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Local Muslims Celebrate

Eid al-Fitr is marked by prayer and celebration.

Barokah Widodo, with his one-year-old son, Abraham, parked in his lap, prayed in the sanctuary at the United Christian Parish on Colts Neck Road in Reston Monday to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Hundreds of Muslims arrived early for the celebration of gratefulness to Allah (God) as part of Eid al-Fitr, or “festival of breaking the fast,” the three-day holiday that ends Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month.

Before and after the morning prayers, family and friends embraced in hugs, greeting each other by saying “Eid mubarak,” which means "blessed Eid." Later in the day, many Muslims gathered to share food and participate in other festivities.

During Ramadan, which lasts between 29 and 30 days depending on the position of the moon, adults and teenagers fast from sunrise to sunset. The month is also a time to abstain from vices.

Eid al-Fitr is the first of the two biggest holidays in the Islamic world. The second, Eid el-Adha, comes at the end of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

FOR ASIM KHATTAK, a student at South Lakes High School, Monday was a time to reflect on his month of fasting, which he said was a time to give thanks and pray for those less fortunate. “There are people all around the world who don’t get to eat when they want,” said Khattak.

At 16, Khattak also values the mornings, as early as 4 a.m., as an opportunity to get closer to his family. “It’s all about waking up early with your family, and it’s the same thing at the end of the day,” said Khattak.

Abdul Wahab Mondal of Sterling said Ramadan helps Muslims renew their focus on the good habits they’ll carry through the next 11 months. “Fasting is only a part of it,” said Mondal, who said he prayed and read the Quran as much as he could during the month. “It’s supposed to increase piety.”

In addition, many Muslims concentrate on charitable efforts “because the month of Ramadan is a blessed month when God is more giving, more merciful and more generous,” said Mondal.

THE LAST TEN DAYS of Ramadan are marked by intense worship. Prayer on one of those days, called Laitul Qadr, “the night of power,” is believed to be the equivalent of 1,000 days of prayer. It was the night the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation from God. While Muslim scholars are sure the day falls within the last 10 days, they do not know for certain which day it is.

“So there are many people who spend all night praying [during those days],” said Mondal.

Adam Issahaku of Herndon said Eid al-Fitr is the culmination of a month of self-discipline and giving back. “You try to help the homeless and try to help those who don’t have what you have,” said Issahaku. When it’s over, “you feel like you’ve achieved a very big goal,” he said.