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Entries in Islam (17)


Eid-ul-Fitr 2011! Or is It? Yes, it Is. Or it Was.

Eid Mubarak from your friendly Internet neighborhood Muslims.

Just look at those smiles.


So, yesterday was Eid-ul-Fitr, unanimously agreed amongst Muslims as the biggest day of the year.  The significance of the day is simply the end of Ramadan, the month in which we fast for various reasons.

Eid-ul-Fitr basically means "Festival of the Fast."  It falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan, both of which are months in the Islamic lunar calendar.  Like Eid ul Adha, Eid actually begins after sunset because it depends on the moon.

More on that in a minute.

We celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by doing the things most other religious communities do when they have a holiday... eat food, visit family, eat more food, visit more family... and give gifts.




Anyway.  Back to multicultural education.

The funny thing about Eid-ul-Fitr is that it's always kind of a guessing game.  See, the end of the lunar month for Muslims depends on the sighting of a new moon.

And this is where it gets confusing.

What, in 2011, constitutes a "moon sighting"?

Furthermore, with the advent of connectivity all over the world, do you celebrate when the moon is sighted in your country, in Mecca (the spiritual epicenter of Islam), or anywhere on Earth?

And, wow, if we end up populating Mars, what would Muslims who live THERE do ...

Some Islamic scholars, particularly those in Saudi Arabia, insist that the sighting must be an actual sighting with the naked eye while others are okay with using a telescope.  Either way, a person has to actually see the new moon for it to be Eid.

Others, specifically associations in North America, have postulated that since a new moon can be scientifically calculated, we can determine the occurrence of Eid-ul-Fitr through that.

And then in South Asia, they generally celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr a day later than whenever Saudi does because... honestly, I don't know why.

Something about geographic location and the sighting being off due to that.  Or just being ornery.  And also because desis are always late to everything.  I made that last part up, but it's highly logical if you think about it.

And THEN there are people all over the world that don't care whether they see the moon in their country or not, only if people in Saudi Arabia were able to see the moon and they celebrate when Saudis celebrate.

The point being that not every Muslim in the world celebrates Eid-ul-Fitr on the same day and that the reasons for that are different.

That's because we are a diverse community.  With different opinions.

Who knew?  Apparently, less people than I wish.

I only tell you all this to illustrate one point.

You know how people think "we" are trying to take over in some secret Muslim ninja plot to institute Sharia Law in the United States?

People, we can't even seem to figure out how to celebrate Eid, a holiday that has been around since the inception of our religion, on the same day as each other.

I don't think you have anything to worry about, Ms. Coulter.


I bet you want to know when I celebrated Eid.

Of course you do.

I, personally, don't think there's anything wrong with the scientific calculation.


I happen to be part of a local community that follows when Eid occurs in Saudi Arabia.  So we celebrate, as a family, when they celebrate in Saudi.

So, anyway, Tuesday was Eid-ul-Fitr.

For me.

In India and Pakistan, it's today.

I think.


Eid Mubarak!

(Belated for North America & the Middle East).

Fifteen Months

Y. has started to talk, but it's that fifteen month inarticulate toddler speak language.

Like, instead of "milk," he'll say "muk."

Cute, right?

He loves graham crackers, much like every other child in the world BESIDES his sister.

Graham crackers is a long word, too long for his sweet little fifteen month mouth.

So, when he wants his favorite snack, he just starts yelling....


And, of course, nothing completes a snack of graham crackers like a nice cup of juice.


I must be doing something right.

My son loves Jews and Crackers.

We may have a shot at world peace, after all.

Send Me Christmas Cards

I have no problem with getting a Christmas card from you.

I just feel like that needs to be said.

Before I say other things that need to be said.

I've been blogging for almost three years.  Every single year, I have witnessed "the great Christmas card debate."

Whether on Twitter or Facebook or some blog... one of us weirdos who doesn't celebrate Christmas decides we're going to say, "Dude.  STOP wishing me a Merry Christmas, I'm a Muslim-Jew-Buddhist-Hindu-Sikh-Kahless worshipper.  I don't.celebrate.Christmas."

Did someone say, "Bah humbug?"

And then everyone else says, "To hell with you, we're just trying to be nice, why don't you stop being so uptight... see what happens when people don't celebrate Christmas?!"

Here's how I see it.

Yes, I don't celebrate Christmas.

But, really?

We're going to be offended by someone telling us to be HAPPY on December 25th?

I mean, does being a Muslim-Jew-Buddhist-Hindu-Sikh-Kahless-worshipper now mean we're not allowed to be happy on December 25th?!

Do I lose my special "Muslim discount at the gas pump" card if I actually am MERRY on CHRISTMAS?!!

This just in... WikiLeaks reveal Muslims gets 30% off on any petroleum based product when they show their "I'm a Muslim" card. President Obama found in possession of fake I.D. Saudis cry foul.

And if I'm merry on that day, is it all YOUR fault for sending me that stupid card and telling me to be merry on Christmas?  How dare you tell me to be happy on Christmas?



Maybe we Muslim-Jews-Buddhists-Hindus-Sikhs-Kahless-worshippers get offended because we remember what it was like before.

Before the "coexist" stickers.

Before teachers were kind enough to actually ask.

Before people started paying attention.

It was all, "Oh nooooo, you don't celebrate Christmas?  That is so, so sad."

This was said as though, beyond Christmas, there was nothing.  As if the vacuum of Christmas in our lives could not possibly be filled with anything comparable.

No Eid, Yom Kippur... whatever the rest of those people celebrate.....

It was as if without Christmas or Easter we were empty.  But.

We were something.

We had something.

People just didn't know enough to care about what it was.

That's where that comes from, you know, that whole, "Don't send me a Christmas card" thing.  It comes from that time when we simply weren't acknowledged.  From that time when people assumed that if what they were was not present in us, then that meant there was nothing in us, at all.

But, this is not then.  This is now.  And now is different.

I don't think that's what a card saying "Merry Christmas" in my mailbox means anymore.

I have Christian, Hindu and Jewish friends that call, Twitter, Facebook or e-mail me on days that are meaningful to me and wish me happiness.  I do the same for them, as well.

We are all still Muslim-Jew-Christian-Buddhist-Hindu-Sikhs-Kahless worshippers of the highest integrity and nobody seems to get offended by these mutual wishes for happiness.

Because, sigh, all we are doing is asking each other to be happy, and I just do not see the big deal here.

I don't think you have to stop being you in order for me to be me, if that makes sense.

So, yes.  You can certainly wish for me to be merry on Christmas.

I hope I'm merry on Christmas.

And that goes for all my Jew-Buddhist-Hindu-Sikh-Kahless worshipping friends, too.

Because God Said So

This is a little redundant in light of yesterday's post, but I had to share.

Overheard at my house.

"Daddy, I want a Barbie."


"But I love her."

"N., I don't like Barbies."

"IIII like them."

"Well.  I don't.  And I'm not buying one for you."

"But, but, but, I LOVE HER!! I WANT ONE!"

"NO. "


"Because...because... Because BARBIE IS NOT A GOOD MUSLIM."

Eid Mubarak

A confession.

On Eid al-Fitr, my daughter got a lot of presents from us, grandparents, extended family and family friends.

I have a clear memory of her sitting on the floor almost drowning in the sea of ribbon and paper that surrounded her.  She was quietly surveying the toys around her and in her characteristically polite tone, she whispered to me, "I want some more."

It was a very shameful moment for me.  Even though nobody else heard her.  Even though she's barely over three.  Even though she was exceedingly polite when she asked for more.  In most people's eyes, given her age, it wasn't exactly rude.

But I was ashamed because I think three years old is old enough to get it.

Today is Eid al-Adha.

Today, Muslims remember the Prophet Abraham and reflect upon the wisdom contained within the events of his life.

If you recall, Abraham (peace be upon him) was asked by God to sacrifice his son as a testament of his faith.  He complied, God rewarded him in the end by switching out the son for an animal.

There's way more poetry to that story than I am letting on here, but you can go read your Quran, Bible or Torah for the details.

A lot of people don't believe this story.  They think it's a fairy tale.  But fairy tales have important lessons in them, too, right?  If you don't believe in God, I can understand why you think we're all wacky.  I guess faith is just one of those things that defies explanation or logic.  I don't think I can say it better than this, "Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time."

I'm sure there are a significant amount of people that think this story is exceedingly cruel, too.

I know that there is a part of me that thinks it is.  I love my daughter so much.  I can't imagine marching her up to the top of a mountain and sacrificing her because God told me to do it.  I suppose that's why Abraham was Abraham and I am me.

I like to think that life is cruel, God is not.  He is our Protector, and so he slowly teaches us in seemingly obtuse ways how to handle human cruelty with grace, endurance and love.

Obviously, some of us are better students than others.

Muslims remember the story of Abraham, though, because today is our day to remember it.

Abraham's story of sacrifice is a metaphorical reminder to me that even the most noble and pious of God's creations can never take any blessing for granted.  Today is as good a reminder as any that we must remember that everything that we enjoy is because of His will and His mercy.

Abraham loved his son.  God reminded him, though, on this day that Abraham's son, like every other blessing in Abraham's life, didn't belong to Abraham.  Abraham's beloved son, in fact, belonged to God.

So, all this got me thinking.

If this is a day where I'm supposed to remember sacrifice, to understand that each blessing I have is ultimately mine through the grace of God, then why am I giving my kid all these toys, again?

How will buying her all these new toys teach her to appreciate this lesson of taking nothing for granted or of sacrifice?

I just got the distinct feeling that it won't.