Tom learns about Eid

Posted on: July 13th, 2016 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Tom learns about Eid

It took me a while to understand the implications of “fasting”. From sun up to sun down. Fasting between those times. No eating or drinking in front of Muslims. (I learned this quite dramatically!) After drinking a glass of water at the Toyota Service Department (where there were a number of Emirati men) the service manager ran out of his office, grabbed me by the arm, rushed me up some stairs, through a door, down a long hallway, and into a small room. “You cannot drink or eat in front Muslims during Ramadan!!!!” Steep learning curve!

With the my students’ encouragement, I chose to fast for the last two weeks of Ramadan 2006. I chose to fast as my way of showing my respect for the Muslim religion, my Muslim friends and the Muslim nation in which I was living. Over the next four years living in UAE, I fasted 2 more times for the required month each time. My Muslim friends were kind enough to invite me for Iftar many times during that month.

The following year (2007), Darwish, my friend and business partner and a Muslim originally from Palestine, suggested how I might gain an understanding of Eid.

“Tom,” he said, “on the first morning of Eid, just before sunrise, go to our office (located near a Mosque surrounded by a large field), and park in front of the door.”

Why?” I asked. “Just be there,” Darwish responded.

So the morning of the first day of Eid. I get up early, drive to the office, back in, park, and wait. No one around, just me and a dusty road.

Gradually people came walking around the side of the building, across the street opposite from me, and walking down another street; mothers, fathers, little kids of all ages, teens, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and grandparents too, walking in front of the car.

Hundreds of families walk past me on their way to the Eid celebration at the Mosque and the field surrounding it.

A feeling of peace, excitement, family, and spirituality . . .  a sight and experience I will never forget.

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