Research papers on Islamic holidays can look at the major holidays or cover just one holiday. Whether it is based upon religion or nationalism the holidays that are Islamic have a rich history of tradition in the Middle East. Have Paper Masters help with your research today.
- Eid al-Fitr
- Eid al-Adha
The celebration of these two holidays varies each year, as they are both calculated on the Islamic, lunar, calendar, as opposed to the solar Gregorian calendar used in the West.
Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is celebrated at end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting and prayer. In the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr occurs on the first day of the month of Shawwal. It is often celebrated for up to three days. By tradition, it is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. Devout Muslims wake up, have a small, sweet breakfast and then attend special Eid prayer, the salaat. Muslims are also supposed to perform an obligatory act of charity. In Saudi Arabia, many families decorate their homes for Eid al-Fitr, marked by both generosity and hospitality.
The other of the major Islamic holidays is Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice. This holiday celebrates the story Abraham (Ibrahim) being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac in submission to God. In the Islamic Calendar, this holiday falls on the 10th ay of Dhu al-Hijjah, and last for four days. Men, women, and children dress their finest and attend Eid prayer at the mosque. Gifts are exchanged, and there is a feast of the best animal. One third of the meat is kept for the family, one third given to relatives, and one-third donated to the poor and needy.
The place of worship in the Islamic faith tradition is the mosque. While mosques are used primarily as the venues for religious practice, they also often serve as a community center for Muslims. This is particularly true in places like the United States, in which Muslims are a distinct minority in most communities.
Mosques often have fountains for ablution, or ritual cleansing. Typical mosques have little or no furniture, and unlike many Christian churches, they contain no religious images, although verses of the Qur'an are often displayed on the walls.
Another important interior feature of the typical mosque is the qibla wall, which stands in alignment with the direction of Mecca and serves as a focal point during prayers. In Arab countries, the architecture of the mosque often includes a dome, although this feature is not always present in American mosques.
There are a number of other distinguishing characteristics that are unique to Islamic practice. Most significantly, there is a great deal of interplay between religious, family, social, and civic life in many Islamic communities. This tendency stands in sharp contrast to the often stark differentiation between religious worship and other activities that is common among Christians in the United States.
Some analysts have contended that this aspect of Islam has led to insularity in the Muslim community. It has also significantly impacted the religious practices of Muslim believers living in the United States, who often find it difficult to reconcile the all-encompassing scope of Islamic religious practice with the secular context of much of American culture. These challenges, along with many other aspects of modern Islamic practice, will likely impact the future development and evolution of the religion in the twenty-first century.
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