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Put the Oppressed Before Your Comfort and Joy this Eid al-Fitr

Every year, the month of Ramadan gives Muslims the opportunity to grow closer to Allah, reflect, be grateful for blessings, give to charity, and seek salvation on the Nights of Destiny (Layalat-ul-Qadr). By Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the holy month, our intentions should be pure, hearts faithful, and minds socially conscious.

Muslims usually celebrate Eid for three days by praying Salat al-Eid (Eid prayer) at the mosque, donating to those in need, visiting loved ones’ graves, and hosting feasts and visiting family. 

Some Islamic centers across Michigan and around the world host public festivities for families, but this year the Imams Council of Michigan urged these centers to cancel public celebrations and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people through prayers and sermons. 

“The situation in Gaza demands our immediate attention and action. As members of the global Muslim community, it is our duty to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza and to show our unwavering support for their plight,” Imams Council of Michigan officials said in a statement.

While at least 10 Islamic centers in Michigan canceled festivities, some community members argued on social media that it was unfair for Eid to be canceled. However, what they failed to understand is that celebrations were canceled, not Eid itself. There is a difference. 

Eid will still be observed this Wednesday as Muslims are obligated to break their fast, pray, and donate, but public celebrations have never been obligatory or acceptable when people are in mourning. Many Muslims have experienced the loss of immediate family members right before Eid and believe it’s unacceptable to publicly celebrate out of respect for the dead.

When comparing it to Gaza, the Muslim Ummah has lost more than 33,000 brothers and sisters in a genocide that has been livestreamed daily for the past six months. Therefore, out of respect for these innocent humans who had to be quickly buried in mass graves, devoid of funeral rites, there shouldn’t be any comments or thoughts about a need for public celebrations.

Let’s not forget that we also witnessed Muslims in Gaza observe Ramadan all while barely having any food with which to break their fasts. Families, who had once invited relatives and friends over for delicious iftar dinners, were relying on useless aid packages that were barely attainable or sufficient to feed their children during the sacred and joyful month of Ramadan.  

If our Palestinian brothers and sisters can’t live and celebrate freely and safely, how is it acceptable to flaunt our feasts and festivities? How is it humane to celebrate while they are forced to document starvation, massacres, and grief daily?

As faithful and socially conscious Muslims, we must understand that public celebrations are offensive. It is our obligation to show empathy and to support our brothers and sisters in their fight against oppression. 

When you break your fast on Eid al-Fitr, remember the starving families in Gaza. When you supplicate to Allah and visit your loved ones’ graves, make sure to hold funerals in your hearts for your murdered Palestinian brothers and sisters. Pray and offer sweets and donate on behalf of their souls. 

Create new ways to observe the holiday with your family that put the oppressed before your comfort and joy. 

It is our duty to amplify their voices and mobilize collectively for Palestinian liberation. 

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