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

Skokie IL: On Sunday August 08, 2013 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 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM 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.

Muslim community, prominent leaders, politicians, businessmen, professionals, doctors took part of namaz in Holiday Inn with their families. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Indian Consulate General of Chicago, and the Indian/American prominent community leader/chairman of FIA Iftekhar Shareef came with their families for the namaz prayer.

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.

Islam is not a new Religion started by the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) around 1400 years ago. It is the same truth proclaimed by all the Prophets who came before him, right from the time of Adam. It is the same message that all of the previous messengers/Prophets brought and that was to worship no one but one God, do not associate any partners with him, and obey the Messengers/Prophets. Islam is the only religion that makes it an article of faith to Muslims believe in all the previous Prophets like Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all) and the divine revelations like the Torah and the Bible. No person would be considered a Muslim if he believed in just Mohammad (PBUH) as a messenger but rejected the others.

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is not a new concept. The previous Prophets were also commanded to fast as well. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous – (Chapter 2 verse 183.) Fasting is also only for a few days out of the year (29-30) in the month of Ramadan and certain people are excluded from it: [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. (Chapter 2 verse 184.)

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the final messenger and Prophet of god that has been sent for the entire mankind, not just for the Arabs. Here are some statistics from a poll conducted bee PEW: Around 62% of the world’s Muslims live in South and Southeast Asia, with over 1 billion adherents. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia, home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslims, followed by Pakistan (11.0%), India (10.9%), and Bangladesh (9.2%). Only about 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries. In the Middle East, the non-Arab countries of Turkey and Iran are the largest Muslim-majority countries; in Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have the most populous Muslim communities. http://www.pewforum.org/2011/01/27/the-future-of-the-global-muslim-population/

We would urge everyone to study Islam with an open mind. Study the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), study the Quran. Anyone who does so with an open mind cannot help but conclude that indeed this is a divine Religion and the only way to salvation. Islam is the only religion that will make you successful not only in this world but in the Hereafter as well.

Statement by the Obamaon the Occasion of Ramadan
With the start of the sacred month of Ramadan, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslim communities here in the United States and around the world.

For the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time for thoughtful reflection, fasting and devotion. It is also an opportunity for family and friends to come together and celebrate the principles that bind people of different faiths – a commitment to peace, justice, equality and compassion towards our fellow human beings. These bonds are far stronger than the differences that too often drive us apart.

This month also reminds us that freedom, dignity and opportunity are the undeniable rights of all mankind. We reflect on these universal values at a time when many citizens across the Middle East and North Africa continue to strive for these basic rights and as millions of refugees mark Ramadan far from their homes. The United States stands with those who are working to build a world where all people can write their own future and practice their faith freely, without fear of violence.

In the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that millions of Muslim Americans enrich our nation each day—serving in our government, leading scientific breakthroughs, generating jobs and caring for our neighbors in need. I have been honored to host an iftar dinner at the White House each of the past four years, and this year I look forward to welcoming Muslim Americans who are contributing to our country as entrepreneurs, activists and artists.

I wish Muslims across America and around the world a month blessed with the joys of family, peace and understanding. Ramadan Kareem.

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.