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Dr. Ahmad Jaber

August 30 will mark the celebration of Eid ul Fitr, one of twomajor Muslim holidays In the Islamic world. It follows the end ofRamadan, the month of fasting, when Muslims abstain from eating,drinking, smoking and having intimate relationships from dawn tillsunset for the whole holy month.

During Ramadan, a Muslim should be on his or her best behavior,patient, tolerant, passionate, charitable and generous during theday, reflective and attending religious services during thenight.

Breaking the fast every day with other friends and family andinterfaith groups including Christians and Jews is common if not amust. Sharing and caring is part of the teachings offered by thereligious leaders on a daily basis.

Every individual Muslim, young or old even a newborn, has to givean equivalent of one full meal before the end of Ramadan for thepoor or needy.

As much as physical fasting is important, spiritual fasting is moreimportant. Lack of self-control, quarreling, bearing of falsewitness, backbiting and bad mouthing are practices frowned uponduring the holy month.

As Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr, they participate in a wholespectrum of activities. Visiting relatives, exchanging gifts,taking the kids out for fun, eating the special meals and sweetswhich come with special flavors and textures, are part of thefestivities. Children will be looking for their favorite toys andnew clothes and plenty of money.

This Eid comes when the Arab Spring is still bearing fruits ofliberation and ending the rule of despotic regimes, so there is alot to do to better their lives. We pray for them and we ask allpeople of good faith to pray for them too. We thank all people andall the interfaith groups and all our elected officials and theNYPD who shared with us our fasting season and our Eid ul Fitrcelebration.

Dr. Ahmad Jaber is the president of the Arab AmericanAssociation of New York, which is headquartered in BayRidge.


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