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

It is important to carve out time on Eid al-Fitr day to take a moment and punctuate your success in Ramadan. Celebrating the achievement of our goals can do a lot to help us have a healthy outlook on future goals. For many of us converts who didn’t have the years and years of training in fasting as children when it is OK to slip up, Ramadan can prove to be a challenge.

So once we have reached our Ramadan goals, why shouldn’t we celebrate, why shouldn’t we take the time to congratulate ourselves and be thankful to Allah for guiding us? When we fail to take time to celebrate our successes and thankfulness we unintentionally ignore them.

To Feel Belonging

Eid is a group celebration. Celebrating as a group bestows a sense of belonging, something crucial to feeling fulfilled. Many converts feel isolated from their community and refuse to even attend Eid prayer, citing that a lot of born Muslims are guarded when it comes to converts. Even though this kind of treatment is unacceptable, for converts to miss out on Eid prayer is a mistake and a missed opportunity.

Being present at celebrations like Eid will allow regular members of the community to become familiar with us. And when we involve ourselves more and more in the Islamic gatherings, like Eid, we start to feel a sense of belonging and fulfillment.

To Shape Our Identity

Celebrating Eid shapes our identity as Muslims. The hadith:

“Whoever imitates a people is from them.” (Abu Dawud)

Meaning that once you imitate, try to copy, you are no longer just imitating you are actually that type of person. This is often cited when talking about imitating the non-Muslims. But what does it mean when it comes to being Muslims?

Usually when we think of imitation of others, we think of it in terms of an insult of debasing ourselves. But this is not true when we imitate the best of mankind-the imitation of the Prophet Muhammad.

When we become Muslims and do as the Prophet did, this no longer is a type of imitation as the hadith suggests. We are in reality from the Muslims. Celebrating Eid al-Fitr can do a lot to shape that Islamic identity.

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12 thoughts on “New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

  1. Eid means happiness. It marks the end of RAMADAN and hence it is auspicious occasion for all Muslims and hence we celebrate.We attend EID prayer and greet EID MUBARAK to near and dear ones. In India, we also called food festival because on Eid day we cook lots of delicious dishes and it is like get together of friends,neighbours and relatives.We also give gifts to each other. The happiness doesn’t only restrict to rich and middle class but also poor and destitutes also take part in happiness. Zakat al-fitr and Zakat-al-Maal were given to poors. Many people eat a family lunch and/or dinner of meat, potatoes, rice, barley, or any food you like. Some rest in the afternoon to recover from a day that began at sunrise. Others attend fairs and events organized for Eid, party with their friends in the evening.

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    1. MashaAllah thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds pretty similar to how the heritage Muslims in the US celebrate Eid. But often converts are not invited/included.

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      1. This is very bad that Reverts are left alone. There are lots of Asian Muslims in America.What they are doing??? They very well know how Eid are celebrated back home. Even on Eid we make new friends whom we never met before and we bring them home and from there friendship starts. Last year I met an Afghani here in kolkata. They are here for business purpose. Although he speaks Broken Urdu but we somehow managed.We discussed lot about AFGHANISTAN on Eid day and their struggles.
        Really, I felt very bad that reverts are having hard time to integrate into mainstream Muslim community. This shouldn’t have been the case.

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      2. I agree it shouldn’t be the case. I am happy to hear you and your family are welcoming in sharing your Eid, MashaAllah may Allah reward you. There are many Asian Muslims in the US but they mostly spend Eid with their families.

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  2. Assalamu’alaikum,
    Taqobbal Allahu minna wa minkum.

    Insha’Allah, we’ll celebrate Eid tomorrow Sunday. We’ll pray, then we’ll go to my father’s grave (ziarah) , the last, make gathering with all families.

    I feel sad, because Ramadhan will go, n I really… really hope, will meet with next Ramadhan. Aamiin.

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  3. Assalamu alaikom, and Eid Mubarak 🙂

    I really feel sorry when I see you posting this, while I see here alot of born-Muslims complaining about how boring Eid is, and how they just cannot wait for the Eid to end, and making all sorts of facial frowns upon the mentioning of the Eid!

    “Eid” is Allah’s gift for us to celebrate his graces… it is the time to thank Allah for enabling us to fast through Ramadan, and to thank him for the grace of “fitr”, being able to eat from whatever good food that Allah has given us… and a chance to say alhamdulellah by reaching out to the poor and help them enjoy these graces, and reach out to relatives to enjoy the blessing of having them…

    mmmm… I am thinking of one thing, though. Although for alot of you, extended family could be non-Muslims, but why do not you start the habit of making them part of your celebration? Why would not you take some time to visit them on that day, that is, if they are nearby, ofcourse. Taking some sweets and visiting, and telling them that you are celebrating Eid by thanking Allah for having them as family.

    Just a thought. You know better, of course 🙂

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    1. I see you have been once again been put in the “trash” folder. I wish wordpress would get a grip and realize that I respond to your comments, therefore you are not spam or trash. ugg. Thank you for the well wishes. InshaAllah your Ramadan and Eid were full of blessings. I didn’t know that many heritage Muslims complain about Eid being boring. Eid will only be bring if you make it boring. No such thing as boring only boring people. So we need to be proactive. And as you stated, new Muslims should be proactive if their Eid is lonely and celebrate it with their non-Muslim family by visiting them if possible. The problem is that most of the time Eid does not fall on a day when people have off of work/school in Western countries and this is often not a possibility. And unfortunately many convert’s families have disowned them or refuse to talk about religion with them etc. But certainly there are many things converts can do to celebrate Eid and make it less lonely. And we can’t just complain and do nothing.

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      1. Yeah, I know how some families sort of denounce their convert members. My thought was just about trying to show them that becoming Muslims does not make one not need their family any more. I am trying to reflect it on how we feel when our non-Muslim friends and relatives include us in their celebration of Christmas, for example. For me, it was weird in the beginning and I felt very uncomfortable about showing any sign of celebrating Christmas. But after many years, I now feel ok, or even happy, because I am now aware that allowing them to include me does not make me any less a Muslim, and at the same time I am able of seeing the nice intention behind it, and I do appreciate it.
        Like the first time a Christian friend of mine said, when she saw my son: “In the name of the cross”… I felt soooooo weird… and she sensed that, I guess, and she apologized and said that she spontaneously said it without meaning any harm, and she went on explaining that this is not a prayer for him to become christian lol

        I then told her that it was fine and that I understand that she was only asking God, the way she believes in him, to protect my son.

        Yeah, so that was my point 🙂

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      2. Great point. And I hate that so many new Muslims are instructed by heritage Muslims to be so hard-hearted when it comes to family and friends and their holidays and beliefs. We should be gentle with (new Muslims and their families/friends and even converts who are not so new). Show them love and compassion. And each new Muslim needs to decide whether she or he wishes to join family of these occasions because in some families, if you are not at Christmas dinner, it is analogous to leaving the family, which we should never ever do. And actions are judged by intentions. So if you join your family on a Christian holiday with the intention to keep good bonds and you do not participate in any shirk or eat/drink haram, I feel like your good. We have to recognize our own intentions and the intentions of others. Thanks for you comments. They are always appreciated. ❤

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