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Festivals, Fasts and Special Days Essay

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Zainab Abed

Festivals, Fasts and Special Days Essay


a) Describe how Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr. (8)

Eid ul Fitr is the festival of fast breaking and is celebrated at the end of Ramadhan, in the month of Shawwal. The festival begins with the sighting of the new moon and is usually announced on the radio and on TV. Eid ul Fitr is a very joyous occasion for all Muslims and they celebrate the festival in many ways.

Muslims usually clean the house as a sign of purity and decorate it. Many Muslim women prepare special foods, for example, samosas. Cards are usually sent, amongst gifts and sweets for children. Also, on the day, Muslims bathe, shower and put on new clothes. They attend a congregational prayer in the mosque, and a special sermon is given to Muslims that attend. The Imam talks about the importance of giving to the poor. Families and friends gather together and share a meal. They also exchange gifts and cards and wish each other a happy Eid Mubarak. Many Muslims also visit the graves of relatives that have died and this unites the ummah, the brotherhood of Islam, and reminds them of their preparation towards the Day of Judgment. In Islamic countries, Eid ul Fitr is a 3 day holiday.

b) Explain why Muslims keep Ramadhan. (7)

Ramadhan is the fourth pillar of Islam and is an obligatory duty, an act of worship and shows submission to Allah. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is regarded as the holiest month in the calendar because the first revelation of the Quran was given to Muhammed on Mount Hur. Muslims keep Ramadhan because it has been commanded in the Quran. By fasting, Muslims are following the example of Prophet Muhammed. Muslims develop self control and discipline and this helps overcome greed and selfishness and allows Muslims to give more to the poor as they experience the needs of the poor. Muslims become more generous and grateful for what they have and recognize the true meaning of life. They do not sympathise for the poor but empathise. By keeping Ramadhan Muslims change their attitudes and become more appreciative for what they have and say Thankyou to God. Also, by fasting, Muslims are on a learning experience. They understand more about the faith and how to apply to their everyday life more efficiently. Every aspect of life affects a Muslim when fasting. Fasting spiritually affects Muslims because they pray more and attend the mosque more regularly, by doing this Muslims become closer to God. They also aim to finish the Quran in Ramadhan and split it into thirty parts called a Juz. Muslims are also affected physically because by keeping Ramadhan, it cleans and detox’s the body. This shows respect for the body in the after life and makes Muslims more alert. By keeping Ramadhan, Muslims are also affected in a psychologically way. It helps unite the ummah, the brotherhood of Islam and allows Muslims from around the world to share their experience together. This strengthens the faith and keeps the spirit and tradition alive. Muslims support each other and encourage each other when fasting and this is particularly important in non Islamic countries.

c) ‘A fast is more important than a festival’. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer and show that you have thought about different points of view. You must refer to Islam in your answer. (5)

Some Muslims would agree with this statement because fasting is keeping the fourth pillar of Islam. Therefore it is an act of worship, an obligatory duty and shows submission to Allah. By fasting Muslims are following the example of Muhammed and obeying what is commanded in the Quran. Fasting teaches them qualities and more about the poor. It allows a Muslim to have more self discipline and develop stronger characters.

On the other hand, some Muslims would disagree with this statement because festivals remember the past and reinforce historical events, for example, Eid ul Adha. Eid ul Adha remembers how Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael for Allah, but a ram was offered instead. Festivals also unite and strengthen the worldwide community of Islam and create a sense of brotherhood and equality.

However, in my opinion, both festival and fasts unite the ummah, the brotherhood of Islam. Festivals and fasts are also connected which means that one cannot be more important than the other, for example, before Eid ul Adha, there is a voluntary fast that is performed and this shows the connection. You cannot divide one from the other. Fasts lead up to festivals and without one or the other, they both would not exist.

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