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Eid celebration in Roxbury

Boston-area Muslims mark end of Ramadan

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Eid celebration in Roxbury
Masjid Alhamdulillah Imam Abdullah Faaruuq (2nd from left) joins worshippers at an Eid al fitr celebration at the Melnea Cass sports facility in Roxbury. BANNER PHOTO

As hundreds of Muslims filed into the Melnea Cass Rink facility Monday morning for the Eid al-Fitr observance, Abdul Rasheed was already seated on the floor in the first row, waiting for the prayers to start.

“It’s the best day of my life, because it’s a day Allah has given us something to do for him,” Rasheed says of the day that commemorates the divine revelation of the Quran.

The celebration also marks the end of Ramadan, the period of 30 days of daytime fasting in the Islamic calendar. Across Boston and around the globe, Muslim communities mark the day with prayer services followed by feasts held in mosques, homes and restaurants.

“It’s three days of celebration with family and friends,” said Dwaign Tyndal, who worships at Masjid Alhamdulillah on Shawmut Avenue in Lower Roxbury. “It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas where you visit with family and build community.”

Tyndal joined the other Muslims kneeling and sitting cross-legged on the floor of the sports facility as Imam Abdullah Faaruuq led the gathering in prayer.

With COVID restrictions easing and case counts relatively low, this year marks somewhat of a return to normalcy for worshippers in the Greater Boston area.

The observance at the Cass Rink facility was organized by four mosques in Roxbury that serve mostly African American, Somali and West African congregations. Men and women in brightly-colored robes gathered in that facility, while others congregated at the Islamic Society of Boston Community Center Mosque at Roxbury Crossing for Eid. The gatherings put the neighborhood at the epicenter of Eid celebrations in the Greater Boston area.

“It’s all nationalities,” said Malik Seales, who worships at Masjid Alhamdullilah. “It’s for everyone.”

While the tenets of the Islamic faith stress universal brotherhood, the religion has seen a good deal of factional struggles and violence in the Middle East. In the Greater Boston area, however, the spirit of unity is strong, despite deep cultural differences between adherents from the U.S., Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Tyndal says prayers at Masjid Alhamdulillah draw a mix of people from different cultural backgrounds.

“Islam has integrated me into an international global community,” he said. “Friday at jumah [prayer time] is the most integrated time in America.”

After prayer services concluded at the Melnea Cass Rink and other venues throughout Roxbury and in the Greater Boston area, Muslims made their way back to their homes or home-mosques for feasting. Spirits were high after 30 days of fasting from sun-up to sundown.

“Everybody’s feeling better,” Rashid said. “It’s the first time drinking water during the day. Water has never tasted so good.”

For Rashid, the feeling of well-being goes beyond the physical. The 30 days of fasting have brought him closer to God, he says.

“It’s like sitting on top of the world and being connected to the creator of the world,” he said, before joining the throngs of worshippers at the Cass Rink in the repetition of the prayer, “la ilaha illa allh,” which translates to, “There is no God but Allah.”