Festivals and Observances

 

Eid ul-Fitr – This most celebrated of holidays occurs after the month of Ramadan to commemorate the end of Fasting. In the morning, all Muslims gather at a local mosque for congregational prayers. The day is then celebrated with friends and family. I call this the Breakfast Festival because it is the first time we can eat after sunrise.

Eid ul-Adha – The “Festival of Sacrifice” is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) willingness to sacrifice his son for God. It occurs on the tenth day of the month of Zul-Hijja. Customary practice is commission a sacrifice of meat in God’s name though this is not necessarily mandatory.

Laylat Al-Qadr – The “Night of Power” is generally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. It is a special night of prayer and contemplation for Muslims… prayer on that night is considered much more powerful than any other time in the year. On this night, we believe that angels and the souls of past loved ones descend to earth to hear the prayers of the living.

Isra’ and Mi’raj (27th of Rajab, 7th month) – The mystical night in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) journeyed from Mecca to Jerusalem and then his ascension to heavens occured in the year 620 C.E. It is mentioned briefly in the Qur’an (Surah 17 and 53). Muslims remember this day as a day of great honor for the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). There are also no special prayers associated with this night. Muslims remember this day with varying degrees of enthusiasm and devotion. Some people do no celebrate it at all.

Maulid Nabi – The birthday of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on the 12th of Raby’al-Awwal, the 3rd month in the Islamic calendar. There are no special prayers or religious services associated with this day but many Muslims use this day to reflect on the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).