Māori Muslim shares his Eid celebration

Muslims around the world marked the end of Ramadan yesterday in a celebration called Eid al-Fitr. 

Eid al-Fitr (Festival of the breaking of the fast) begins at the sighting of the new moon at the start of the Muslim month of Shawwal and brings to a close the month of religious fasting between dawn and dusk referred to as Ramadan.

There are currently more than 1,000 Māori Muslims living in Aotearoa. 

The Online News Team spoke to Te Rata Hikairo, a Muslim convert living in Auckland about his experience of Eid this year. 

“Eid for me is very very special because of what it means in Islam,” says Hikairo, “Eid for me is where God shows his beauty and love for me through other people and also allows me to show his love for them, through me and my actions.  And so, Eid for me has been a time when charities have given to me and my whanau, or Muslims have shared gifts with me…. And has also been a time of big, big hugs and huge genuine smiles. So Eid for me is a time of Aroha,” he says.

Hikairo remains mindful of Māori tikanga and remarks on some parallels between the celebration of Eid and Matariki.

“From an aronga Māori, one of the cool things this year is how Eid and Matariki have both coincided… to me, that was both uncanny and awesome, but obviously had significance for me as a Māori Muslim,” says Hikairo.

“When I look at Eid from a Māori perspective there are two main kaupapa, and those are obligatory upon me both as a Māori who follows our tikanga and also Islam, and those two kaupapa are koha and karakia.

Eid revolves around praying as a whanau and as a whole haopri, as a kahui as an iwi. All praying together all giving glory to the Atua. Karakia is important and focuses us on the Atua.

Koha is about making sure we take care of our rawakore, of our whanau  and our people who don’t have a lot.  Make sure they have more than enough, and that they are taken care of.”

Although Hikairo is grateful to live in a country that respects and enshrines religious freedom, he is conscious of the suffering of the Umma (Muslim faith community) across the world.

“This year my heart has that aroha too…but also feels heavy. With the massacres in Baghdad and Madinah, I have been sad today thinking of my lost brothers and sisters.”

Hikairo discussed his busier than usual Eid. “In the past, I have celebrated Eid with other Muslims, generally by going to the karakia in the morning, listening to the kauwhau and giving my koha for Eid to help whanau who are less fortunate. That has been my practice in the past.  This year I was busy with mahi, as I am a kaiako at a kura kaupapa, and so did not get to make it to karakia today,” he adds.

Despite his work commitments, Hikairo made sure to celebrate Eid this year and to acknowledge his fellow Muslims in Aotearoa and around the world.

“I sent out my regard to friends and whanau via social media and silently prayed for Muslims around the world," says Hikairo, “By the grace of God, I was in a dairy tonight and met my Muslim brother who runs that shop.  I just wanted a drink and knew the shop was owned by Muslims.  As I paid at the counter, I bought some extra sweets and gave it to the shop owner. He gave me some extra kai from the shop.  So, ahakoa he iti he mapihi pounamu.”