Celebration of God's forgiveness

COSTA MESA — Newport-Mesa Muslims on Friday will join worldwide celebrations of what is known as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month.

The celebration began Thursday night after the last prayer with a chant embracing and thanking God, and will continue Friday morning with prayers, gift exchanges and visitations with friends and family.

For Muslims, celebrating Eid is about thanking God for allowing them another chance to exercise discipline, test their self-restraint and generosity.

"Eid is the celebration of God's forgiveness," said Imam Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa. "We believe that after a monthlong of devotion to him, God forgives all sins, and therefore, this is the celebration of God's forgiveness of the sins of his servants."

Eid is joyous for Muslims, in that it is a celebration akin to Christmas for Christians, Al-Qazwini said.

Mohammad, Islam's prophet, is believed to have said that on the day of Eid, the angels call on those who observed the month of Ramadan to go ahead and reap their rewards from God.

"The prophet said, it's not the type of gifts presented by sultans and kings, but it's something more important and that is the release and the freedom from the punishment of God," Al-Qazwini said.

On the day of Eid, the Mohammad's companions would meet him at his home, walk together to the mosque enchanting the takberate and then pray, Al-Qazwini said. He would then give two short sermons — one about the significance of Eid and another about the political, social and economic climate in the community.

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, Ramadan and Eid fall on different days and months each year. This year, the three days of Eid fall on a sensitive day, Sept. 11.

Many mosques and communities throughout the nation will not be observing any celebrations on Saturday, in honor of those who died on 9/11, but will instead make their observances before or after.

"We will include in our prayers the victims of 9/11, their friends and families and all the victims of acts of terrorism and violence in the world," Al-Qazwini said.

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