Religious festivals in Islam

According to the law in Islam, there are two festivals, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. However, traditional Muslims also celebrate more religious festivals. Many events begin with the phase of the moon. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to predict the date for some celebrations.

Hajj

Pilgrimage to Mecca. The moral significance of Hajj is the opportunity for Muslims to examine their faith and commitment to Allah. It is also to remember the sacrifice of Abraham as a sign of obedience to God. During Hajj, prayer is a practice of regretting things and asking for forgiveness of sins. It acts as selflessness or sacrifice to God during fasting and prayer by refusing to eat food and drink while keeping the body under control for spiritual reasons.

Ramadan

Introduction

Ramadan is a month in which a Muslim fasts from sunrise (Suhur) to sunset (Iftar) for about 30 days. During this entire month they fast every day and devote most of their time in prayer and recitation of the Qur’an [1]. It remembers the day the Qur’an was published. The benefits of fasting are obedience to Allah and worshiping him. There are people who have been released from Ramadan practices: sick people, people who are travelling, women who are menstruating, women who are breastfeeding and pregnant women. They must compensate for fasting on other equal days. The Qur'an gives the legal basis of Ramadan: “Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard to distinguish between right and wrong. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then let them fast an equal number of days after Ramadan. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Qur’an 2:185)

Saum /Sawn (Fasting)

The fasting period is associated with a commandment not to have sexual intercourse by couples. The purpose of Islam with fasting is to make the Muslim more submissive and devoted to Allah, to bring the desired unity among Muslims, and to encourage the much-needed holy lifestyle. Other possible goals include teaching self-control, endurance, tolerance and patience to please Allah. It can help Muslims to grow spiritually and follow the teachings of Allah. It can also give Muslims an opportunity to seek Allah and show gratitude for Allah's blessings. It may enable Muslims to stay away from crimes such as violence, greed, sexual immorality and bad words.

Impact on Muslim culture

Muslims started Ramadan practices in 624 AD. Fasting was a regular activity in Judaism, Christianity, and the pagan Arab religion for many centuries in the Middle East. The Muslims learned from other religions to carry out their own fasting practices during the Ramadan period. During Ramadan it is allowed to eat, drink and have sex after dark. The non-fasting hours for Muslims end with sunset. Due to the changed timetable during Ramadan, markets, shops and restaurants in Muslim countries can be open for many hours after midnight. There is more common sense among the people and the frequency of visiting other people is higher. In the Middle East and especially in desert areas, fasting can be a real challenge. It is less difficult for immigrants in western countries with moderate temperatures. At the end of Ramadan, the first meal is called Iftar. Ramadan has a bad medical impact on the body of Muslims because this long one month fasting period lowers insulin concentration and thus promotes glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis and fatty acid oxidation. Fasting can potentially lead to several bad outcomes, including diabetics [2]. In some Muslim countries in the Middle East, type II diabetes results in prevalence rates till 21%. Similar number for Arab immigrants in major cities in Europe and North America. These factors likely contribute to the higher number of diabetes in the Arabic speaking countries [3].

Eid ul-Fitr - Feast of Breaking the fast

This festival marks the end of Ramadan fasting period. It is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal in the calendar of Islam. Some activities are alms-giving (Zakat-ul-Fitr) and other generosity. After the offerings in the morning, the Muslims visit the mosque. There are some prayers, two series of movements performed during Salat prayer (Rakat) and six praises to Allah (Takbir). After that, the entertainment begins for three days.

Eid ul-Adha - Feast of Sacrifice

Festival of sacrifice to remember the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for Allah. Celebrated on the tenth day of Zul-Hijja in the Islamic calendar. The festival lasts 3 days. When the Hajj culminates on the 10th day of Zhu-al-Hijja, it leads to the beginning of Eid ul-Adha. Practices of the feast are prayer, animal sacrifice and the exchange of gifts. The animals that are sacrificed are ram, cow or sheep and the animal depends on the budget of the people. The meat is divided into 3 parts: family, neighbors and poor people. Part of the Eid ul-Adhan festival is that the imam will slaughter his animal after prayer and sermon in the mosque. No one else should do it before. The guidelines for animals to be sacrificed are that they must be matured, without defects, owned by the person making the sacrifice, and that a selected animal cannot be sold or given away. [4]

Hijrah - flight from Mecca to Medina

A feast to remember the migration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. It is the start of the Islamic Calendar.

Ras as-Sana – Islamic new year

Islamic New Year’s Day. It started with the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijrah, in 622 AD.

Bilabi-Nabi - Birthday of Muhammad

Celebrated on October 29, the day Muhammad was born in 570 AD. Islamic seminars are organized during this festival. It is an important festival for Muslims.

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