Islamic Holidays and Celebrations: In Islam, happiness is the voice of an Imam or Sheikh as he is preaching and giving speech in a clear cheerful voice, with the low murmurs of people greeting each other in warm tones, and the laughter of children running around with toys in their hands, showing off their new outfits and toys.
The holidays and celebrations of Islam have a peaceful impression on the soul; as everyone gets to forget about their worldly concerns and worries, and enjoy the peaceful days Allah bestows upon us as Eid and days of happiness.
Islamic holidays and celebrations:
Muslims around the world wait patiently for the yearly Islamic holidays and celebrations, in which they would get prepared for having fun, and enjoying themselves in special and unique ways.
There are many Islamic celebrations and holidays around the year:
1- Eid Al-Fitr:
Eid Al-Fitr is one of the most joyous holidays and celebrations of Islam that Muslims around the world anticipate with great excitement every year. Eid Al-Fitr marks the three days that follow the end of the month of Ramadan on the Hijri calendar.
Many Islamic scholars have concluded that Allah has probably graced us with Eid Al-Fitr after the end of Ramadan to allow all the Muslims who have endured fasting during Ramadan to celebrate themselves, and to have the Muslims who achieved some self-improvement during the holy month celebrate their achievements.
Due to this belief, Muslims around the world have been creative in their celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr, making special food for such a happy occasion; such as: Maamoul, Sheer Khurma, and Tufahiji.
Muslims also celebrate Eid Al-Fitr through performing the prayer of Eid, listening to the Imam’s speech, exchanging sweets and desserts, visiting friends and family, and arranging for fun outings.
2- Eid Al-Adha:
Another major celebration of ours is Eid Al-Adha, which has a unique significance in the hearts of all Muslims. Eid Al-Adha starts on the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah on the Hijri calendar, and lasts for four days.
The term “Eid Al-Adha” can be translated into “the feast of the animal sacrifice”, which reflects its true significance. This celebration signifies the blind obedience of prophet Ibrahim in sacrificing his son prophet Ismael, who was later substituted by an Udhia, an animal sacrifice.
This historical event also highlights the forbiddance of human sacrifice in Islam, and Eid Al-Adha celebrates the end of such awful tradition. Therefore, the situation of Ibrahim and Ismael wasn’t because Allah wanted to sacrifice Ismael, but because Allah wanted to loudly and clearly banish such an extremely hateful and inhumane act.
Since it’s “the feast of the animal sacrifice”, Muslims mainly celebrate by doing animal sacrifices, and giving it out as Sadaqah. Not only that, but also eating the meat of the animal sacrifices is also one of the unique traditions of celebrating Eid Al-Adha.
3- Every Friday:
Every Friday is one of the Islamic celebrations and holidays, but what makes it special is that it doesn’t happen once a year, or even once a month, but once a week. Its frequent recurrence has its great benefits and its hardships that were overcome by Islamic rules of how to celebrate on Friday.
Imagine a weekly day that signifies a chance for self-improvement, and easy spiritual elevation. What a treasure! Mohammed (PBUH) has recommended reading Surah Al-Insan and Surah As-Sajdah on the Fajr of Friday, performing the prayer of Jumaa is mandatory, and listening to the speech of Imam is highly recommended.
Our wise prophet has explained why Friday stands out from the rest of the days of the week in a Hadith: “The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created. On it, he was made to enter Paradise, on it, he was expelled from it. And the last hour will take place on no day other than Friday”.
Because this Eid happens every week, it’s easy for people to stop holding it in the same position as Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, but Allah’s wisdom didn’t miss this point.
On Friday, in preparation for the prayer in the mosque, Muslims are highly recommended to take a shower, wear their best outfits, and men should wear refreshing perfumes. These traditions would naturally flood Muslim communities with happiness and cheerfulness.
4- Hijri New Year:
The Hijri New Year is an event that happens once a year, yet due to its importance and influence, it can affect us the whole year around. This Islamic holiday is held on the first day of Muharram on the Hijri calendar, which is the first day of the Hijri year.
The Hijri year is given its name to refer to the day on which our noble prophet (PBUH) has left Mecca, and migrated to Al-Madina; so, the Hijri new year is set on the day of the prophet’s migration.
On that day, the prophet felt reluctant to leave Mecca, his hometown, but he carried out the divine order to leave for Al-Madina. In Al-Madina, the prophet and his companions, whether from Mecca or Al-Madina, were an example of true and ideal Muslim people, who were able to build a good Muslim community.
It’s recommended during the Hijri new year for us Muslims to listen to religious lectures about the Hijra (migration), the absolute obedience to Allah, the characteristics of a Muslim community and the different relationships among members of such a community, and healthy patriotism.
5- Al-Israa W Al-Miraj:
Al-Israa W Al-Miraj is an annual holiday and celebration in Islam that takes place on the 27th of Rajab on the Hijri calendar.
This day celebrates the miraculous journey of our noble prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Jerusalem (Al-Israa), and then his ascension to the seventh heaven (Al-Miraj), where Salat has become mandatory.
This journey war recorded in the Quran, in Surah Al-Israa: “Glory be to the One Who took His servant ˹Muḥammad˺ by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs. Indeed, He alone is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing”.
On this day Muslims celebrate by sending blessings upon our generous prophet Muhammed (PBUH), and by listening to lectures about the event of Al-Israa and Al-Miraj, its significance, and what to learn from it.
6- The day of Ashura:
The day of Ashura is an annual celebration that Muslims around the world wait on the 9th and 10th of Muharram on the Hijri calendar.
On that day, Muslims are advised to follow the steps of prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and fast from sunrise to sunset. We fast on the day of Ashura as a way to thank Allah for bestowing peace upon the believers, and as a celebration that long ago believers were victorious and survived the oppression of Pharaon.
It’s narrated that when the prophet (PBUH) migrated to Al-Madina, he found some groups of Jews fasting on the 10th of Muharram, and when asked why, they answered: “This is a blessed day. On this day, Allah saved Musa and drowned the people of Pharaon, and so Prophet Musa (PBUH) fasted on this day to give thanks to Allah..”.
Upon hearing their answer, our wise prophet Mohammed decided to recommend all Muslims to fast the day to celebrate such an event.
Though, us Muslims being the joyous people that we are, we filled the day with celebrating traditions; such as: designing a dessert and naming it after the day; Ashura.
7- The day of Arafah:
The day of Arafah is on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah on the Hijri calendar. Yes, it’s one day before the first day of Eid Al-Adha.
The day of Arafah is named after the honorable event that takes place on that day every year; the pilgrims in Mecca arrive at mountain Arafah to complete their rituals of Hajj.
The mountain of Arafah is also called “the mountain of mercy”; due to the mercy that spreads all over the world on such a day. On this day, even the Muslims who are not doing Hajj have the chance to win a place in heaven.
Fasting on this day is highly and extremely recommended; as it cleanses away the sins of the previous year, and the coming year. Imagine all our sins of two whole years just cleansed away through one day of fasting! Such a merciful blessing is only granted by Allah the merciful.
Imam As-Shafi explained that: It is mustahab (recommended) to fast on the day of Arafah for those who are not performing Hajj. As for the pilgrim who is performing Hajj, It is mustahab (recommended) for him not to fast.
Islamic celebrations are rituals that feed the soul with faith and Iman and embrace the heart and mind in seclusion from the chaos of the world. Since Islam isn’t a group of orders, but a doctrine of life, celebrating happens through acts of worship; such as: fasting, praying, and doing Duaa.