Muslims celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Fitr with both joy and concern – Advice Eating

On the occasion of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr, Mona Abubakr’s house is usually filled with the smell of freshly baked orange cookies and cookies dusted with icing sugar. But due to rising prices, the Egyptian housewife produced smaller quantities of the sweet treats this year, some of which she gives away to relatives and neighbors.

The mother-of-three also tweaked another tradition on this Eid, which began Monday in Egypt and many countries, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. She bought fewer outfits for her sons to wear during the three-day festival.

Muslim men pray for Eid al-Fitr Monday, May 2, 2022 at the port of Sunda Kelapa in Jakarta, Indonesia to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Tatan Syuflana / AP

“I told them that we have to compromise on some things in order to be able to afford other things,” she said.

This year, Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr – typically marked by communal prayers, solemn gatherings around celebratory meals and new clothing – in the shadow of a surge in global food prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Against this backdrop, many are still determined to enjoy the holidays amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions in their countries, while for others the celebrations are being dampened by conflict and economic difficulties.

Tens of thousands of Muslims took part in prayer in the largest mosque in Southeast Asia on Monday morning. The Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta was closed when Islam’s holiest time coincided with the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and was closed for communal prayers last year.

“Words cannot describe how happy I am today after being separated by a pandemic for two years. Today we can perform Eid prayer together again,” Epi Tanjung said after he and his wife prayed at another mosque in Jakarta. “Hopefully this will all make us more faithful.”

The mood was festive at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque, where people gathered for Eid prayers on Monday. A man threw lollipops into the air before the prayer started for the children to catch to celebrate while other children played with balloons.

“I was really happy to see the gathering and people’s rejoicing over Eid,” said one believer, Marwan Taher. “The atmosphere here really made me feel like it was Eid.”

The war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia have disrupted supplies of grain and fertilizers and pushed up food prices at a time when inflation was already raging. A number of Muslim-majority countries, for example, are heavily dependent on Russia and Ukraine for much of their wheat imports.

Even before the Russian invasion, a stronger-than-expected global recovery from the 2020 coronavirus recession had created supply chain bottlenecks, delaying shipments and driving up the prices of groceries and other commodities.

In some countries, the aftermath of the war in Ukraine only adds to the suffering of those already suffering from turmoil, displacement or poverty.

In Syria’s rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, this year’s Ramadan has been more difficult than past Ramadans. Abed Yassin said he, his wife and three children are now receiving half of the products – including chickpeas, lentils, rice and cooking oil – that they received from a relief group last year. It made life more difficult.

Syria’s economy has been battered by war, Western sanctions, corruption and an economic meltdown in neighboring Lebanon, where Syrians are stuck billions of dollars in Lebanese banks.

Though Gaza’s streets and markets are busy, many say they can’t afford much.

“The situation is difficult,” said Um Musab, a mother of five, while touring a traditional market in Gaza City. “The employees barely make a living, but the rest of the people are devastated.”

Mahmoud al-Madhoun, who bought some date paste, flour and oil to make Eid biscuits, said financial conditions were getting worse and worse. “However, we are determined to be happy,” he added.

The Palestinian enclave, which relies heavily on imports, was vulnerable even before the Ukraine war because it was under a tight Israeli-Egyptian blockade designed to isolate Hamas, its militant ruler.

Afghans celebrate the first Eid since the Taliban takeover amid grim security and economic conditions. Many were cautious but flocked to Kabul’s main mosques for prayer under tight security on Sunday as the holiday began there.

Frequent explosions marred the pre-Eid era. These included deadly bombings, most of which were claimed by the Islamic State affiliate known as IS in Khorasan province, targeting ethnic Hazara, who are mostly Shia, and many of them debated whether it was safe to say on Eid -Participate in prayers in mosques.

“We want to show our resistance that they cannot push us away,” said community leader Dr. Bakr Saeed before oath. “We will go forward.”

Violence was not the only cause for concern. Since the Taliban took power in August, Afghanistan’s economy has been in free fall, with food prices and inflation skyrocketing.

Din Mohammad, a father of 10, said Saturday at a charity food distribution center in Kabul he expected this oath to be his worst.

“With poverty, no one can celebrate Eid like in the past,” he said. “I wish we had jobs and jobs so we could buy something and not have to wait for people to give us food.”

Muslims follow a lunar calendar, and methods including moon sighting can result in different countries – or Muslim communities – declaring the start of Eid on different days.

Security concerns are also plaguing the celebrations in Iraq, with security forces on high alert Sunday through Thursday to ward off possible attacks after a suicide bombing in Baghdad last year killed dozens ahead of another major Islamic holiday.

In India, the country’s Muslim minority is teetering under slurs from hardline Hindu nationalists, who have long held anti-Muslim stances, with some anti-Muslim incitement. Tensions escalated into violence during Ramadan, including stone-throwing between Hindu and Muslim groups. Muslim preachers warned believers to remain vigilant during Eid, which will be observed there on Tuesday.

Indian Muslims “are proactively preparing to deal with the worst,” said Ovais Sultan Khan, a rights activist. “Nothing is the same for Muslims in India, including Eid.”

Still, many Muslims elsewhere rejoiced at the revival of rituals disrupted by pandemic restrictions.

Millions of Indonesians have crowded onto trains, ferries and buses ahead of Eid as they poured out of major cities to celebrate with their families in villages in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. The return of the homecoming tradition caused a lot of excitement after two years of muted celebrations due to pandemic restrictions.

“The longing for (the) Eid celebration in a normal way is finally satisfied today, although the pandemic is not over yet,” said Hadiyul Umam, a resident of Jakarta.

Many in the capital flocked to malls to shop for clothes, shoes and sweets ahead of the holiday despite pandemic warnings and soaring food prices.

Muslims in Malaysia were also in a celebratory mood after their country’s borders were fully reopened and COVID-19 lockdowns were further eased. Ramadan bazaars and malls were filled with shoppers before Eid and many traveled to their hometowns.

“It’s a blessing that we can celebrate again now,” said Sales Manager Fairuz Mohamad Talib, who works in Kuala Lumpur. His family will celebrate in his wife’s village, where they planned to visit neighbors.

“It’s not about feasting, it’s about getting together,” he said before the holidays. With COVID-19 still on the mind, the family will take precautions such as B. Wearing masks during visits. “There will be no handshakes, just punches.”

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Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia and Gannon from Kabul, Afghanistan. Associated Press journalist Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Wafaa Shurafa in Gaza City, Gaza Strip; Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India; Bassem Mroue in Beirut; Samya Kullab in Baghdad; Ahmed Hatem in Cairo and Paul Wiseman in Washington contributed reporting.

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The Associated Press’s religion coverage is supported by AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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