Millions of Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr

Millions of Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr

The holy month of Ramadan has ended today with the Eid al-Fitr holiday ["festival of breaking of the fast"]. During the whole month millions of Muslims around the world refrained from eating and drinking before sunset. Today muslims has been making festive prayers in the mosques since the early morning.

Eid al-Fitr is the second main holiday after Eid al-Adha. The day of Eid falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal.

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one or three days in various Muslim countries. It is officially announced as a non-working day in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Crimea, Adygeya, Tatarstan and Bashkiria.

The tradition dates back to 624 AD, the times of Prophet Muhammad. On the eve of the festive prayer Muslims are recommended to wake up early, perform ablutions, dress in their best clothes and women put on jewelry. The holiday requires visiting cemeteries to recite Quran over the graves.

Muslims ask each other for forgiveness and read Quran verses. In addition, Muslims give mandatory charity - Zakat al-Fitr - to atone for errors and omissions made during Ramadan, as well as to help those in need. This charity remains obligatory until the beginning of `Eid Prayer.

The chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia and the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Russia, Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, called on the ummah to always be generous and maintain the spiritual purity.

"After the end of Ramadan, we are facing a new, even more difficult task to save this spiritual purity newfound at this blessed time by abstaining from everything sinful and immoral," TASS cited him as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian Muslims with Eid al-Fitr - a religious holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"Russian Muslims, by relying on centuries-old religious, historical and cultural traditions, widely celebrate this holiday - both in their communities and with their friends and family. During these days, people usually summarize spiritual achievements during the fast and attend to those who needs help," Putin said.

"Today, we witness what a full life the Russian Muslim ummah leads: mosques are being built, the Bulgarian Islamic Academy was founded, universities and madrasas are being established, the system of Islamic education and Muslims’ pilgrimage to holy sites is being improved. Cooperation is expanded with muftis from the CIS countries and foreign coreligionists," the Russian president stressed.

Putin also noted the considerable contribution the Muslim community makes in developing inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue, and in actively facilitating cooperation with the state and public structures in matters of charity and education. 

"Such fruitful, multifaceted activities enjoy the support of the whole society, contributes to maintaining civil peace and accord in the country," the president noted.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has also congratulated Russian Muslims with Eid al-Fitr.

"The month of Ramadan has ended, this is the time of spiritual purification and prayers, mercy and forgiveness. And one of the main Muslim holidays has come signifying the end of the fast. During these days, millions of people practicing Islam strive to do as many good things as possible, to show care and attention to friends and relatives," Medvedev said.

The prime minister noted that the ummah in Russia makes a lot nowadays for developing inter-religious dialogue, cooperating with state authorities, strengthening inter-ethnic accord in the country. 

"Among things that deserve sincere respect is broad educational activities of authoritative religious leaders, thanks to which traditional values of Islam, culture and education are being preserved, universities are being opened, and new mosques are being built," he noted.

Muslims gathered at the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, the Moscow Memorial Mosque on Poklonnaya Gora, as well as the Yardem mosque and started prayers at 7.00am. The prayers started in 9.00am at the Moscow Historical Mosque. The Moscow City Government has allocated three additional sites for prayers: the Izumrudny Physical Education and Health-Improvement Complex, near the building of the South River Station, and the pavilion N2 at the Sokolniki Culture and Recreation Park. In addition, 37 locations in the city’s suburbs will be available for worshipers.

Over 200,000 Muslims in Moscow are expected to take part in morning prayers, according to the Russian Council of Muftis and at least 80 thousand in the suburbs.