Palestine – “We went out and about till after midnight and it was fantastic. There were fireworks, the vibes were just electrifying and everyone was so excited. Everyone was doing their last minute Eid shopping. There were kids who were buying sweets and we handed out some toys in the mosque. Some early Eid gifts for the kids.”
This is how Nabeela Latiff, a South African who spent the last 10 nights in Al-Aqsa, described the atmosphere on the night of Eid. Although the sun was down, the sky was illuminated by a brilliant burst of colourful sparks, casting a dazzling glow across the entire area as Palestinians celebrated the blessed day of Eid.
For Latiff, the atmosphere in Palestine was a “joyous, electrifying feeling such that you will never experience anywhere else”. An atmosphere that was filled with an intense energy that crackled like electricity and everyone filled with anticipation for the day of Eid.
The reason for visiting Palestine during Ramadan
Many travel to the blessed lands every year to experience the last 10 nights of Ramadan in Al-Aqsa. For some, it is a statement to the Israeli government that Al-Aqsa still belongs to the Muslims. To others, it is about attaining that spiritual connection which is why Latiff went.
“It’s my favourite place on earth. I wanted to spend the last 10 days here and I wanted to experience Eid here. You feel spiritually connected. Spending Ramadan in South Africa is so different. You’re focused on your family and making meals for them and here, it is just spiritually something else.”
For Lutfiya Abbas, spending the last 10 nights in Al-Aqsa was all about the experience. Palestine is always in the news and for her, it was a chance to experience something new.
“The reason I am here, I wanted that spiritual connection out of that mundane life that we lead where, unfortunately, female Muslims don’t have the Eid facilities to attend Eid salah. Beyond the five compulsory salahs, to have that undivided attention in that spiritual connection with our Creator (SWT) … To spend Eid amongst the locals, to walk on the grounds that most of the Prophet (AS) have walked on and prayed was such an experience.”
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Friday in Al-Aqsa
Around 120 000 people attended Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The compound was filled with Palestinians and nationals from all over the world. The scene was a beautiful one with kids running all over the place and enjoying their time in the sun, said Latif.
“Eid salah was absolutely beautiful. Everyone was there. The kids were playing and it was fantastic. We plan on walking to go for Jummah. Most of the families are gone to their extended families and their homes. I’ve heard it’s not as busy as the last Jummah that we have experienced. We are very much looking forward to it. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) we’ve been very fortunate to get space in our last Jummah. We all got space in the Dome of the Rock. It is a beauty, absolutely phenomenal.”
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To hear more from Nabeela Latif and Lutfiya Abbas about their Eid experience in Al-Aqsa, listen to the podcast here: