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Observed by millions of Muslims worldwide, Ramadan is an interesting mix of austerity and celebration. Read on to find out why it’s so important to the Islamic faith
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What you'll learn
The spiritual benefits of fasting
The rituals and practices during Ramadan
The importance of community and charity during Ramadan
The history and evolution of Ramadan as a religious observance
3 Top Key Ideas (26 total)
Eid literally means a “festival” or “feast” in Arabic. There are two major eids in the Islamic calendar per year – Eid al-Fitr earlier in the year and Eid al-Adha later.
Eid al-Fitr is a three-day-long festival and is known as the “Lesser” or “Smaller Eid” when compared to Eid al-Adha, which is four-days-long and is known as the “Greater Eid.”
Eid al-Fitr features two to three days of celebrations that include special morning prayers. People greet each other with “Eid Mubarak,” meaning “Blessed Eid” and with formal embraces. Sweet dishes are prepared at home and gifts are given to children and to those in need. In addition, Muslims are encouraged to forgive and seek forgiveness. Practices vary from country to country.
The other festival, Eid al-Adha, is the “feast of the sacrifice.” It comes at the end of the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage by millions of Muslims to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that is obligatory once in a lifetime, but only for those with means.
Eid al-Adha recalls the story of how God commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as a test of faith. The story, as narrated in the Quran, describes Satan’s attempt to tempt Ibrahim so he would disobey God’s command. Ibrahim, however, remains unmoved and informs Ismail, who is willing to be sacrificed.
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