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Eid Mubarak: Blessed Holiday, Service to Humanity

September 10th, 2010

by Omid Safi, The Huffington Post, September 9, 2010

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims, a lovely combination of spiritual introspection, family gatherings, late night prayers, and social justice identification with those for whom going hungry is not a voluntary choice, but a daily reality. And Eid, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, is a joyous time. In many Muslim cultures, this is the time of the year where families will buy new clothes for the children, and the whole town is dressed up in lights, sweets are served, and families visit loved ones, offering embraces and celebrations.

This Ramadan, on the contrast, has felt heavy. Don’t get me wrong: there have been hundreds of millions of Muslims fasting around the world, and untold numbers of Muslims have spent nights drawing nearer to their Lord through prayer and recitation of the Qur’an. There have been family gatherings and mosque prayers as before, but at least for Muslims in America a heaviness has also been a part of this Ramadan. The whole month has had the shadow of the Park51 controversy (the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque”) and then more recently the prospects of the savage Qur’an-burning episode down in Gainesville, cast over it.

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