“Eid-al-Fitr is the three-day festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan for my family and thousands of other Muslim families in China.
The Best Clothes
Early on the first day of Eid-al-Fitr I will lead the family in ceremonial washing, after which, for this very special day, we put on our best clothes. Soon it will be time to go to the mosque for communal prayers. I will be taking my eldest son XiangRong as I did last year. But this year XiangJun, who turned 12 a few months ago, will be joining us as well since he has been fasting for the first time this Ramadan.
Giving Earns Rewards
After the prayers and talk from the imam of the mosque we’ll head home, greeting everyone with ‘Mubarak’ (blessings) and ‘Assallamalaikum’ (Peace be with you). On the way, I’ll also give money to the poor who are lined up on the streets outside the mosque. This is my ‘zakat al-fitr’, giving alms, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars are the required practices of my religion. My giving shows gratitude to Allah for his provision last year and, I trust, for the coming year also. I believe my giving earns spiritual rewards too, that will enable me to reach paradise.
The Best Food
While my sons and I are at the mosque, my wife, LiJuan, will have prepared some of our traditional and favourite dishes. Ones like Nao Nao, flour powder cooked with bean curd, some vegetables and beef, Shou zhua rou, which are large pieces of boiled mutton that we eat with our hands, and momo, a big round bread baked in our oven. After our delicious meal, I will bless the family. First blessing my own grandparents and parents, then my children. The children get small gifts of money from my wife and I and their grandparents.
Setting an Example
By observing Eid-al-Fitr I am setting an example for my sons to follow after me, so their sons can follow their fathers’ examples. For the second and third days of Eid-al-Fitr the whole family will visit our relatives’ homes for meals. After each meal we also give some cash gifts to their children. There is always lots of laughter at this time! Before I have to go back to work, I will go round to our non-Muslim neighbours, who we know well, and give them some of my wife’s cooked Nao Nao and mutton to bless them and wish them a happy Eid-al-Fitr.”
This originally appeared in OMF UK’s Billions magazine ‘Meeting Our Muslims Neighbours’ May-August 2019.
Will you pray for East Asia’s Muslims?
- Celebrating Eid-al-Fitr is an important family time. Pray for God to bless family relationships.
- Pray for Muslims who may have learned more about Jesus during Ramadan to have more opportunities to learn of his love.
- Many Muslims will try and keep up habits formed in the fasting month. How could you pray for God’s blessing on East and Southeast Asia’s Muslims beyond Ramadan?