What are the major Islamic festivals?
- Idul Fitre, marks the end of fasting in the month of Ramadan and is celebrated with public prayers, feasts and exchange of gifts. Idul Adha marks the end of the Hajj or the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. After the public prayers, those who can afford, sacrifice a lamb or a goat to signify Prophet Abraham’s obedience to God, shown by his readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
Known as the “Feast of Breaking of the Fast” which marks the end of Ramadan. It falls on the first day of the next month, Shawwal and celebration lasts 3 days.
Known as the “Feast of the Sacrifice” is the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. It is a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of submission to Allah’s command and Ismail’s acceptance to being sacrificed. According to the story, despite being very sharp, the knife did not cut Ismail by following the command of Allah and great angel Jibreel (Gabriel) brought a ram to be sacrificed instead. Eid al-Adha celebrations last 4 days.
Important days and nights in Islam
Islamic New Year
It is the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The first Islamic year began in 610 AD with the Hijra of Prophet Muhammad and the first Muslims from Mecca to Medina.
The Day of Ashura
Is the 10th day of Muharram. It is the day Prophet Noah’s ship landed on ground after The Flood. It is the day Red Sea was split off so that Prophet Musa and the believers escaped the Pharaoh and his army chasing them. It is also the day where Allah accepted the tawba (repentance) of the peoples of Prophet Adam and Prophet Yusuf (Joseph).
Day of Arafa
It is the 9th day of the month Dhu al-Hijjah -the last month in the Islamic Calendar). It is also the second day of Hajj. The next day is the first day of Eid al-Adha.
Known as The Night of Power, The Night of Destiny as well. First verses of the Quran were revealed to prophet Muhammad in this night. It is in the last 10 days of Ramadan however exact day is not known. It is the most important night in Islam. Surat Al-Qadr describes its importance.
Laylat al Raghaib
It is the first Friday night of month Rajab. According to some scholars, it is the night where Prophet Muhammad’s mother realized she was pregnant.
Laylat al Bara’at
It is the 15th night of the month of Sha’aban. It is known as Shab-e-barat as well. According to some scholars, Quran was brought to the earth’s heaven from Lawh Al-Mahfuz (Protected tablets where everything is written).
Laylat al Mi’raj
It is the night Prophet Muhammad ascended to the Jannah (Paradise). The part journey from Mecca to Jerusalem is called Isra and Mi’raj is the second part of the journey where Prophet Muhammad was ascended to Allah’s presence and to Jannah. Salah (daily prayers) became mandatory after this journey.
It is the last Friday in Ramadan. Every Friday is a mubarak (blessed) day for Muslims including the last Friday of Ramadan.
Going to mazaar (graveyards) is a Sunnah. The intention must be to remind ourselves death and Akhirah (afterlife). Quran can be read for the deceased. You can also pray for the deceased.
Mawlid Al Nabi
Known as Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi or Barafawat as well. It is the celebration of birthday of Prophet Muhammad. İmam Suyutî had called it as a bidat-i haseenah (a good innovation).
Kheer Puri Niyaaz
It is a Shia tradition, Sunnis do not and should not celebrate it. It is based on a fabricated story “of a woodcutters’ wife praying on the 22nd of Rajab due to the economical hardships in addition to her husband being far away from her trying to make money”.