Celebrating Eid al-Fitr at NIU


Nyla Owens

The board members of the Muslim Student Association standing in front of their presentation about Eid on Tuesday. The group put together an event discussing a Muslim tradition that falls after Ramadan called Eid, as a part of Asian Heritage month. (Nyla Owens| Northern Star)

By Joseph Howerton, News Reporter

DeKALB – Eid al-Fitr is a time of faith, unity and giving, a celebration that was shared by the Muslim Student Association.

Tuesday at the Asian American Resource Center, NIU students were given the opportunity to learn about the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. The presentation and following activities were orchestrated by the Muslim Student Association in partnership with the Asian American Resource Center.

The presentation by Maryan Saleh, a junior nursing major and MSA event coordinator, gave an overview of the holiday’s history and celebratory practices.

Eid al-Fitr is a three day holiday celebrated by Muslims marking the end of Ramadan. The word “Eid” means “festival.” While traditions vary from family to family, there are staples in the celebration, including decorating homes with lantern and moon motifs, burning bakhoor incense throughout the house and dressing in fine clothing. During the celebration period, money, sweet treats and other small homemade gifts are made and distributed among friends, family and neighbors. This is seen as a form of zakat (Arabic for charity).

Obeid Kirmani, an electrical engineering graduate, said an important aspect of zakat is that those who are able to give to those in need.

“It’s a form of charity that is compulsory to Muslims who can afford to give,” Krimani said “So what that consists of is not monetary because on the fact that everybody can just give money they want it to mean something”.

“It’s a celebration of our faith, unity, giving to other people, and I think that sums it up the best,” Saleh said. “Everybody celebrates different things, and they all celebrate it in their own ways, but at the heart of all of it is just bringing people together. I think that’s what’s most important.”

Following Saleh’s presentation, attendees were given a chance to experience Eid al-Fitr. Food was provided for attendees who were then allowed to discuss the evening’s events with one another. During the meal, attendees spoke of their own experiences with Eid al-Fitr in an open and welcoming atmosphere.

MSA provided treats, disposable bags and ribbons to create small gift bags. The idea being to create something not for the participant, but to give to a family member, friend or important person to express Eid Mubarak, which translates to “Happy Festival.”

Yousuf Khan, a junior biological science major and MSA president, said being able to share this event with fellow NIU students was a meaningful moment.

“When your identity is celebrated on campus and you have opportunities to share it with others, I think that makes us feel valued and celebrated,” Khan said.

To stay up to date with future MSA events, follow its Instagram page @niumsa.