Celebrate the holidays with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the Philippines by understanding some of their traditions. in this article, learn the difference between Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha and what it means for the Muslim Community.
Muslims are well recognized for their distinctive fasting ritual, which they have developed over thousands of years. While the majority of the world adheres to the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the sun, Muslims adhere to their own Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle. Fasting is observed by Muslims every ninth month according to the Islamic calendar.
When Muslims fast, they abstain from a variety of prohibited activities, including the following:
- eating anything from sunrise to sunset;
- since it is dry fasting, even just drinking water is not allowed;
- smoking, may it be cigars and e-cigarettes, is also prohibited;
- listening to any music;
- having sexual relations;
- lying, even for the purpose of pranking or joking; and
- generally, engaging in acts that would be considered abominable and offensive to other people.
According to Muslim belief, if you break any of the above-mentioned prohibitions, your fasting and prayers will not be heard nor accepted. As such, Muslim parents would have to do severe scolding to children who do not adhere to the fasting rules, or worse, some of them are subjected to punishments. However, just as there are always exceptions to every norm, the Muslim fasting ritual also accommodates some. In order to prevent health problems, people who have significant illnesses may be excluded from fasting. In the case of the feminine gender, pregnant women and women who are experiencing menstrual periods may be excluded from the fasting, also.
To everyone’s common knowledge, Muslims are known to do fasting during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is an annual Muslim month-long event during which Muslims are required to devote their entire attention to commemorating their Creator, Allah. Thus, during the month of Ramadan, Muslims should take steps to strengthen their relationship with their God in ways like attending church (mosque) services and studying the Muslim holy bible called Quran. In keeping with their emphasis on their faith, Ramadan is also the season of forgiveness and forgiving, since it is regarded to be the best time to seek forgiveness from God and from those to whom you owe forgiveness, as well as to ask for forgiveness from others.
Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha Difference
The dates for the beginning and end of Ramadan differ from year to year. As for the current year 2022, it began on April 01 and ended on May 01. Non-Muslims would be familiar with the holiday and would wish their Muslim friends a happy Eid Al-Fitr. But what is Eid Al Fitr, exactly? Thus, what is this Eid Al Adha and how is it celebrated? Both are commemorations that are marked by a special prayer in the morning and the holding of a feast throughout the day. Feastings take place in the practice of Filipino culture, such as the distribution of food to Muslim neighbors. However, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha’s difference is that Eid Al Fitr is associated with Ramadan; Eid Al Adha, on the other hand, is a separate holiday that takes place months after Ramadan ends.
What is Eid Al-Fitr?
A turning point in Muhammad’s battle with the Quraish in Mecca, the battle of Jang-e-Badar, was marked by the first Eid al-Fitr in 624 CE, which was celebrated by Muhammad and his followers. Eid Al Fitr, also known as the “Feast of the Fast-Breaking,” is solely a celebration of the completion of the month-long fasting period that occurs during Ramadan. According to Islamic tradition, it is a three-day festival that takes place immediately following Ramadan, marking the beginning of the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, known as Shawwal. Similar to the celebration of Eid Al Adha, the celebration of Eid Al Fitr is marked by a prayer at the start of the day. If one has the ability to go out and pray in a mosque, they should do so, offering two units of prayer known as “Rakat.” Their prayers are in the Arabic language and are referred to as “Salat Al Eid.” After the prayers are completed and the imam, who is referred to as the leader of prayers in a mosque, will deliver his or her sermon, which is a way of asking God for peace, mercy, and forgiveness in the world.
During Eid Al Fitr, Muslims and non-Muslims alike will greet one another with the Arabic phrase “Eid Mubarak,” which translates as “blessed festival.” Non-Muslims, on the other hand, are unaware that there is a correct response to the above-mentioned greeting: “Khair Mubarak,” which is a greeting wishing well to the persons who have greeted you. Similar to how Filipinos celebrate Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, the Eid Al Fitr season is a time for family gatherings, visiting relatives, visiting the graves of deceased family members, praying in mosques, gift-giving, baking special goodies, and wearing newly purchased outfits for the children, in addition, women dress in white dresses for this occasion. Additionally, “Zakat Al Fitr,” or donating money to the impoverished, can be a meaningful way to commemorate the occasion, but only if and to the extent that it is within your financial means.
What is Eid Al-Adha?
Eid Al Adha, or can also be known as the “Feast of Sacrifice” is basically the honorary celebration to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice. Essentially, Eid Al Adha is celebrated in such a way that Eid Al Fitr is. In the same way that Ramadan is celebrated once a year, Eid Al Adha is celebrated annually, with dates that vary according to the Islamic calendar. It typically takes place two months later after Eid Al Fitr. This year’s Eid Al Adha is expected to begin on the 9th of July and end the following day on the 10th of July in 2022, according to the most recent estimates. During the commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice, Muslims follow the ritual of offering up animals, which is referred to as “Qurbani,” which means sacrifice, and is identical to what Abraham did to his son. It is most likely that the prepared animals will be donated to the less fortunate, but it can also be divided into three portions: one-third for you, one-third for your family, and of course, one-third for the poorest amongst them.
In terms of religion, the Philippines is known to be dominated by its large population of the religion Catholicism or Christianity, with an estimated eighty to eighty-five percent (80-85%) of the Filipino community, followed by the Islamic religion, the Muslims, with an estimated five to nine percent (5-9%) of the population; the remaining percentage includes the religions Iglesia ni Kristo, Aglipayan, Evangelical, and other unfamiliar ones. Yet, despite the fact that Muslims hold a small percentage of the Philippine population, we cannot ignore the reality that they remain the second most numerous religious group in this country. As such, while the majority of Filipino Muslims lived in Mindanao provinces such as Lanao and Zamboanga del Sur, a small minority of them also resided in more metropolitan areas such as Cebu and Manila.
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Written by Hanna Bacani