MSA Educates Community on Eid al-Fitr

The community gathered for a special Morning Ex on Monday when the Muslim Students Association delivered an educational experience about the history, significance and practice of Eid al-Fitr. Also called the Holiday of Breaking the Fast, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the monthlong dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. This period commemorates their prophet Muhammad’s first revelation and consists of a month of fasting (sawm), prayer (salah), reflection and community.

After MSA Co-Heads and seniors Nadine Attar-alhaddad and Hanna Bilgin opened the Morning Ex, Bilgin explained the significance this event holds for them on a personal level. Next, MSA Advisor and 6th grade Assistant Teacher Ruairí O’Mahony detailed more about Ramadan and described its history, traditions and the spiritual benefits of fasting. O’Mahony said Ramadan is observed worldwide and in the Chicago area. Attar-alhaddad took the stage next to discuss the physical benefits and outcomes of fasting for a month. And senior Thewfic Anwar outlined how Eid al-Fitr unfolds, consisting of prayer, time with family, food to break the fast and the ceremonial exchange of money as a gift. Finally, sophomore Ava Farhat thanked the audience for listening so respectfully and announced they had raised more than $500 at the last bake sale to give to food-insecure refugees to help them break their fasts. MSA is planning another bake sale to provide clean water to people in need. The MX concluded with a Q&A with audience members eager to learn more.

O’Mahony shared, “The messages of appreciation from Parker students and staff have been nice to hear. There are more than 1.9 billion Muslims in the world; we live on every continent and speak hundreds of languages. That the students in the MSA had the opportunity to share some of our traditions with the Parker community was a major blessing.”

When asked on her thoughts on this Morning Ex, Attar-alhaddad offered, “it was a great representation opportunity for the MSA, a group at Parker that is usually in the shadows or unknown to many. The audience was very receptive and there was mutual respect. I think it was informative to those who may not have known much about Ramadan, Eid and the MSA in general. I was very nervous and scared about how this would go but the Parker community was very supportive and respectful, which led to a smooth and successful MX.” Thinking ahead to the future, Attar-alhaddad said, “I thought it may have been helpful for the Lower Schoolers/Middle Schoolers who might identify the same way as us to finally have some representation in MX as well so that they too feel represented, understood and seen in the Parker community. Overall, I think it was nice.”

Parker is extremely grateful and proud of the work MSA has done in educating their peers in the student body on Eid al-Fitr, Ramadan and the Muslim experience. As Parker works to create responsible citizens and leaders in our diverse democratic society and global community, experiences like this from Upper School students show that they are well on their way to living Parker’s mission.

Click here to see photos from this Morning Ex.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.