Muslim Unity Shown at Festival
The Islamic Calendar is marked by many feasts and festivals. Some of those feasts celebrate good tidings while some of them encourage Muslims to think about their spiritual lives.
This year a record 100,000 Muslims showed up at a Birmingham, England park to celebrate the feast of Eid in Europe.
The Birmingham Eid celebration, also called Celebrate Eid, is held annually at Birmingham’s Small Heath Park. This year’s celebration marked the seventh edition of the celebration organized by the Green Lane Masjid and Community Center. The Center usually collaborates with five mosques in the area to organize and coordinate the event. A spokesperson for the center said that this year, the center worked with the mosques and a charity organization called Human Appeal to host the event. “Eid is one of the most important festivals in the Islamic community, and we wanted to show the unity of Muslims during this event,” he said. He also added that the turn-up this year overwhelmed even the organizers.
In an unprecedented display of unity and faith, 106,000 Muslims from the United Kingdom and from around the globe gathered at the small park to celebrate Eid. They all joined in the morning prayers and sermons typical to the Eid celebrations. Afterward, the crowd broke up, and families got together to celebrate the day away. Children ran around in their new clothes as adult Muslims gathered together for fun activities. In Birmingham, they played miniature golf and took turns at fairground running. Some competed in laser clay pigeon shooting while others simply sat and caught up with each other. Together, they reflected on the day’s teachings, on the words of Allah’s Messenger Jibril to the Prophet Muhammad and took advantage of the lifting of the fast of Ramadan.
All around the park several police officers patrolled. The added security was on account of the recent attacks on the Finsbury Park Mosque, and other areas in the United Kingdom.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world observe forty days of fasting and prayer. They abstain from any food or drink during the day. They also do not smoke or engage in sexual activity during these periods. All able Muslims observe this fasting period with meditation and prayer. When the sun sets, however, Muslims gather together for iftar meals, sharing and celebrating the mission of the Prophet Muhammad. And when the sun rises again, they fast.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan, and as such, it is aptly named the “Breaking of the Fast.” For two days after the end of Ramadan, Muslims gather and feast as they usher in another month, the month of Shawwal.
The Birmingham Eid celebration was the largest ever in Europe, and the event organizers expressed their hope that the Muslims attending celebration would grow in number over the coming years. The organizers also used the day to congratulate Muslims for observing the charity requirement of Ramadan by raising almost half a million US dollars to Human Appeal. The funds will go towards rehabilitating Syrian children orphaned during the country’s civil war.