Muslims mark Eid, now can eat


By Lorcan Otway

Hundreds of Muslims gathered Monday morning in Tompkins Square Park in the crisp morning air, facing the rising sun, to begin Eid ul-Fitr, the feast that is celebrated for three days at the end of Ramadan. It felt like a huge family gathering, as people met, embraced and wished each other “salaam aleichem” (“peace unto you”) and “Eid mubarak” (“may you enjoy a blessed festival”). Eid is pronounced “eed.”

Young and old people helped each other roll out large sheets of brown paper, upon which they laid brightly colored, ornate prayer rugs. Shoes removed, they stood shoulder to shoulder, to be led in prayer by Imam Yousuf Abdul Majid, the imam and khatib of the Madina Masjid, the mosque on First Ave. and 11th St.

Fathers proudly photographed their children, who carefully followed their religious traditions beside grandfathers and uncles. Those who were not able to kneel due to infirmity were helped to sit on their prayer rugs, as the faithful knelt in obedience to Allah. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day.

After the prayers, the hundreds of worshippers embraced and shook hands. Afterwards, Imam Majid explained that on this holiday each person in a Muslim family gives $5 to the poor. According to the imam, during the year, 2½ percent of each person’s wealth must be given in charity as an obligation of a Muslim’s faith.

Several of those attending spoke of how nice it was to worship in the park together, since the mosque was not large enough to hold such a large crowd. One said that he was pleased to be able to have this joyous holiday witnessed by so many non-Muslim neighbors.