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Muslims celebrate end of Eid

November 15, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - More than 250 people from the Tri-State area gathered Sunday night in Hagerstown to celebrate the end of the monthlong holy observance of Ramadan.

While most of those in attendance were from Washington County, there were Muslims from West Virginia and Pennsylvania present, said Dr. Shahab Siddiqui, an event organizer and social services director for the Islamic Society of Western Maryland.

The regional event was at a hotel on Dual Highway because there was not enough room at the mosque, Siddiqui said.

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Some of the Muslims also gathered for prayer Sunday morning, he said.

Muslims mark the end of Ramadan with Eid-ul-Fitr, a holiday celebration. A sign at the entrance read "Happy Eid."

Siddiqui said the Eid festival is a celebration and reward for completing the observance of Ramadan, during which Muslims do not eat, drink, smoke or have sex from sunrise to sunset.

"It is a day of celebration. It is like graduation," Siddiqui said.

During Ramadan, Muslims control their actions and avoid "all worldly pleasures," Siddiqui said. It is also a good form of training and self-discipline, he said.

"You try to be a better person," said Tanvir Pasha, a former society president. "You abstain from all human desires," he said.

This means that not only can't they drink water, they also can't smoke or get angry, Pasha said.

Muslims also pray more often during Ramadan and are encouraged to do good deeds during the month, he said.

The historical significance of Ramadan is the belief that it was in this month that the Quran was revealed to Allah.

Before the feast, second-grade students in the society's Sunday school acted out the five pillars of Islam.

Siddiqui said he invited members of other faiths to attend the event.

He is hoping to introduce the community to the faith in an effort to replace ignorance with knowledge, he said.

Members of the society are active in community groups like Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, he said.

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