Salat is a ritual prayer that is part of the ordinary routine of Muslim. It is part of the 5 pillars of Islam, which is basically the main acts/rules that are expected from all Muslims. Approximately 1400 years old, this prayer not only allows you to speak with Allah, it is also seen as a way to connect with Muslims from around the world. There are specific ways to perform the daily prayers. There are five positions performed during salat. You begin standing up with your hands next to your ears, palms facing forward. Then, place your left hand in the middle of your chest, and the right hand on top, with only three fingers on the wrist and the thumb and pinkie wrapped around. Next, place your hands on your knees as you bow, then stand upright from that position. Now, place your hand and forehead on the floor whilst in a kneeling position, and then sit up, still kneeling and place your hands on your thighs. At the start of the prayer you say “Allah Akbar” translating to “Allah is the greatest”, and then in between the positions there are multiple phrases from Quran (the religious text of Islam) to be recited. Most of them surround the idea of Allah, who is superior to all and to bless/thank him for everything, with occasional phrases that ask for forgiveness of any sins. Finally, the prayer is finished by saying ‘peace be upon us’ once looking to the right, and once to the left.
Eid al-fitr (can be shortened to Eid) is a festival that is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. In English, it translates to ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast. It is where Muslims from all over the world break their fast as they eat their first meals in daylight after a whole month. It is a celebration for Muslims anywhere in the world. In countries containing a larger population of Muslims, people would even gather on the streets to celebrate. It usually lasts for 3 days, but is considered the ‘smaller Eid’. There is another festival that occurs later in the year, which is Eid l-Adha. It lasts for 4 days, and is celebrated for Ibrahim (or Abraham) who is believed to have been ordered by Allah to sacrifice his son.
Salat is used as a way to communicate with Allah. People use this opportunity to be away from all their worries and thoughts, and to only focus on worshiping Allah. It is important to perform the prayers as it is also a way to maintain the goodness of the soul, just like you would want to maintain the healthiness of your body.
Ramadan is a time where Muslims reflect and discipline themselves. They learn to feel empathetic for those that are less fortunate, and don’t have access to much money/food. Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink from dusk to dawn, and are also not allowed to take any medication, drink, smoke, or have sex. The point of Eid is to celebrate the end of a month of thought and discipline, and to prepare for a new start. It’s almost like celebrating the new year. Muslims would wear new clothes, and most likely go to a mosque for the morning prayer, before they break their fast, and begin a new journey.
Salat is extremely significant to the religion of Islam. It is something they are required to do for 5 times every day. Once around dawn, midday, late afternoon, sunset, and anytime between sunset and midnight. It usually takes around 3-5 minutes, but must only be done after they have cleaned themselves with water. Salat can be performed anywhere, but it has to be somewhere clean and quiet and either by themselves, or in a group with other Muslims. However, there are also specific places for Muslims to pray in, which are called mosques. Mosques are more formal places/buildings for Muslims to gather together to pray, but also for study, lectures, celebrations, and more.
Eid is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, which is the 9th month of the lunar calendar, and therefore varies each year. The festival begins as soon as the new moon is visible, making it different for each country. It usually begins with a morning prayer with other Muslims at a mosque. Then, they will finally eat their first meal in daylight after a month of fasting. In countries with larger populations of Muslims it isn’t uncommon for people to be seen celebrating Eid on the streets, parks, and other recreational areas. However, in other countries with a smaller population of Muslims people would usually invite friends/family over to their house for a feast, prayers and gift exchanging. For some countries in which more Muslims live in it is usually a public holiday, so the entire day is dedicated to celebrating the festival. It is also common for people to donate money to different charities. The money goes to the poor/less fortunate, in an attempt for them to be able to celebrate Eid just like everyone else.
Muslims take this act very seriously, as it is something that Allah has ordered them to do. Allah’s actions must all be obeyed. Everyone knows and understands that Allah is perfect, and does not need to be reassured of his flawlessness. He does not need anything, from anyone. Muslims pray because Allah has specifically asked them to do so. Allah usually doesn’t ask for much, as he is capable to do everything by himself. However, he did make this particular request, which must be obeyed. Allah is the creator of the world, and life. He has given everyone life, he has helped everyone through everything, it is only respectful to obey his commands.
Eid is a time of joy and positivity. It is also an opportunity to be able to get closer to God, and to experience what is feels like to be him. This is done through the act of giving. During Eid, many families often give money to different charities in order for the poorer families to be able to get new clothes as well to celebrate with the rest of the muslim community. People also make/give food to families and friends as well as many different gifts. Allah has already created life and given so much to the world already, he does not need any gifts. As he is perfect, and the supreme god, everyone would love to be where he stands one day. Therefore, by practicing the act of giving to others it can be seen as a way to experience what Allah experienced as he created the world, and gave us all a life.
In my opinion, I believe that performing daily prayers is more important than Eid al-fitr. This is mainly based on the fact that Eid only happens once a year (excluding Eid al-Adha), whereas Muslims perform salat 5 times daily. The main belief of Islam is also that there is only one god and creator of the world, Allah. By performing the daily prayers, it is a way to communicate with him. People perform the prayer with such passion, because they imagine that he is standing right in front of them as they speak with him. Although people do give gifts/money to others to follow in Allah’s footsteps, the larger and more important idea of the festival is still to break the fast, and to prepare for a new beginning, as the name suggests.
When praying, all Muslims across the whole world must face in the direction of the city of Mecca. This helps people to unite with the community, and also acts as a focal point in order to concentrate. The phrase “peace be upon you” is also said at the end of every prayer.
Hilary Clinton started the tradition of celebrating Eid at the white house in 1996. They have been doing the same for every year since then. To celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Empire State building was lit green.