While the Islamic calendar celebrates two different Eid festivals throughout the year – Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha - both are celebrated for very different reasons. Eid-ul-Fitr is a three-day-long celebration that takes place at the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, at the start of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar; Eid-ul-Adha takes place following the annual Hajj pilgrimage on the tenth day of the twelfth month, Dhu al-Hijjah.
While we’ve previously discussed the differences between the two Eids in greater detail, we will now focus on the importance of Eid-ul-Fitr and why Eid is celebrated, along with Eid dates for 2021.
A direct translation of Eid-ul-Fitr is “the festival of breaking the fast” and commemorates the end of a month-long fast throughout Ramadan for Muslims in the UK and around the world. The festival is a very important time in Islam and allows families, loved ones and communities to come together and celebrate following a month of abstinence and dedication to Allah (SWT).
This is important because it marks the end of Ramadan, the month in which the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Throughout Ramadan, Muslims around the world undertake a fast between the hours of sunset and sunrise and spend a lot of time in self-reflection while studying the Qur’an and connecting with Allah (SWT) on a spiritual level. After a full month of sacrifice and dedication, Eid-ul-Fitr is a time to come together with family and loved ones to enjoy everyday blessings.
‘The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So, whoever sights the new moon of the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and wants for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that to which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.’
- Quran 2:185
Eid-ul-Fitr 2021 – the date when Eid-ul-Fitr takes place is subject to sighting of the moon, however this must be once the blessed and auspicious month of Ramadan has concluded. Sighting of the moon varies around the world, however, here in the UK, your local mosque will be able to confirm exact dates and times closer to the date.
Eid-ul-Adha takes place on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, again subject to sighting of the moon.
Many people ask, “what date is Eid?” and the exact date varies year to year, because of the rotational nature of the lunar calendar.
Eid dates in 2021 are anticipated to fall in the evening of Wednesday 12th May after Ramadan, however this is dependent on the sighting of the moon, so it's always best to check with your local Mosque for confirmation nearer the time.
While this is the expected Eid date in the UK, the exact date of Eid-ul-Fitr normally varies across the world; there are some communities who choose to retain consistency and celebrate at the same time by declaring Eid 2021 once the new moon has appeared above Mecca.
Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated following a successful month of abstaining from both food and drink during daylight hours; this takes a lot of self-control and dedication to bring oneself spiritually closer to Allah (SWT) through prayer and worship in commemoration of the month when the Qur’an was first revealed.
To celebrate a full month of fasting in this way, Eid al Fitr is a joining together of family, friends, and communities to feast and enjoy the food that has been provided by Allah (SWT).
Eid-ul-Fitr festival is an important way to mark the end of Ramadan, however, before the festivities can begin, there are a number of important rituals that must first take place to give true thanks to Allah (SWT) for all he has done.
Dawn prayers – also known as Fajr – are performed with your family before the ‘ghusl’ cleansing, which purifies the whole body. After the cleansing or ablution, the family prepare for the day, by wearing the finest clothes they own, or new clothes they have bought for the occasion. Families then head over to the local mosque to wish friends, family and the local community “Eid Mubarak” and begin Eid prayers.
Zakat-ul-Fitr, or Fitrana, is an Eid charity donation which must be made before Eid prayers commence, as this is distributed amongst the most needy to ensure they can take part in Eid festivities.
It’s also traditional to exchange gifts, particularly between young children and close family members. This holiday is also known as “The Lesser Eid” or “Sweet Eid” due to the increased number of sweet snacks available and also because this day holds less importance in the Islamic calendar than Eid-ul-Adha.
‘Worship God and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet) ... Verily, God does not like such as are proud and boastful.’
Eid is a joyous time and many Muslim communities look forward to the celebrations with eagerness. Are you making plans for Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr this year? Eid charity donations are commonly made at this time of year, whether as Zakat donations or Zakat-ul-Fitr.
If you’d like to pay or prepare your Zakat donation, please visit our Zakat calculator to work out the amount owed or use our Zakat-ul-Fitr donation page to make your Fitrana contribution to help those in need celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr this year.
‘Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve’
- Surah Al-Baqarah 2:277