Sunday, 11 August 2013

Eid ul Fitr 2013

Fid-ul-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of Ramadhan, was held on Thursday 8th or Friday 9th August this year(the variance being due to differences of opinion within the global Muslim community)

Bobbers Mill Community Centre, along with many mosques in Nottingham, held Eid on the Friday, and the day began with the Eid prayers which were held in the open at The Forest (due to the generous co-operation of the council and other agencies)

The Eid Prayers
Coconut Macaroons and the Far Right

The Eid Prayers
The weather was kind to the assembled congregation of men, women and children, with the the Imam (Dr Musharraf Hussein) giving his khutbah (sermon)to a back drop of (seemingly very high definition) beautiful, fluffy, white clouds drifting slowly across the bluest of blue skies.

As the demographics of the Muslim population in Nottingham change from being one of first generation immigrants from the subcontinent to being one of second or third generation young adults who have grown up in the UK, the pracice of giving the khutbah (sermon) in Urdu is something that the Muslim community is having to look at again. At Bobbers Mill, the large majority of the sermons are in English - something that is critical to keeping the engagement of the children and young adults - and the Eid khutbah was no exception to this.

One of the topics that Dr Musharraf mentioned in his wide ranging sermon was that of Islamophobia.

Recognising that the Muslim community needed to accept some responsibility for the devastating attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, Dr Musharraf pointed out that Islamophobic attitudes, fears and attacks had increased dramatically since these incidents.

But, Dr Musharraf asked, how should the Muslim community respond?

The answer, he felt, was NOT to react with the same anger as was sometimes being directed towards the Muslim community but rather to adopt the approaches of engagement, co-operation and friendship.

These practical routes were, Dr Musharraf commented, mandated in the Quran and were a way of the Muslim community demonstrating its committment to positive social values and civil society with actions rather than just words

Dr Musharraf pointed out that British society had many great attributes, adding that:

"It is a great privilege for me to be in this it represents some of the best human values like democracy, human rights, equality and justice. The secular nature of Britain gives Muslims religious freedoms that are unimagined in some Muslim countries"br />
After the prayers, the congregation greeted each other and then went their separate ways to spend the rest of Friday, and probably most of the weekend, seeing friends and relatives.

Incidentally, BFTF says "after the prayers", when a more accurate description would be "after each of the two prayers" as there was not room for everyone the first time round - a pretty routine state of affairs at Eid !

BFTF thought this might be a nice place to share two small Ramadhan and Eid related anecdotes to round off this post...

50 pence
One of the traditions of Eid is that grown-ups give small presents of money to children they meet as they visit friends and family, so, when BFTF arrived back home and noticed four young children (three asian and one white), BFTF grabbed a bunch of change from the car, walked over and, with a greeting of "Eid Mubarek" (Blessed Eid), gave each of the kids 50p (any Muslim readers with feel this is a bit on the stingy side, but it was all I could get my hand on quickly, honest!).

One of the asian kids looked puzzled and then, pointing to the white child, said "But he's not Muslim!".

BFTF said "Yes, I know, but today is a celebration for everybody!", and, turning to the equally puzzled looking white kid, said "That's your 50p youg man - you spend it on any sweets you want!"

Coconut Macaroons and the Far Right
During Ramadhan, Muslim households will often make an extra large meal or dish and share it with other Muslim households that are close by - aiming to deliver the food a little before sunset so that it is just in time for the Iftar breaking of the fast.

Thus, dusk can result in figures (usually children) scuttling to and from delivering small plates of food.

BFTF has long since wondered how this looks to the local non-Muslim community, perhaps they ask themselves why they are so pointedly left out of this foodiness by their neighbours.

So, in the BFTF household, things are done a little differently. While Mrs BFTF does the standard food-to-the-Muslim-neighbours thing, BFTF made a huge batch of coconut macaroons & mini-muffins and distributed them to the closest five houses (irrespective of the faith of the occupants) to the left and to the right of BFTF's home (on both sides of the street).

No3 delivered a plate of said macaroons and mini-muffins to one (non-Muslim) house and, on returning a minute or two later with a plate for the next house along, found the lady from the first house talking excitedly to her neighbour saying "There is a little boy delivering biscuits for Ramadhan - OH LOOK HE'S AT YOUR DOOR NOW !"

Incidentally, BFTF does this a couple of times a year, just to try and bring people a little closer together.

And the far-right? Well, thinks it would be rather funny if, when accused by someone from the far-right of not wanting to integrate with society, BFTF retorted by asking them when THEY had last made biscuits for all their neighbours...

Coconut Macaroons and Mini-Muffins,
ready for delivery on Mrs BFTFs bestest plates
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