Friday is an important day in the life of a Muslim and it is believed that any devotional acts done on this day gain a higher reward. It's like Sunday for Christians. This day however should not be understood as a Sabbath, for Muslims reject the belief that God rested after Creation. The reason for the selection of Friday is due to the belief that Adam was created on that day. Believers attend congregational prayer at the local mosque, perform prayer and listen to a sermon by the Imam. When the holidays occur, it is according to the lunar Islamic calendar. This calendar does not correct for the fact that the lunar year does not match the solar year. Therefore, the Islamic months precess each year; they shift relative to the Gregorian calendar by about 11 days.
Ramadan lasts for 30 days and people fast during the day light hours. (From sunrise to sunset). During this time, people work less hours so shops close a bit earlier. This doesn't affect most places. If you do visit Qatar during this time, please know that out of respect, it's good to not eat in front of people during this time. Ramadan starts when the moon is full and can only be seen in the desert. This means that each year Ramadan starts at a different time. If you want to see what Ramadan starts this year, CLICK HERE.
Eid (عيد) is the Arabic word for feast. Eid ul-Fitr (عيد الفطر) is the holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan and the month-long fast. During Ramadan, Muslims all over the world fast from dawn (before sun rise) to sun down, having their first daily meal at sun down prayer time. The purpose of fasting is to teach Muslims patience and humility, as well as to remind Muslims that they are fortunate and should help the needy and less fortunate. After sun down of the last day of Ramadan, Eid ul-Fitr starts. In the early morning of the first day of Shawwal (first day of the Eid), Muslims perform a ritual prayer called the Eid prayer. Sweets, food, and non-alcoholic drinks are distributed in mosques and houses. Celebrations extend up to three days in Islamic countries.
Eid ul-Adha (عيد الأضحى), also called the big holiday, falls approximately 70 days after Eid ul-Fitr and is celebrated in honor of the prophet Abraham when he intended to sacrifice his son Ishmael as a proof of his loyalty to God. Eid ul-Adha is translated into English as "The Feast of Sacrifice", when Muslims all over the world present an animal (usually a cow or a sheep) sacrifice as a gratitude action for God saving the Prophet Ismail's life. The slaughtered animal meat is divided into thirds, one for the person who is presenting the beast, one to be distributed to his poor relatives, and the last third for the needy, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. As with Eid ul-Fitr, there is an early morning prayer for the Eid, and celebrations are extended for Four days. It falls two months and 10 days after the Little Feast. Those who are economically able to make a pilgrimage to Mecca do so just before this date, on the Hajj.
The 1st of Muharram is the New Year on the Islamic Calendar. In Arabic, the new year is called, "R'as as-Sana." It is not generally celebrated as an official Islamic holiday, although many Muslim communities have devised or revived some kind of new year ritual celebration.
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