The Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr
To understand this Muslim religious festival.
by Jude Scrutton
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To understand this Muslim religious festival.
Preparation and materials
Photos and symbols that represent Ramadan and the end of fasting or Eid ul Fitr (e.g. crescent moon, Muslims at prayer). See
www.travelindia-guide.com/travel_india_images/festivals/Eid-ul-Fitr.jpg for a good collage of Eid ul Fitr.
- If you have Muslim children at school, they might like to talk about Eid to the rest of the children.
- For more information about Eid, www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/holydays/eidulfitr.shtml
- Start by asking the children what religious festivals they know of.
Direct them to thinking about the religious reasons for them, e.g. Christmas has nothing to do with Father Christmas in a religious sense.
Ask the children if they know of any Muslim festivals.
Direct them towards Ramadan and Eid.
Ask the children what they know about Eid. Point out that, like Easter for Christians, Eid is a ‘movable feast’– the date changes according to the phases of the moon.
Tell the children that Muslims are entitled to take the day of Eid off school, as it is an important religious holiday.
- Introduce the idea of the five pillars of Islam – list them as a group on a flip-chart or IWB:
(1) Faith or belief in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh);
(2) Establishment of the daily prayers;
(3) Concern for and almsgiving to the needy;
(4) Self-purification through fasting;
(5) The pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) for those who are able.
- Ask the children which pillar they think Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr are concerned with? Tell them that Eid ul Fitr follows Ramadan where adult Muslims fast for 30 days (nothing but water while the sun is out). Point out that to fast like this is easier in the winter when the days are shorter – this year the fast will be very hard to achieve!
Ask the children if they have ever fasted. Discuss how it felt, whether it was hard or easy. Ask the children what it would feel like after the 30 days and what people might want to do at the end of fasting period.
Explain how Eid ul Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan and the act of purifying oneself for their God.
- Share the following Eid ul Fitr story:
It was the day of celebration and a day of rejoicing. There was an air of festivity in the streets of Medina. All the people, both young and old, were dressed in their best clothes, especially for this special day of Ramadan Eid.
As it was time for early-morning Ramadan Eid prayers, everyone made their way to an open piece of land on the outskirts of the city of Medina. Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) arrived and led the prayers. After they had finished they all greeted each other and everyone was walking back home – the children running and playing in excitement, smiling and laughing, without a care in the world.
As Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) walked back home, he suddenly became aware of a little boy (Zuhair Bin Saghir) sitting by himself on the side of the path. The little boy was crying and looked very sad. The Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) bent down and patted him on the shoulders and asked ‘why are you crying?’ ‘Please leave me alone,’ sobbed the little boy. The boy didn’t even see who was talking to him. The Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) ran his fingers through the boy’s hair and very gently and kindly asked him again why he was crying. This time the boy said ‘My father was martyred fighting, and now my mother has married again and my stepfather does not want me to live at home any more. Today is Ramadan Eid and everyone is happy. All the children have new clothes and nice things to eat, but I don’t have any clothes except what I am wearing. I have no food and I don’t even have a place to live.’
Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) said to him, ‘I know how you feel, I lost both my mother and father when I was a little boy.’ The boy was surprised to hear that it was an orphan who was comforting him, and when he looked up, to his great surprise, he saw the Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him), and he immediately jumped up to his feet out of love and respect.
Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) said to him, ‘If I were to become your new father, and my wife your new mother, and my daughter your new sister, would that make you feel better?’ ‘Oh yes, that would be the best thing in the world!’ The boy started smiling. The Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) took him home and gave him new clothes and good food on this beautiful day of Ramadan Eid. The boy indeed had a wonderful Ramadan Eid that day.
- Ask what the moral of the story is?
Moral: We should think of others who are less fortunate than ourselves on this beautiful day of Ramadan Eid. Not everyone has such a wonderful day. It is a day of celebration, but take a moment to stop and think of those who are less fortunate than us by following the example of our Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him).
Time for reflection
Take a moment to think about the discipline of fasting for 30 days during daylight hours. How hard that must be!
Now reflect on how much everyone must celebrate at Eid, as they feast and celebrate together.
How could we help those less fortunate than ourselves? (Remind children of the charity work that takes place in your school.)
Help us to think about people less fortunate than ourselves.
‘He's got the whole world ’ (Come and Praise, 19)