunar year. The calculations are complicated but Zakat donations tend to be completed during Ramadan because it is easy to remember and recognise each year.

A Short Guide to the Major Islamic Celebrations

Eid-al-Fitr

Eid-al-Fitr is the first of the two most important Islamic holidays. Eid-al-Fitr occurs at the end of the Holy month of Ramadan and is a celebration of the month’s completion through a 3-day feast and communal worship. During this celebration, Muslim communities come together to pray and eat their first daylight meals in a whole month, uniting in faith and forming closer bonds with each other.

Giving to charity and in particular, giving Zakat also regularly occurs during this celebration, usually as a method of allowing less fortunate Muslims to celebrate the occasion in the same way. Eid-al-Fitr, in a similar way to most of the Islamic celebrations, is about time with family and how it complements faith.

Eid-al-Adha

Eid-al-Adha is the second of the most notable Islamic celebrations and occurs after the annual pilgrimage called Hajj, where Muslims from across the globe travel to Mecca. Hajj is another of the Five Pillars of Islam and must be completed be all Muslims at least once in their lifetime, while it depends on their wealth because going for the Hajj to Saudi Arabia is expensive.

Eid-al-Adha is a celebration of the Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and his willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of faith. Whilst the sacrifice was only a test and his son is not sacrifice, it is Prophet Ibrahim’s (a.s) belief in his faith that Muslims celebrate through coming together, eating, praying and offering an animal sacrifice in the same way as Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) did. 

The food produced by these sacrifices are then split, a third given to the most needy and vulnerable, a third given to friends and relatives and the final third eaten by the family. Hopefully, this short guide will have shed some light on the most recognisable and prominent celebrations in the Islamic calendar. Understanding has always been one of the most important aspects of empathy and so if this post has taught anyone something new, it was worth it.

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4 comments:

  1. I am not particularly religious in anyway myself, however I do find finding out about other cultures and religious so interesting. I love the insight it give into how others view the world, thank you so much for sharing this.

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  2. Thanks for this post, I have a few friends who are of this faith and sometimes it can be hard to keep up, especially as I'm not religious myself x

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  3. This is so interesting, thank you so much for sharing as I don't know enough about Islamic celebrations but really want to.

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