I’m sitting on my couch on a warm summer afternoon. The only sound is the fan breathing cool air into the room. If I close my eyes I can almost imagine I am in Egypt listening to the Call to Prayer echo across the city. For a moment I am intensely homesick….and then I will the feelings away. I wrote the post below last year but it seems appropriate, given the number of new readers to Communicating Across Boundaries, that I repost.
Perhaps you have shared an Eid feast in the past with Muslim friends, perhaps you are Muslim yourself and enjoying a day of feasting –either way I hope you enjoy the read and would love to hear from you.
Today marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, and begins a 3-day celebratory holiday called Eid-al-Fitr. After living so many years in Muslim countries I miss the celebrations and the time off. I miss the beautiful clothes and the spirit of festivity. As I rushed to catch the subway I almost bumped into a beautiful Pakistani couple on their way early morning to an Eid celebration. She had on an emerald-green shalwar chemise with gold embroidery and he was splendid in a Jinnah suit. Their little boy looked like he belonged in a Pakistani wedding, so regal for a pre-schooler. In delight I greeted them with the traditional “Eid Mubarak!” wishing them a “Blessed Feast”.
While Ramadan creates a sense of lethargy and far less activity, Eid-al-Fitr will change the landscape and bring on festivities and food! Menus and cuisine vary according to country, with Egypt serving special sweets called “Kahk” and date-filled cookies and Pakistan serving huge plates of biryani (spicy rice and chicken) and kheer , a sweet rice dish.
Hospitality, always a high priority, is even more visible and there is a special charity expected during Eid-al-Fitr.
I remember this holiday from the time I was young. My first memory probably comes from Hyderabad, Pakistan where my father took my brothers and me out to watch Eid prayers at a large mosque. Thousands of men, all dressed in new clothes, and all bowing in unison with no sounds but the Call to Prayer and their personal quiet murmurings “Bismillah, ir Rahman ir Rahim” (In the Name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate) made a strong impression on me as a child. The picture has stayed with me through all the Eid celebrations I have witnessed through the years.
As a child and as an adult I have been welcomed into many homes during Eid al Fitr to celebrate with Muslim families. In my adult years, I have to confess that I have never reciprocated by inviting a Muslim family to dinner on Christmas. It is not something of which I am proud.
The lens through which we view the world is shaped by many things. I think I speak for many of us who grew up in the Muslim world, but were not Muslims, that we are often perplexed by the vehemence and hostility with which people respond to the Muslim world. This was not something that our parents taught us, not something that we were familiar with as children. While no one can deny nor justify the horror of terrorism and events in this country on 9/11, equating all Muslims and fearing them as terrorists is like equating all Christians as Westboro Baptist church.
An NPR story that came to my attention through my brother Stan called A Ramadan Story Of Two Faiths Bound In Friendship : NPR speaks to something more familiar; friendship between people with a recognition that there are distinct differences between Islam and Christianity. My friend Nancy, who grew up in Al Ain but went to school in Pakistan, commented on the article that “Sheikh Zayed made a compound, land AND a chapel available to the handful of missionaries who set up the Oasis Hospital in Al Ain in 1960. He wanted health care for the people, and he wasn’t threatened by their faith” My brother recalled “a story 150 years ago when Kyrgyz welcomed Mennonite farmers newly arrived in Central Asia. They offered them the use of their mosque for their Sunday meeting until they had their own place of worship.”
To build relationships with people of other faiths is not compromising our faith. Rather, it’s living out a faith that is not threatened but firm.
I am not a Muslim, but today I wish my Muslim friends Eid Mubarak and am grateful to them for what I have learned through the years about devotion, faith, and hospitality.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8”
- During Ramadan, Pakistanis Dodge Tax Collectors (huffingtonpost.com)
- EID AL – FITR….. the count Down (mimiiluv.wordpress.com)
- Prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan (photoblog.nbcnews.com)
10 thoughts on “Re-post – Eid Mubarak! عید مُبارک”
hi I was just browsing Eid messages on Google. Luckily found this article. Very inspiring and much impressed. I am Pakistani girl living in USA with husband and kids. Missing my families and festivities of Pakistan. Reading your article made me feel so proud being Pakistani Muslim. Marilyn u r truly amazing woman plz reply me because this article is 2 years old but I wish u reply me. Thanks
Afsheen- this comment brought tears to my eyes. I am right now at a reunion with people who love Pakistan, whose names are written on the land of your country. And I wish you a blessed Eid! May God bless you!
Thank you so much Marilyn.so glad to see your response. . Because this time when all over world Muslims specially Pakistan being called terrorist country. I love your thoughts and feelings for Pakistan. I salute you. plz keep in touch and share your articles.Thanks again
Thank you my brother … that is a beautiful article… I lived in Izmir, Turkiye for 7 yrs with my family … I went to share Jesus and to plant a church but I left a better person, so loving their culture, their hospitality … made rich by gracious friendships… this article bless me…. thank you Claudia
Thank you so much for reading Claudia! I know what it is like to go somewhere and be completely overwhelmed by gracious hospitality – I too love Turkiye!
I can relate to a lot of this. I grew up in a mixed household, with a Catholic mother and a Muslim father. I was pretty much raised Muslim and spent parts of my childhood in the US, where I was born, and parts in Abu Dhabi, where a lot of my family lived. As a kid in the 90s, there wasn’t a whole lot of hostility towards Islam in the West, so I never had to deal with any of that, but I feel bad for those who do today. And I think there are always some identity issues with growing up this way; as a kid who was both an American and a Muslim, I never felt like I completely “belonged” in either culture.
But the most important thing is to focus on what makes us similar and what binds us together. This is a great piece. Eid Mubarak!
Thanks so much for reading and offering your perspective. What an interesting background and such a picture of living between worlds. I’m interested in how your background between worlds has shaped where you are now living, your faith journey etc. So glad you came by.
We have recently moved, far away from our Muslim friends back in Massachusetts. It hasn’t been long enough for us to meet any Muslims here, although by next year with my husband’s outgoing personality, I’m sure we will have met some. So before I go and look up a phone number or two to call my Eid greetings, I will take the time to wish Marilyn’s Muslim readers Eid Mubarak, many blessings of this special day of celebration for you, with my love.
You must miss this Mom! My prayers are that you quickly meet those folks around you who need you and Dad! There are many I am sure.
Last evening I took my grandson, his sister and Mum for a curry to celebrate his 25th birthday. The restaurant is owned by their former next door neighbours, Bengalis (as most usual for “Indian” restaurants in UK), and whose daughter was a best friend of my grand-daughter when they were little.
We were welcomed like family, and he was surprised when I said “Eid Mubarak” for Sunday. “How did you know?”, he asked!
The food was wonderful.