Greetings of “Eid Mubarak” and calls to prayer resonated through the large hall at the Frederick Fairgrounds Sunday morning as several hundred Frederick County residents gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the feast of Eid al-Fitr.
Tables full of Dunkin’ Donuts doughnuts and coffee lined the walls of the morning’s prayer room. Outside, venders prepared for the Eid carnival by preparing halal food and inflating multiple bounce houses for the kids.
All were welcome treats after a month of abstention. In Islam, Eid al-Fitr is the first day of the month following Ramadan, the month during which the Prophet Muhammed received the Quran.
Traditionally, Muslims commemorate Ramadan by fasting from sun up to sun down. Many do not eat or drink anything during the day in recognition of the Islamic pillar of Sawm, or fasting. Although Muslims eat before sunrise and after sunset during Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr is the feast to break the month of fasting.
“Eid means a lot of things,” said Dr. Syed Haque, chairman of the Islamic Society of Frederick. “It means happiness and celebration, but basically it’s the end of Ramadan.”
Eid al-Fitr, the first of two annual Eids, also has significance related to the Islamic pillar for charity, or zakat in Arabic. After fasting for all of Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to give charity to help those in need, Haque said.
“You must donate before you can stand for the Eid al-Fitr prayer,” Haque said.
The joyous, public celebration came at a time of mourning for some American Muslim communities. In nearby Fairfax County, Va., 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was murdered a week before Eid. Earlier in June, Montgomery County student Shadi Adi Najjar was shot dead along with his friend Artem Ziberov the night before their high school graduation.
Several officers with the Frederick Police Department were present Sunday at the request of the Islamic Society. Concerns for security, however, did not slow down the celebration. This year the Islamic Society opted to host the Eid carnival at the Frederick Fairgrounds rather than at their south Frederick mosque.
“Those incidents we believe are not really hate crimes, but nevertheless there was a little apprehension about safety among Muslims in Baltimore and D.C.,” Haque said. “We are fortunate here in Frederick and thank God there have been no such incidents here.”
Follow Cameron Dodd on Twitter: @CameronFNP