New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

written by Theresa Corbin for About Islam

No matter what the weather, no matter how tasty the Eid breakfast, no matter how well I felt my Ramadan went, for many years after I converted to Islam, I followed the same old Eid pattern.

Wake up. Pray fajr (morning prayer). Eat breakfast. Go to Eid Prayer.

Then I, my husband or both of us, would go to school or work. It was anti-climactic at best.

After a month of character building, spiritual highs and building a better relationship with the Quran, it was always right back to pre-Ramadan business as usual, hoping to keep the lessons and increased faith as we exited the month un-commemorated.

Until one year, I said enough! I put my foot down and didn’t go into work. I took the day off of school and insisted my husband do the same. Guess what happened?

No, the world didn’t fall apart. No, we didn’t fail our classes. We actually enjoyed ourselves.

We spent time to acknowledge what Ramadan meant to us and to celebrate our successes in it. And because of our celebration we felt more Muslim somehow. We felt closer to our community. We felt better prepared to move on and face the challenges of life outside of Ramadan.

In the Western world where few even know what Eid is, it is very difficult to get out of day to day commitments to celebrate the holiday or rather the holy day. It is even more difficult to have that holiday feeling when those around you are treating the day like any other ordinary day.

As converts, we have to give up a lot of our old holidays when we come into Islam. Giving up holidays where everyone is celebrating and everything is decorated can be difficult.

Many of us treasure our holiday memories and family traditions. But as Muslim we are not left with nothing in the place of our old tradition. As converts we can and must make new traditions and create a holiday feeling for ourselves.

Why Celebrate? For Gratification and Gratitude

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Gallery

Eid In A Can

Written and test kitchen-ed by Theresa Corbin

What is better that cheese in a can? 

That’s right, Eid in a can!

eid in a can

Eid means “Celebration”. There are two Islamic celebrations: Eid al-Fitr- celebrated after the month of fasting (Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha- celebrated after the pilgrimage (Hajj).

Cake (frosting + sprinkles)/love = Eid in a Can. It’s a simple equation, really.

Eid (al-Fitr) is right around the corner. And despite the fact that I don’t like posting stuff about food during Ramadan, I wanted to share my favorite DIY gift tutorial. Cake in a can!!

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Ramadan Explained

written by Theresa Corbin

It is that time of year again. Ramadan!

When the moon begins its new phase and the snow fa … err … the trees are in bloo … errr … the crisp smell of autu … errrr … Wait a minute. None of the seasonal sights or smells can be applied to Ramadan. What’s up with that?

ramadan

Well, if you don’t already know, it is because the Islamic calendar does not follow the same fixed calendar that we are used to in The West, where all the seasons occur in the same ‘ole months. Kinda boring, Greg of the Gregorians didn’t know how to keep it fresh, but whatever.

Every year the month of Ramadan starts when the new moon is sighted for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Each month is 29-30 days long depending on the lunar cycle followed by Muslims. This means that each year the month of Ramadan moves up 10 days in relation to the Gregorian calendar. Time to break out the calculator and do some math.

Just joking, I don’t do math.

This tracking of the moon and measuring the calendar by it is how some non-Muslims spread the lie that Muslims worship a moon god. FALSE in a major way.

Muslims worship the creator of all things known as God or Allah in Arabic. In fact, if a “Muslim” were to worship the moon, this would take him out of Islam, i.e. he would no longer be a Muslim because the first article of faith is to worship God alone. You know, the first commandment.

Anyway, I can get side tracked from time to time. Eh hem, Ramadan. The ninth month in the Lunar Islamic calendar. I am sure you have come across someone, somewhere that is excited or at least talking about the coming of Ramadan. So you do a quick search on the Google, and find out that it is the month in which the Quran was first revealed, and it is a month of fasting for all healthy, adult Muslims.
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A Greener Ramadan: A Brighter Future

written by Theresa Corbin for Al Jumuah

Many People Associate the color green with Islam. The flags of Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia all include the color green. According to the Quran, the people of paradise will wear garments of green silk. And some say the Prophet’s (PBUH) favorite color was green. I have yet to find a reliable hadith to support this favorite color claim. But I think it is safe to think of Islam as a green hued faith for another reason: The Environment.

Embedded in the tenets of Islam is an ecological imperative. “The Earth is a mosque, and everything in it is sacred. I learned this basic tenet of Islam from my father,” notes Ibrahim Abdul-Matîn, environmentalist and author, who begins his book Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet with these wise words.

We as human beings were placed on this earth as caretakers of it, as stewards.

Now, behold! Your Lord said to the angels: I am placing upon the earth a human successor to steward it. [Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:30]

As stewards on this earth, we have been entrusted with its care, and we will be held accountable for our actions towards it.

We will register “in the book” what they have done and what footprints they have left, and everything we have accounted for in great details in a detailed book. [Sûrah Yâ-Sîn, 36:12] (emphasis added)

Ramadan is a time for self-examination, a time to come nearer to Allah, and to become better versions of ourselves. So as we contemplate how we can become better to ourselves and to each other, let us also contemplate how we can become better stewards to our home. Let us take this opportunity to be more cognizant of the footprint we leave, and have a greener Ramadan.
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Practical Ramadan Tips for New Muslims

written by Theresa Corbin for Al Jumuah

Entering into my 15th [now 16th] Ramadan, I feel an excitement building. I am looking forward to the fast of Ramadan and all the amazing things that come with it: growing spiritually, strengthening community ties, coming nearer to Allah, and much more.

However, it wasn’t always this way. I converted during the month of Ramadan and jumped straight into fasting even before I knew how to pray correctly. I want to be honest here. Those first fasts were hard. Very hard. Coming from a Catholic and American background, I had never experienced real fasting. The most I knew about fasting was eating less to fit in a smaller size and not eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

So my first Ramadan was a shock to my system. And as my second Ramadan approached, I was very nervous about my ability to endure. I feared the pains of hunger, the thirst that left me dehydrated, and the fatigue that comes along with fasting. I felt like this was something no one ever talked about and for good reason. Complaining about hunger, thirst, and fatigue defeats the purpose of fasting.

I realized a couple things during my struggle to acclimate to fasting.

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Audio

Raising Real Muslim Men: Podcast ep. 6

podcasted by Kaighla Um Dayo

In this episode of the islamwich podcast, Kaighla talks with Eva Abdullah, a convert of 22 years and mother of six, 3 of whom are teenage boys. They discuss how she has managed to raise good Muslim men. 

Raising real muslim men

Eva and Kaighla discuss intercultural marriage to her Kurdish husband, gender roles and household chores in their family, ways to inculcate love for Allah and Islam at a young age, how Eva handles issues of faith and doubt, and they tackle the really hard topics of girls, porn, and sexuality.

Enjoy and please don’t forget to give us a rating on iTunes!

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Like the post, share it, pin it, comment on it, and/or do whatever social media magic it is that you prefer. Find out more about us in the understandably named “About” page and browse other posts in “Table of Contents”.

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Muslim Converts Wrestle with Isolation, Seek Support

by Hana Baba producer of KALW’s Crosscurrents  

Listen here.

About 20% of American Muslims are converts — people who didn’t grow up with the religion and often don’t have any cultural ties.

In some faiths, there’s a clear path for prospective converts. Catholicism, for example, has an official course of rites, rituals, and classes for those entering the Church. Islam doesn’t have a formal conversion process like that. To become a Muslim, you declare your new belief with conviction in front of a Muslim witness, and that’s it. 

For this reason, many converts say they need help and support — but it can be surprisingly hard to find. One place it can be found is the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara, which has been offering post-conversion support classes for the last seven years.

Twenty-six-year-old Nathalia Costa is in the women’s prayer hall at the mosque. She’s here for the midday Saturday prayer. Wearing a baby blue headscarf, she stands in a straight line with her hands folded above her heart, moving in unison with about 20 other women. They kneel, then prostrate, then sit, and stand back up again, all in silence. Through the corner of her eye, head bowed, Costa follows the women closely.

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