With over 150 students, faculty and staff in attendance, the Muslim community at the University of Richmond came together to celebrate the annual Eid Banquet on the evening of September 29. This was the largest Eid banquet ever at UR. 

The event was designed to allow Muslim students on campus to host a celebration of the Eid holidays they did not have the opportunity to observe as a community during the summer. Even for those students on campus during summer classes may have had to rush through prayers the morning of Eid in order to return to class. The Eid Banquet allows Muslim students to experience the joy of Eid - celebrating their faith and hard work by dressing in traditional clothes, eating traditional foods, and, most importantly, having a space and time to be joyous with those they love - in the absence of family and friends from home.

The banquet’s program began with an introduction to Muslim Life at UR and described the welcoming and organizing role of the Office of the Chaplaincy. Three student offered personal reflections: Sana Azem, a freshman journalism student presented a spoken word recalling her experience and journey as a Syrian refugee; Shamim Ibrahim, a sophomore global studies student spoke of her experience on the Chaplaincy Pilgrimage to Spain in May 2018; and Muhammad Coovadia, a senior business administration major spoke about his experiences as a Muslim on campus and offered advice to students in the room on how to make the most of their time at Richmond. 

Following dinner, there was an Islam education trivia activity. Each question was chosen specifically to either dispel myths of the faith or to share a fundamental aspect of Islam that is generally unknown. Following each question, Najwa Labban, a senior biochemistry major, gave a brief explanation of the answer. The night ended with dessert and a variety of community activities: a photo booth, henna, and a calligraphy stations.

Muslims around the world recharge their faith during the month of Ramadhan and Hajj, and celebrate each with an Eid, which means a “celebration.” Eid Al-Fitr after fasting the month of Ramadhan, and Eid Al-Adha after the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Ramadhan this year was mid-May to mid-June. Muslims fasted during this period from sunrise to sunset. Hajj was August 19 to August 24. Hajj, or Pilgrimage, takes place in the holy city of Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims complete a series of rituals that date back to the time of Abraham, following the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad. On Eid, Muslims start the day with congregational prayers, followed by gathering with friends and family.

Our Eid celebration on campus allowed students to celebrate both Eids and is a rich tradition we look forward to continuing in the future.