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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Enjoy the Eid!

Tomorrow is Eid Al-Adha, an important holiday on the Islamic calendar that commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God before God provided him with a ram to sacrifice instead. The day begins with Eid prayers. After that, many Muslims get together with their families, friends and neighbors to exchange Eid greetings, while those who can afford it slaughter an animal (usually a sheep, cow, goat or camel). At least a third of the meat is designated for the poor.

As a busy freelancer, I have, in years past, made the mistake of working on the Eid. The first time I did this was to help out a Muslim-owned newspaper that was behind schedule but whose publisher wanted the paper to be ready for distribution after Eid prayers. I spent about 12 hours the night before the Eid editing a newspaper that was simply not ready to be published. Articles were missing, and I did not (at the time) have the software needed to edit PDF files directly. This meant that I had to make a lot of notes in a Word file so that someone else could insert the corrections.

Needless to say, the newspaper did not get printed on time for Eid prayers. Even in better circumstances, it would have been a very tight squeeze. I don't regret helping the publisher, but I do regret taking time away from my family and not spending time with them the night before the Eid as is customary in our home. I also had trouble waking up early the next morning for Eid prayers. The kids were pretty upset that year--and justifiably so! As a professional with production management experience, I should have informed my client that the paper could not realistically be edited, designed and printed according to the schedule he had in mind. I also should have respected the importance of the Eid to my family and simply declined the job.

You would think I'd learn after that incident, but the next time a client needed me to work on the Eid, I accepted the job without comment. This time, I was working with a non-Muslim client who was sending me lucrative work on a daily basis. Not wanted to disrupt the flow we had established, I accepted work from this client on at least three Eids without telling her I needed a day off. When the fourth Eid rolled around, however, I finally felt comfortable enough to tell her I needed to spend time with my family on the Eid. The client was fine with this and marked it on her calendar. By accident, however, she sent me work on that day anyway. I reminded her that I would not be available to complete the work. She apologized and asked if I could make an exception since no one else was available to do the job. It would have been easy to cave in, but this time I apologized and said it would not be possible. I did not leave the client with no solutions, however. Instead, I told her that I could do the work once the Eid had finished, and she accepted this proposal. Everyone was happy, especially my kids!

Eid Mubarak to all blog visitors! You may wish to take a look at this checklist to review the sunnah practices associated with this holiday.

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This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.