Tag Archives: Eid

Eid Al Adha


It is Eid again, a time to celebrate! Eid means festivity or celebration in Arabic. Eid Al Adha means the Festival of the Sacrifice. It is an Islamic festivity observed by Muslims around the world, which commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) to follow God’s command to sacrifice his son. Eid Al-Adha also marks the end of the Hajj which means pilgrimage.

Hajj is Muslims annual pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca, and the fifth pillar of Islam. All Muslims who are physically and financially able have to perform this pillar at least once in their lifetime. Millions of Muslims from different parts of the world travel to the Islam’s Holiest city of Mecca to visit the Kaa’ba. The Kaa’ba is the first house of worship ever built by the first mankind, Prophet Adam (PBUH), which was rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and his son.

2245464943_8b056de8d2_bThe Hajj is a ritual that commemorates the trials and tribulations of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and his family, during which pilgrims follow their footsteps. It is perceived as a journey of the body, mind and soul. A time for spiritual connection, asking for forgiveness, a reflection of one’s life and a remembrance of mortality and the Day of Judgment. Hajj takes place during the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. It officially starts on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts for five days.

During Hajj all Muslims are equal and united regardless of colour, ethnicity, gender, language or status. This is reflected by the pilgrim’s dress, which is aimed to show equality and modesty. Men wear two pieces of unstitched white cloth, while women wear simple long and loose garments covering their body showing only their face and hands, therefore not reflecting any wealth.

During the first day of Eid Al Adha Festivities, Muslims dress in new clothes and go to the Mosque for the congregational Eid prayer in the morning. Afterwards they go to the slaughterhouse where the sacrifice is made to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) example of obedience. The meat of the slaughtered sheep is divided into three, a third for the poor, a third to friends and neighbours and a third for the family’s consumption. The rest of the day is spent visiting family, friends and neighbours, gathering to share meals and gifts. The three days of Eid are a time of celebration, generosity and joy.

It is a courtesy to greet your Muslim friend or neighbour by saying Eid Mubarak, which means Blessed Eid.

To understand more about Islam’s 5 pillars you can join our guided visit to the Jumeirah Mosque during the Eid or anytime throughout the year.
jumeirah-mosque

 

 

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Top 10 Phrases Heard in Ramadan


If you are visiting the United Arab Emirates this month, you will probably notice there is something different going on. Well, it happens to be the month of Ramadan! There are some common words and phrases in Arabic that are often used during this month that you might hear, so we made this mini glossary to explain their meanings.

Ramadan Kareem: You probably heard this being said a lot this month. It literally means, “Ramadan is generous”. The Holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Lunar Calendar, which Muslims follow. It is the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) and in which Muslims are ordered to fast from dawn to dusk. It is a month of spirituality and reflection. During the month Muslims increase their prayers, read more Quran, guard their actions, gaze, and speech and improve their mannerisms. They also tend to do more acts of kindness and give out more charity and hence Ramadan is known to be the month of giving and generosity.

Ramadan Kareem

 

Iftar: Literally means “break fast”. It is the meal that Muslims eat at the Sunset prayer, which breaks their fast during the month of Ramadan, marking the end of the day of fasting.

Suhur: Is derived from the Arabic word Sahar which is the later part of the night. It is the pre-dawn meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting during the month of Ramadan. The suhur meal is eaten before the Fajr (dawn) prayer, which is an hour before sunrise.

Alsalam Alaykom: Is an Arabic greeting, which translates to “peace be upon you.” It is a greeting that predates Islam and was very common in Arabia. When you meet someone for the first time you greet them by saying “Alsalam Alaykom” offering them peace, extending friendship and hospitality. It is not related to a specific religion and can be said by anyone.

Maghreb: Means sunset and usually refers to the sunset prayer. In Ramadan this is the time in which Muslims break their fast, ending their day of fasting.

Fajr: Meaning dawn, which is an hour before sunrise, and also refers to the dawn prayer. This is the time in Ramadan which marks the beginning of the fasting day.

Allahu Akbar: Means God is the greatest. Allah is the Arabic word for God, which is similar to the word in Hebrew Elohim and in biblical Aramaic Ellah. This is the first phrase in the call for prayer.

Bism’ellah / Bism’ellah el Rahman el Rahim: Translates to “In the name of God / In the name of God the most merciful the most compassionate.” It is a phrase that Muslims say in the beginning of any daily activity that they do, before performing the Wudu, the abolition (washing ritual prior to praying), before reading any chapters of the Quran, before eating any meal, before traveling on any mode of transportation…etc

Alhamdu’llilah / Alhamdulillah Rab el Alameen: Thank God/ Thank God, Lord of the Universe is what this phrase means. Muslims usually say it at the end of a meal to express gratitude of the blessing they had. It is also said when asked about one’s wellbeing, “how are you” keif halak (m) or keif halek (f).

Eid Mubarak: Eid means festivity and Mubarak means blessed. Together it means blessed festivity, which is usually said as a greeting to mark the end of the month of Ramadan and the 3-day celebration that follows. It is also used to rejoice the end of the Pilgrimage season (Hajj) which ends with a 3-day celebration as well.

eid-fitr-mubarak-cards

We at SMCCU wish you a blessed and peaceful month. We hope you join us to one of our Iftars throughout the month of Ramadan and wish you and your families a Happy and blessed Eid ahead.

Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding offers Arabic courses for week days or weekends. Our next classes are scheduled to begin in July 2016.
Click here for more information

 

 

 

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Hajj Explained by SMCCU & Eid Mubarak



Issue 45

Elements of Culture



Hajj Explained

One of the 5 Acts of Worship


During this lunar calendar month of Dhul Hijah, millions of pilgrims from all over the world will make their way to the city Mecca to visit the Kabbah, the first house and holiest place of worship. Tradition holds that the Kabbah is built near the very spot Adam and Eve first prayed on earth, and is rebuilt by Ibrahim and his son Ismail – an order from Allah. Since that day, the Kabbah has been a place of pilgrimage. Today, Muslims from all levels of society, all cultures & colors, male & female make the trip once in a life time to this place as was taught in the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH. Pilgrims perform rituals which commemorate the story of the Prophet Ibrahim. The Hajj, one of the 5 acts of worship is due upon all Muslims and is to be performed once in a lifetime if you have the means (financial) and you are physically able to do so, and the path to Mecca is safe. It is a time for spiritual contemplation, asking for forgiveness from the Lord, and reflecting on one’s life.


Poetry

Pilgrimage to Mecca – Hajj

Note

Pilgrims on the Mountain of Arafat

Unity of Mankind

The unity and equality of all pilgrims start with the dress. Men wear two pieces of unstitched white cloth and women wear a simple dress with no frills, symbolic yet meaningful. The purpose is to humble and remind us that we are all one human race, equal except by what is in our hearts and our good deeds, which can only be judged by God/Allah. In summary, pilgrims from all over gather in worship no separation between them in any form (color, language, ethnicity, status or background) seeking forgiveness and Mercy. Once all rituals are all fulfilled, the Hajj is complete and pilgrims will celebrate Eid Al Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice.



Eid Al Adha
The Eid begins with a congregational Eid Prayer held after the dawn prayers the morning after the Day of Arafat, one of the most important parts of the pilgrimage. That day, worshippers gather at the “Mountain of Mercy” from the break of dawn until sunset. The following day after the Eid Prayers, most Muslims will sacrifice a sheep, whose meat is distributed in thirds – 1/3 to your immediate family, 1/3 to friends and neighbors 1/3 to the poor people. It is a happy occasion where the Hajj goers are congratulated and people gather to share a meal and gifts. These festivities last for 5 days in the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed, PBUH.

Please visit our website at www.cultures.ae for more information about our programs or by contacing the SMCCU offices at 9714 353 6666. To Share, Like or Download a PDF version of this article – Issue 45 – Hajj Explained

 

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Ramadan Explained by SMCCU


The Holy Month of Ramadan, or the Month of Fasting is one of the five Acts of Worship in Islam.  More than that, it is a time for spiritual growth through self-control, discipline, and patience;  an exercise in controlling one’s desires and increasing one’s good works in the hope of forming a new balance in our lives that lasts far past Ramadan.  To the average observer Ramadan seems to be more about “not eating and drinking” than anything else. For Muslims, this act of abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours is the core of the worship, but certainly not the only spiritual act.  Self- reflection, controlling one’s bad habits, abstaining from lawful things, such as food and water help one to appreciate and value such great gifts without which we cannot survive. It teaches one to not be wasteful, “eat to live, not live to eat”.  The Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him said about eating and drinking “one third of your stomach is for food, one third for drink, and leave one third empty so it can do its work,”. During daylight hours one also abstains from lawful relations with one’s spouse, to teach one another to appreciation and value each other and to not take for granted the gifts that the Creator has given us in our lives, companions to find comfort in. On the other hand, abstaining from the unlawful in our actions and deeds, things such as arrogance, vanity, gossip and back stabbing, cursing, disrespecting one’s parents or those in authority are integral to the fasting process. The body, the eyes, the tongue and the ears, all acutely aware of the things we should avoid.    In effect it is an exercise to enhance one’s character from the inside out. Charitable works are emphasized as well as looking after the poor, and increasing our prayers, particularly at night.

In a city with more than 230 nationalities, cultures and religions, Ramadan may feel like a time when the city sleeps during the day and becomes alive at night.  Expats and visitors may be curious and cautious at the same time; why are most restaurants closed?  Are the beaches open? Malls? Are there special hours for supermarkets? Can I eat in public? Should I wear special clothes?

While most restaurants are closed during the day, Malls, supermarkets, and most establishments maintain daytime open hours with extended evening hours.  Employers follow the guidelines set up by the Federal Government and private sector companies are required to shorten working hours during Ramadan, and this applies to all employees, not just Muslims.

Eating brazenly in public could result in a ticket or a trip down to the police station so common sense applies. If you are in your car and need a drink, be discreet. It is simply a courtesy extended to fasting Muslims, and most visitors quickly catch on to the rules without a problem.  Are some Muslims exempt from fasting? Not all Muslims fast during Ramadan, there are several exceptions; in particular young children, the elderly and feeble, pregnant and nursing mothers, the traveler and people with chronic illnesses that prevent them from fasting. Adults and care givers cook and attend to the needs of those not fasting and according to Islam this a considered a charitable act, so relax and again use common sense read, visit SMCCU, take advantage of the quiet roads and retail establishments during the day. Capitalize on the kindness of people; join Muslims for an Iftar, an authentic one, not in a restaurant or at a resort. Visit a work colleague, friend, a Muslim you know at a home Iftar or join a tent or a masjid Iftar feeding the poor by handing out juice boxes, or a fruit like an orange or a banana. It’s about everyone coming together fasting or not, in an effort to improve the relations we have with everyone in our community.

As to the topic of appropriate dress, keep in mind that modesty in dress is emphasized in Ramadan and all should maintain the same standards that are requested of them in malls and public places every day.  Shoulders should be covered for both men and women, and women and men should mind there lengths, keeping in mind the heightened spirituality during the Holy Month of Ramadan, a month in which all of us should reach out to each other and exercise the absolute ultimate show of humanity and tolerance towards one another. For a list of Ramadan Do’s & Dont’s visit our Ramadan Etiquette page on our website.

 

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Guests Visit the Centre on Eid Al Adha


More than 200 guests attended various activities at SMCCU on the First day of Eid. Eid, a three day celebration after the Pilgrimage to Hajj,  is usually spend visiting with family, friends and neighbors, or partaking in the end of Hajj itself in Mecca. I special thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers who took the time during that day to receive our guests at the Jumeirah Mosque Tour and Bastikiya Heritage Tour and Lunch.

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