#EidwithMe: How a Chinese Convert Celebrates Eid in SG (Part 3)
#EidwithMe: How a Chinese Convert Celebrates Eid in SG
And finally, we take a trip back home to see Ibrahim, our fellow Chinese Muslim brother who converted to Islam in late 2018.
Ibrahim is currently in his first year at Singapore University of Technology and Design. Let’s find out how his very recent experiences in celebrating Eid were like!
1st Syawal walk-through:
For me, 2019 was the first time I actually experienced Eid as a Muslim. I went for Eid prayers at Darul Arqam. I knew the faces there, the people, staff and those who I’d usually attended classes with. I recognized the faces there but I didn’t really know anybody. But it was still very special. That was the first time I experienced the Eid prayers.
2020 was the first year I wanted to go out celebrating but couldn’t because of the pandemic. I was still in NS anyways so I had to go about my normal schedule. One good thing about celebrating Eid over Zoom then had to be the flexibility, that I can join whenever and wherever.
Last year, my friends sent me some kuih over GrabFood! It was Putri Salat.
Favourite Eid Cookie/Kuih?
Well, if you’re referring to just Muslim desserts in general, then it has to be baklava! It’s my favourite out of everything. I think a lot of the Middle Eastern countries have very wheat-based pastries and I’m a big fan of that. It’s so crispy and soft. (Now I want some too!)
What’s your usual Eid-fit of the day?
I usually wear a kurta. I prefer the kurta over the jubah because it’s looser. I wear it with a pair of long pants. The kurta is actually a gift from a friend. I only have one at the moment and I want to keep it that way. Personally, the kurta is something that I wear to celebrate my Muslim identity and I feel like having just one reminds me just how special the holiday is. It helps me appreciate it better!
Last year I just wore home clothes though, since it was over Zoom!
What’s your favourite part about celebrating Eid?
My favourite part was being able to reconnect with all my friends again. Most of my friends are converts and as converts, one big difference is that we don’t exactly have a family unit. A big part of our Muslim community is our friends. If let’s say a convert has a spouse, then yes their spouse and their family could play a big role. But most of us aren’t married yet so instead, we are each other's' family.
Community is such an important thing and it forms such a big part of our lives. Everyone has their own responsibilities and commitments. So outside of birthdays or holidays, it’s very hard to meet. But Eid is a time of the year where we all set aside to meet each other. As a convert, one of the toughest challenges is a lack of community. But my life became much easier once I found my community.
That’s why this is my favourite part, because I come back to a community that brings me closer to Allah swt. (MashaAllah!)
What did you miss most about Eid during Circuit Breaker last year?
Not being able to go visiting. Even if I wanted to visit my friends, I couldn’t due to the regulations. We could only do so over Zoom. And I’m a people-person, be it face-to-face with them or simply just being in the same room. Physical interactions are important to me and over Zoom, it’s harder to feel the sense of celebration. You can’t even recite anything at the same time (technology problems, yikes). Ultimately, the essence of friendship is knowing that the other person’s presence is there and Zoom does capture that. But the “feels” isn’t there.
Finally, what’s on your Eid radio/screen?
First and foremost, it has to be the takbir. It’s very nice. I’ve listened to the takbirs from all over the world but I still prefer the one here. The tone and melody sounds better to me. Even days after Eid is over, I still have it stuck in my head. It’s very catchy!