Famous Islamic Festivals

by on January 29, 2014
in Islamic Festivals

Famous Islamic FestivalsIslam is the religion of peace which incorporates many beliefs and values in it. There are some festivals that are commemorated by Muslims annually. However, some of these festivals are also celebrated on bi-yearly basis. It is therefore important for you to decide which festival is more significant than the other. Nevertheless, each and every Islamic festival has its own importance and a background history. So, you can assume that all of these festivals are equally of great importance to all Muslims. Read more..

Ashura

Ashura

Ashura or Youm-e-Ashur falls on the 10th of Muharram the first month of the Islamic calendar. This day is a day of grief for all the Muslims as the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Hussain Ibn Ali was martyred.

This day commemorates an event which took place in the 61 AH (680 AD). After the death of Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam, evil practices began to creep into Islam. The new caliph Muawwiya appointed his son Yazid as the next caliph. Yazid was a pleasure loving person and when he succeeded his father, Hussain the grandson of the Prophet refused to pay allegiance to Yazid.  This resulted in an encounter between an army of Yazid and less than 100 follower of Hussain on the banks of River Euphrates near Kerbala (present day Iraq). His followers included women, children and other members of his family.

Almost all the male members gave up their lives fighting for their beliefs. The women and children were taken as prisoners. The head of Hussain was removed from his body, taken over a spear and marched through the streets of Kufa and was then presented to Yazid along with the prisoners of war.

In Yazid’s court, Zainab Binte Ali the sister of Hussain delivered a fiery speech and being the daughter of a dauntless warrior of Islam, protected the honor of her family.

Soon after the incident of Kerbala, people began to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the Prophet’s family to uphold the true teachings of Islam.

Seville’s April Fair: Relive the Spanish Past

Seville’s April Fair: Relive the Spanish PastLa Feria de Abril or Seville’s April Fair is held in the city of Seville. Seville is more popular for its oranges and Islamic architecture. The Fair commences on a Tuesday at midnight two weeks after Easter and continues till the midnight of the following Sunday. The fair started off in 1847 as a cattle market and is now a colorful extravaganza attracting over a million visitors both local and foreign. This festival is mainly about ongoing flamenco performances, bull fights and a free supply of Tapas.

The main event takes place at Real de La Feria where a thousand marquees known as “casetes” in Spanish are setup. The “casetes” are tastefully decorated with multi colored paper lantern which present a pretty picture when lit up at night.

Seville’s April Fair: Relive the Spanish PastMost of the casetes are owned by local families, businesses, clubs, and societies and admission is strictly on invitation only. Here guests are entertained with food, Flamenco performances and free flowing “tapas” as Spanish drink. There are some public casetes as well set up by the city council. The ladies of Seville dressed in pretty flamenco outfits roam around the town and the men in their riding gear strut about on horses. Every day at noon, a procession, “Paseo de Caballos”, is taken out in which girls dressed as Flamenco dancers ride through the city in beautiful carriages. The bull fights take place later in the evening at Plaza de Toros de Masetranza. Other amusements, like rides and games for families, are also arranged in a ground adjacent to the main venue of the fair.

If you happen to be in Spain in April, do visit Seville and feel the real spirit of Spain.

Eid-ul-Fitr

eid-ul-fitr-01Eid ul Fitr is the most awaited festival of the country. It is celebrated on the 1st of Shawal the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated to commemorate the end of Ramadan. Ramadan the 9th Islamic month is the month of fasting. Muslims are directed not only to abstain from food and drink but also from sex, carnal thoughts, anger, lies, betrayal, deception and other weaknesses. Fasting is mainly to purify a person physically and spiritually. On the 29th of Ramadan, people gather on their roof tops to sight the moon. The sighting of the moon is followed by a burst of joy and festivity which lasts for three days. The cries of “Eid Mubarak” (Happy Eid) fill the air.

The night prior to Eid is called “chand raat”. It is specially enjoyed by the young people who rush to the malls for last minute shopping. Girls adorn their hands with beautiful henna patterns and buy glass bangles which match with their suits.

eid-ul-fitr-02On Eid morning, men go to the mosques to offer special Eid prayers. The women say their prayers at home. The women prepare special dishes like sweet vermicelli cooked in milk and dry fruits and spicy chick peas etc. Everybody dresses up in new clothes. The elders give eiddie a sum of money to the younger ones. Relatives, friends and neighbors visit each other.

The poor are not ignored on this joyful day. Most of the families give new clothes to their servants. The servants are also given eiddie. Money is given as charity through out the month of Ramadan to help the poor and the needy.

Eid ul Fitr is a very important day which brings happiness to all and is celebrated with fervor by all.

Eid-ul-Azha

EID-UL-ADHA-02Eid-ul-Azha or the greater Eid is celebrated on the 10th of Zilhaj, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a three day festival. It is celebrated to commemorate the obedience of Abraham who readily agreed to sacrifice his son Ismail for Allah’s pleasure.

A cattle market is set up outside the city premises from where people can buy goats, sheep, cows and camels. Cows and camels have seven shares so those who cannot afford to sacrifice a whole animal can have a share. The animal has to be free of any physical deformities and injuries. It must not be too young as well. People generally buy animals a week or ten days prior to Eid. Different stalls selling fodder are set up through out the city. Children love to take care of the animals and are often seen roaming in the streets with the animals.

The Eid day begins with special prayers offered in open places and mosques. Then animals are slaughtered as soon as the butcher arrives. The meat is divided into three parts, one is kept for home, the second part is distributed among relatives and the third portion is given to the poor people. The hides are donated to charity organizations. Animals can be sacrificed till 12 noon of the third day.

In the evenings families hold barbecues and enjoy themselves. The T.V channels in Pakistan telecast special Eid programs.

EID-UL-ADHA-01Eid-ul-Azha is more than sacrificing animals and having barbecues. It is about sharing. While meat is the main dish in Pakistani households but sadly this cannot be said for all. There are many families who get to eat meat only on special occasions and festivals. Islam teaches us benevolence by sharing sacrificial meat with the poor, the spirit of brotherhood is rekindled. Some affluent families do not keep a share for themselves but distribute it among the poor and the needy.

Festivals like Eid are celebrated to infuse a spirit of brotherhood and compassion and to bring joy to all. Above all it is a way to thank the Almighty for his numerous blessings.

Eid ul Fitar, Religious Fesitval of the Muslims

by on September 20, 2009
in Islamic Festivals

Eid

Eid ul Fitar, Religious Fesitval of the Muslims

The Eid ul Fitar is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims. It marks the end of Ramadan and  is  celebrated on the starting day of Shawaal, the tenth month of the Islamic Calendar. For Muslims, Eid ul Fitar is a joyous day since it is an opportunity for them to offer thanksgiving. As a true Thanksgiving Day, Muslims show appreciation to Allah for their opportunities in life, strength, and good health. They also give thanks to Allah for the fulfillment of their obligations such as good deeds and fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan.
The name of Eid ul Fitar is derived from two Arabic words, “Eid” and “Fitr”. Eid means “festivity” while Fitr refers to charity or nature. This religious festival is an entire day of celebration for Muslims. It is often called the “Smaller Eid” since the “Greater Eid” lasts for four days. During this festival Muslims are required to complete their fasting on the last day of Ramadan in accordance to their Holy Book, the Quran. The “Takbir” is also recited by Muslims all throughout the Eid period.
The common greetings during the Eid ul Fitar festival are the Arabic terms of “Id sa id” or “Happy Eid”, and “Id Mubarak” or “Blessed Eid”. Apparently, most Muslim countries have their own greetings based on their local traditions and language.
At the start of the Eid ul Fitar festival, Muslims wake up early and have a small breakfast before attending a special Eid prayer called a “salah”. Salah is performed in groups at mosques or open places such as squares and fields. Muslims usually wear their best clothes for the occasion. The Eid prayer is followed by a sermon known as “khutbah” and a plea asking for help, mercy, and forgiveness for all living things in the world. The sermon instructs the Muslims to do rituals of Eid, such as the “zakat”. After the prayers, Muslims visit their acquaintances, friends, and relatives as well as the graveyards of their loved ones who have died.

The Message of Ramadan

by on September 15, 2009
in Islamic Festivals

The Message of Ramadan

How many times have you had someone ask you (in a candid gathering) if you were to choose, what would you give up: food or sex? This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions around the globe and not an easy one to answer! The cliché in our part of the world is “the route to your man’s heart is through his stomach”, which proves how important food is for men. And when you’re not quite sure what’s on your man’s mind, they say, your best bet is sex! Women, of course, are no exception.
How on earth then, can both men and women give up both these things HAPPILY for one entire month every year? This, my friends, is the magic of Ramadan which casts its spell on Muslims throughout the world every year. God has prescribed fasting during Ramadan. One is to give up both lawful and unlawful things while fasting to win God’s pleasure and blessings.
The question I would like to address here is, “While it’s great to give up those unlawful filthy habits like stealing, fraud, lying, lust etc, why does God want us to give up lawful things like food and sex during this fast?” The philosophy at the core is very profound and proves that only the Creator knows His creation including their various needs. Human beings have a natural propensity towards goodness and a natural aversion to evil. The only reason crime is born is that either one has no control over their wild desires or they cannot fulfill their desires through the legal means. These instances are when they resort to wrongful ways. If you look around yourself, the fact that all sorts of crime are prevalent in societies is based upon unfulfilled needs and desires. At the top of the list of such needs are hunger and lust. That’s why the crime rate is generally higher in poor countries with low per capita and illiteracy.
Thus, Ramadan comes every year to prepare us to control our desires whether we are rich or poor. If one has sufficient self-control and is always mindful of his Creator, he will not go astray even in the most difficult times. This is the beautiful message of Ramadan enclosed in dignity and faith!

Ramadan

The Glory of Ramadan

by on August 28, 2009
in Islamic Festivals

The Glory of Ramadan

Note: The statements on fasting may be exaggerated or misleading according to the latest scientific information.
Note: “sehr” and “aftar” are not English words.
Ramadan is by far the most special month of the year for Muslims throughout the world. The sacred scripture of Muslims, the Holy Quran, was revealed in Ramadan. Allah has prescribed fasting in this month for all Muslims. When one is fasting, one has to give up all of those things which are otherwise lawful for him –for example, food and sex as well as those which are unlawful, of course, like back biting, lying, stealing, hurting others, etc. I believe that Ramadan comes every year to give us a crash course on how to live like human beings. It helps us improve our mental, spiritual and physical well-being and shed the “burdens” we carry throughout the

year.It replenishes the soul and empowers us, once again boosting our sense of self-control and dignity.

RamadanPhysical health: It’s no secret what miracles fasting can do for our bodies! It relieves a burden off our digestive system and boosts the vigor of each and every cell contained in our bodies. Ramadan trains us to refrain from gluttony, a common cause of many life-threatening diseases, and cleanses our body from harmful toxins resulting from overeating.
Mental & Spiritual health: Ramadan gives us peace of mind. It teaches compassion, empathy and humility. It makes us realize what its like to survive without food and water. In addition, we tend to become more conscious of other peoples’ problems and to count our blessings and show gratitude to Allah Almighty. Ramadan also has a festive feel to it. Muslims from all over the world become united in spirit. Life is too fast nowadays and members of a family seldom get a chance to sit down and eat together. Ramadan provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to eat together at sehr and aftar.
Thus, the blessings and bounties of Ramadan are innumerable. As Muslims, we all should try to take maximum advantage of them and amend ourselves for the better while we can!

Three Reasons to Know More about Religion and Religious Festivals

Three Reasons to Know More about Religion and Religious Festivals

Religion is an abstract form of control over social lifestyle and responsibilities, a belief within oneself which connects the person and God. This is common toall religions. There are many reasons behind one’s religious beliefs and lack of religious beliefs.  At this point in the 21st century, there are reasons as to why people should know more about religion and its festivals. Some of those reasons:
    religion builds the unity among similar people through rules and social festivals
    religious festivals and events are intended for ‘togetherness’
    religious teachings form a basis for social lifestyle
Without actually referring to any religion in particular, the main factor behind the widespread acceptance of all religions was their message. That message is  mainly to build unity among similar people. Islam was formed to unite the people of the Arab lands, likewise Hindu was formed to unite and organize the people of the Indus Valley and northern India. On the other hand, religious festivals and events are mostly intended to bring people from various backgrounds together under the same umbrella. Religious teachingsare taught in elementary schools to cultivate strength in  a good discipline towards every purpose in life.

The Top 3 Festivals in the Islam Religion

the-top-3-festivals-in-the-arab-religionThe Top 3 Festivals in the Islam Religion
Arab religion, as some in the western world know it, is known by other names in its native lands. On Arabic shores, the main religion is called Islam, assuming that is what is referenced by Arab relegion. It’s one of the largest religions in the world with numerous festivals all year round. Three of those festivals include:The Mawlid an Nabi
The Eid-ul-FitrThe Eid-ul-Adha
Of these three, the bottom two festivals are very important in the Arab Religion. Muslims around the world celebrate these with the purpose of cherishing what the Prophet has left them with. The Eid-ul-Fitr marks the festive last day of Ramadan, the month of fasting. It’s basically a festival of great celebration among most Muslim countries and is held as a public holiday there. The Eid-ul-Adha marks the festival of sacrifice which represents the end of the Hajj or holy pilgrimage, which is considered something a Muslim ought to do in their life. The Mawlid is a festival marking the day of the Prophet’s birth. It’s a day when stories of the prophet’s  (Peace be upon Him) lifetime are told to the younger generations. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is the most respected personality for the Muslims.