India is said to be myriad of religions, cultures and races. Among the various religions that dot the Indian canvas, Islam occupies a significant place as it is practised by a large chunk of Indian population.
The Muslim community in India celebrates several festivals and feasts adding colour and charm to our national life and fabric. Among these, the Muslim festival of Id-ul-Fitr is the most important and prominent
Generally Muslim celebrates three Ids, namely, Id-ul- Zuha, Id- i- Milad and Id-ul-Fitr. Id-ul-Zuha is the feast of sacrifice, celebrated in commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Ishmal in obedience to Allah’s command.
In remembrance of Abraham’s sacrifice Muslims all over the world offer animal sacrifice on the day of Id-ul-Zuha. Later this offered animal is shared between friends, relatives and the poor. Since this feast is characterised by the sacrifice of a goat, it is also known as Baqri-Id.
Id-i- Milad is celebrated in commemoration of the death of Prophet Mohammad. It is celebrated on the twelfth day, of the third month, Rabi-ul- Awwad in September/October. This feast is known as Barah Wafat (twelve deaths). The feast is held in memory of the twelve days of Prophet Mohammad’s sickness and suffering.
Among the three Ids, celebrated by Muslims, Id-ul- Fitr is the most important. In India this feast is known as Mithi Id (the feast of embrace). It is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwad. It marks the end of one- month long fast of Ramzan. It is therefore, an occasion of rejoicing and festivity.
During the one-month of Ramzan Muslims observe fast from morning till sunset. They do not touch food or drink. The main aim of the feast is to achieve purity of body and mind and obtain self-control so as to come near Allah- the pure one. It is believed that the holy book of Quran was revealed on this day adding to the significance of the day. On this day Muslims proclaim Allah’s greatness by singing:
“Allah is the greatest
No one is worthy of worship except
Allah, Allah is the greatest,
All praise is for Allah alone”.
Id-ul-Fitr is a community feast. It is characterised by wishing ‘Id Mubarak’ and sharing of meals, fostering of the spirit of brotherhood and purification of body and mind, etc- Reading of Quran and singing of Allah’s greatness are the chief characteristics of this festival. Muslims celebrate this festival in a grand manner by community prayers, common meals, giving gifts to the poor,’ etc.
Id-ul-Fitr is basically a feast of rejoicing. It marks the beginning of new life for the Muslims after a period of self- control and fast. It is a festival that brings people together and binds them.
It upholds the principle of universal brotherhood. In a world marred by communalism, fanaticism, and parochialism, a feast of this type can bring about much social harmony and feeling of brotherhood among people.