Guiding Light: The importance & significance of Eid ul-Fitr
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By Shiv Rajvanshi

The festivities of Eid begin only after the crescent moon is seen. Eid ul-Fitr implies breaking of the fasting time frame, which goes on for a month. The festival is celebrated over three days and is also called Choti Eid. Eid-Al-Fitr or most commonly known as Eid, is an Arabic term which means "festival of breaking of the fast". It is the most important holy festival in Islam Calendar and takes place in the month of Shawwal. After fasting for a whole month known as Ramadan, the day when this stringent fasting ritual is broken is known as Eid. The day for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the reflection of new moon by local holy authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by area.

As per mythological credence, Prophet Muhammad found some people celebrating for two days and that included various sorts of entertainment and merry-making when he arrived in the city of Madinath. On asking the purpose behind the celebration, the local people answered that these exhilarations were events of refreshment and fun of days of jahilliyah. Prophet Muhammad pronounced that Allah has set two days of holidays for people, one is Eid-Al-Fitr and the other is Eid-Al-Adha.

Festivals mentioned were found even before the advent of Islam in Arabian lands. The Israelites also had like fashion of festival. As maximum people say or trust that Eid was started when Prophet Muhammad migrated to Madinath from Mecca, we can take this time as the origin of Eid.

Eid-Al-Fitr is a day-long celebration and this also known to be the 'Small Eid' because the other Eid named as Eid-Al-Adha a 4-day festival and is called "Greater Eid". The core principle for both these Eid days remains the same and that is showing thankfulness to Allah.

Significance

Eid ul-Fitr falls on the first day of the Shawwal month, the only day in that month when Muslims are not allowed to fast. The only day of the Eid month depends on any lunar Hijri month. This juncture has a unique salat, entailing of two rakats and is usually offered in a large gall or open field. It is to be performed only in a worshipers and has added six Takbirs; three in the beginning of the first raka and the remaining three before ruku in the second raka’ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam.

It is often said that Muslims believe they are commanded by Allah — as also mentioned in the Holy book of Islam Quran — to continue the fasting till the very last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat al-Fitr before offering the prayers for Eid.

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