By Fariha Fawziah
It was just a few years ago when students in New York City did not have school days off for Eid. I remember I had to spend the whole day in school, and then after coming back home, maybe I could go visit family and friends for a couple of hours until I would have to worry about homework. That was probably the case for all Muslim students in NYC.
However, in 2015, New York City finally allowed 2 school holidays per year for Muslims. Eid is a holiday for Muslims all around the world to celebrate. There are two types of Eid called Eid-Al-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha. Many people tend to think Eid and Ramadan are the same, which is not accurate. Ramadan is a holy month, when all Muslims fast (don’t eat and/or drink) from the time the sun rises until the sun sets. These times depend on the countries Muslims are in throughout the world.
Muslims fast in order to feel what those who can’t eat must feel, and to understand their pain. Additionally, Muslims fast in order to declare their true faith. People should respect the discipline it takes for a student to fast all day at school until sunset. After a month of fasting, Muslims finally have Eid-Al- Fitr. Eid-Al-Adha is when Muslims sacrifice an animal such as a cow to Allah to commemorate Ibrahim’s (called “Abraham” in the Bible) complete obedience to God.
On those days, Muslim men and women dress up for the occasion, and families and friends gather around to exchange gifts, money, and eat traditional food.
I am proud to say that we even get to have our own club at Manhattan Center, called the Muslim Student Association (MSA). I asked Ms. Malak Mohsin, who has been in the MSA since last year, a few questions about this club and its members.
Q: First, what is the purpose of MSA?
Malak: “The purpose of MSA is to educate people about Islam and to get to know people. Also, to break stereotypes in order to create a harmonious environment in MCSM.”
Q: Are people who are not Muslim allowed to join MSA? If so, how would that benefit them?
Malak: “Of course! It’s an opportunity to get to know and learn about each other and our religions. We believe this is a way to be open-minded and at the same time be informed about what’s going on in this world. Religion is one of the things that make each and every one of us different.”
MSA organizes various types of trips and wonderful events for students. In fact, we recently had a delightful Eid party last Thursday. The MSA party took place in the cafeteria after school. People that were not Muslim or not even in the club were welcome to join! Foods including, pizza, chips, cake, soda, and biryani (rice with chicken) were served.The party was hosted by our very own Malak Mohsin, which she did beautifully!
[Photo Credits go to Shah Miraz, who is a junior at Manhattan Center For Science and Mathematics. You can find more pictures taken by him on Instagram @shah_money12!]