Eid is an important annual festival for people of the Islamic faith. The Muslims celebrate it on the first date of Shawwal, that is, the tenth month of the Hijra calendar. On this festival, Muslims exchange gifts and meet their neighbours as a mark of solidarity and brotherhood.
It is reported that when the Prophet of Islam saw the new moon at the coming of the month of Shawwal, he said: “O God, make this moon a moon of peace for us.” This saying of the Prophet expresses the true spirit of eid. Eid is meant to promote spiritual values among people and create a peaceful environment in society.
The full name of eid is Eid al-Fitr, that is, eid of breaking the fast. In the spirit of Eid al-Fitr, God and His greatness are acknowledged, His blessings for humanity are prayed for and the promise is made to Him that members of society will live together in peace. There is no prescribed ritual for Eid al-Fitr except for the two units of namaz (prayer).
Generally it is held that Eid al-Fitr is the eid of sweets, although sweets are not a religious part of Eid al-Fitr, but certainly they represents the spirit of eid, for sweet dishes are always considered to be the sign of love, compassion and well wishing. Gifts of sweets distributed on the day of eid represent the true spirit of this Islamic festival.
The Prophet of Islam once said that an exchange of gifts promotes love in society. So, sweets are not simply sweets: they also have a spiritual meaning. Sweets represent not only the spirit of eid, but also the true spirit of Islam.
The prayer observed on the day of eid is offered in congregation. All the Muslims, including women and children, gather together in this congregational prayer in order to promote harmony and brotherhood, not only among Muslims but also among all men and women.
Eid comes just after the final day of fasting. The month of fasting and the day of Eid al-Fitr both represent two very important features of the religion of Islam. The Prophet of Islam said that the month of fasting was a month of patience. That is, it is a month of self-restraint, a month of self-discipline, a month of self-control, a month of promoting duty-consciousness.
Eid al-Fitr represents the reward of God, which will be granted by God to those who observe one month’s fasting. In other words, fasting represents dutiful worldly life and Eid al-Fitr represents the reward that will be given in return by God to man.
According to a tradition, the day of Eid is the day of divine reward. When believers observe their duty in the month of Ramadan in the true spirit, God Almighty declares: “O angels, be witness that I have decided to bestow upon them paradise in the world hereafter.”
In short, the month of fasting represents the responsibilities of the believers in this world and Eid al-Fitr represents the reward given to them in the world hereafter.