Eid Ul-Fitr Celebrations Bring over 9000 Devout Muslims to Holiday Inn Skokie


Skokie IL: On Sunday August 19, 2012 Muslims from all over the metropolitan area joyfully bustled into the Holiday Inn, 5300 Touhy Ave, Skokie, IL to join in on the global celebrations of Eid Ul-Fitr. While there were various venues that held Eid prayers throughout the region, one of the largest turnouts was at the Holiday Inn. The block was quite a sight to passersby. Groups of individuals in vibrant Indian-Pakistani clothing flooded the parking lots as they made their way to the exquisite banquet hall to commemorate the glorious day.

Women in vibrant colored dresses, men in ethic outfits and children, smiling and laughing, filled the parking lots and were pouring into the hotel lobby. As individuals worked through the crowded doorways, volunteers from Eid committee gathered funds to recover event expenses. Demonstrating true Islamic generosity, many emptied their pockets and purses into the collecting bins before taking their shoes off and heading into the prayer halls. Men and women continuously and open-heartedly made space for incoming members so everyone would be able to partake in the namaz.

Namaz was recited throughout the morning and afternoon to accommodate the 9,000 enthusiastic individuals in attendance. Despite the large masses, the Skokie Police, Holiday Inn Staff, and numerous volunteers were able to direct the crowds effortlessly and efficiently.

The sacred Islamic month of Ramadan has come to pass once again as the Muslims celebrate their fasting, worship and spiritual connection with Allah. After a month of fasting from dawn to dusk, late night vigils, open hearted generosity, intense community service and general altruism, Muslims all over the world flood the masaajid to thank Allah. The ending of Ramadan is followed by the day of Eid; in which a special prayer is offered and typically families and friends visit and dine with each other.

The leader of the congregation was a local scholar (i.e. Mufti) and fashion designer (see kamanionline.com) named Hussain Kamani. He hyped up the crowd by delivering a phenomenal talk on the sacrifices and reward for the Muslim’s hard work. He quoted Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)’s saying in which he foreshadowed the commonality of immorality, disobedience to parents and authority, usage of interest, excessive lying and cheating, drinking wine and the intake of intoxicants. Mufti Kamani walked the crowd through the reality that this is the case of our society today. Yet, despite the ungodly times we are in, he went on to say that the entire Muslim nation spent hours fasting, standing in prayer and reciting the Quran. This is definitely a time to rejoice and celebrate as Allah is pleased with his followers. Mufti Kamani encouraged the audience to stay steadfast in their worship throughout the year so that when they die, that there is a reason to celebrate in the afterlife.

After the uplifting sermon and prayer the families began to head out and the next batch walked in for the second round of prayers. As the blessed month comes to an end, many Muslims weep at its departure and are eagerly waiting for next Ramadan to come around.

The thousands that gathered at the Holiday Inn in Skokie made the message of Eid clear to all. It is simply about loving one another, offering friendship to fellow beings, and living in peace and harmony.

Governor Pat Quinn today joined the Muslim community to observe the completion of the Holy Month of Ramadan at the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer service in Bridgeview. During the occasion, the governor renounced recent incidences of violence against Muslim places of worship and signed a new law to foster religious tolerance.

“To the more than 400,000 Muslims across our state, ‘Eid Mubarak!’” Governor Quinn said. “Ramadan is a time of fasting, sacrifice and self-reflection. We honor your commitment to your faith and will vigorously protect your right to practice it without fear of intimidation.”

Ramadan is observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month of the year in the Islamic faith. During Ramadan, Muslims fast each day from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan ends with a three-day festival known as “Eid”, which means “the feast of the breaking/to break the fast”.

Following the recent massacre at the Sikh temple near Milwaukee, gunfire at a Morton Grove mosque, a bomb thrown at a Lombard Islamic school and the desecration of a Muslim gravesite at Evergreen Cemetery, Governor Quinn issued a call for respect, tolerance and harmony. In addition, he signed Senate Bill 2949, to protect college students who miss a class or exam due to their observance of a religious holiday.

“No student should be disciplined, penalized or fined for observing a sacred day,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law celebrates our nation’s basic principle of ‘freedom of religion, as well as the notion that diversity makes us stronger.” The new law, sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Rep. Sidney Mathias (R-Arlington Heights), passed both chambers unanimously with the support of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities (FIICU). The law is effective Jan 1, 2013

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan
On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection; a time of joy and celebration. It’s a time to cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need.

This year, Ramadan holds special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights. The United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, Ramadan reminds us that Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation, and that—from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts—Muslim Americans help strengthen our country and enrich our lives.

Even as Ramadan holds profound meaning for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, it is also a reminder to people of all faiths of our common humanity and the commitment to justice, equality, and compassion shared by all great faiths. In that spirit, I wish Muslims across America and around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House. Ramadan Kareem.

Suresh Bodiwala Chairman from Asian Media USA had an opportunity to discuss with Sher Rajput regarding his understanding of the Festival of Eid he said, “I think it is not just a celebration of the end of Ramadan in which Muslims fast for 30 days. It is more the end of a spiritual training period where we develop our god-consciousness, our taqwa, and we strengthen our beliefs in Islam by trying to fully understand the Quran. That is what the celebration of Eid is truly about in my opinion”.

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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