A rocky month of Ramadan comes to a close
The holy fasting month of Ramadan came to a close on Monday, as millions of Muslims around the world began a scaled-back version of the three-day festival, Eid al-Fitr.
During the Eid holiday, which in Islam marks the anniversary of when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, observers commemorate the end of Ramadan’s fasting period with prayers and sweets. For the month prior, Muslims are expected to avoid food, drink, smoking, and sex during daylight hours.
Though Eid is meant to be a time of celebration, recent conflicts and tragedies across Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Asia have cast a shadow over this year’s holiday. In West Africa, many Muslims dedicated Eid prayers to the 118 victims of Air Algérie Flight 5017, which crashed last week in Northern Mali, and to the hundreds affected by an intensifying Ebola outbreak, the worst in history. Meanwhile, some festivities were canceled in Lebanon and Qatar due to ongoing violence in Gaza, where three weeks of fighting between Israeli and Palestinian militants has killed over 1,000 people. In Malaysia, celebrations were tamped down out of respect for the victims of two Malaysian Airlines flights, one which was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine, and another which vanished over the Indian Ocean more than four months ago.
Take a look at how some Muslims observed the past month of Ramadan, a time meant to focus on spirituality, prayer, and peace.