Muslim communities across America are finding new ways to celebrate this weekend’s Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramandan. The three-day vacation after a month of fasting from dawn to sunset traditionally brings families and friends together for large and intimate gatherings. This year, however, Muslims rely on zoom calls, live streaming sermons, and transit celebrations.
“Not being able to be sworn in oath in the larger church actually affects people, especially younger members of our church,” said Rami Nsour, a religious scientist and church leader in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“It will take a lot of ingenuity and spontaneity from individuals and families to bring some elements of the celebration into that time,” added Nsour.
This year the San Francisco Muslim Community Center will preach a sermon that will be broadcast live on its Facebook page. The Nor Cal Islamic Center offers a four-hour program of guest speakers and entertainment on Sunday mornings. The Oakland Lighthouse Mosque hosts a drive-through to distribute food and gifts to families in the community.
The United States-Islamic Relations Council, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, encourages Mulims across the country to share videos and photos on social media that highlight “what they are grateful for” as they celebrate the holiday while following the guidelines on Maintain social distance with #QuarantEID
Eid is a holiday that has cultural and religious meanings for Muslims.
While Ramadan, the month when the angel Gabriel began to reveal the Koran to the Prophet Mohammad, is a time to reflect and atone for sins, oath is considered by many to be a gift from God.
“We’re not just celebrating our services,” said Nsour, “we’re celebrating our humanity and our return to humanity.”
Nsour explained that if the month of Ramadan is “properly” lived, what it means to “fast during the day, pray at night, recite the Quran, and forego other sensual delights,” then “we will get out of the month with ours.” Forgive sins and it is a return to the original, pure, sinless human form. “
Usually, on the first morning of Eid, which is expected to be Sunday this year, Muslims gather in the mosque to pray and preach. We spend the rest of the day visiting relatives, exchanging gifts – usually cash called “Eidi” – and hosting food parties.
“This is such a big celebration that we cannot share it personally with other people,” said Bhwana Kamil, an active member of the American Muslim Society and a professor of philosophy at Evergreen Valley College. “It will feel pretty lonely,” she added.
Kamil said her family has traditionally held an open house in the neighborhood where hundreds, including those who don’t celebrate the holiday, show up.
“It is very well known in the community,” said Kamil of the annual open house party that will be canceled this year. Her in-laws usually fly from Chicago and Michigan to San Jose. And this year, when the holiday coincides with Memorial Day, Kamil’s family could have stayed a day longer.
Instead of the big block party, her family adapts and will now celebrate a small party while she is socially distant in the front yard. But Kamil said she was concerned about what the canceled community party would mean for those who didn’t have immediate family members in the area.
“We’ll make it, but the people who really don’t have anyone at the moment could be pretty sad,” said Kamil.
On Friday, as Muslims were preparing for the last day of fasting,that he corrects an “injustice” and “identifies places of worship as essential places that provide essential services”.
Mr Trump said at a press conference on Friday that “faith leaders will ensure that their congregations are safe when they gather and pray” and called on the governors to allow the opening of places of worship.
“The governors must do the right thing and allow these very important places of faith to be opened this weekend,” Trump said. He also warned, “If you don’t, I’ll override the governors.”
Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump also shared their “best wishes for a blessed and joyful” oath to the Muslim community.
“The First Lady and I send our warmest greetings to Muslims in the United States and around the world as they celebrate,” the President’s message said. “When Muslims observe Eid at-Fitr, we hope that they will find both comfort and strength in the healing powers of prayer and devotion.”
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