Fosterline want to send their best wishes to all Muslims and especially the Muslim foster carers in England and the UK observing Eid al-Adha.
Eid-al-Adha is the Islamic festival to remember Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God. It is observed around the 10th to the 13th days of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset.
This year Eid-al-Adha is on Saturday October 4th and Muslims will observe the festival from sundown this evening.
There are many foster carers in England and the UK that are not Muslims but who will be looking after children who are of Muslim faith and we feel very strongly that their needs and faith are met and respected. We have contacted a number of foster carers who will be celebrating Eid-al-Adha and asked them to share their experiences and traditions with the rest of the fostering community.
These are some of the responses we received:
I am elated to learn of your interest to find out a little more about foster care and a child’s religious impact.
A child’s belief is of paramount importance as this gives them a sense of direction and belonging in life. To many it teaches morals and a code of conduct for living life. Religion is a way of life and if shown to the children in the correct manner that in itself can be a parent, guardian and a professional career providing firm boundaries.
We have looked after two Muslim teenagers.
Both enjoyed their stay with us. Girl A had been in care since the age of 11 and was never comfortable in any of her previous placements apart from ours because we were the only carers in her view that catered for her particular religious and cultural needs. She felt comfortable with our way of life, religion culture and mother tongue. Our faith and beliefs are exactly the same as hers. She was able to relate and ask questions pertaining to her faith for learning and clarity.
As a family we enjoyed going to the mosque on a weekly basis. My wife wears the full Muslim attire. Child A who regularly used to dress in a western way, insisted on adopting a similar Muslim dress as my wife on her own accord. She claimed that adopting the latter dress code made her feel more comfortable and safe.
Child A showed an interest to attend the local madrasah. Madrasah is a place where young people attend to learn more about their faith. Child A later felt she could not attend as she was not aquatinted to the routine and environment, however she commented that had she been offered this opportunity early she would have readily took up on it.
We feel child A had missed out on a lot of her religious knowledge. She has an aspiration and inclination to learn more about her religion but feels she was restricted given the previous placements she’s had.
Child A initially thought Eid was just about eating samosas and pakoras and wearing new clothes, however we taught her that there was a lot more to Eid than this. She was totally unaware that one should read an extra prayer on that day. We were able to fill her knowledge gap by teaching her the history of both Eids and what it really meant.
She felt frustrated that she was not placed with similar minded people as us earlier in her fostering life. She knew about the need to fast but not the history or reason behind fasting.
Child B celebrated Eid with us and was amazed by the planning and attention to detail involved on Eid day. She was unaware how important Eid day was
As foster carers it gives us a sense of great achievement when we are able to truly develop a child to flourish and be who they really are.
We Muslims celebrate two Eid’s in a year.
The first is Eid-ul-Fitr which is celebrated at the end of the month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast for a month. The fast is from dawn to dusk and is a blessed month as it is believed the Quran (holy book) was revealed to mankind in this month.
The second celebration is Eid –ul- Adha, where Muslims celebrate to commemorate the willingness of prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to god but god had put an animal in front of Ibrahim instead and it also marks the end of hajj. Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Saudi where millions of Muslims go every year. Muslims worldwide will sacrifice an animal and then share the meat with the poor, family and friends.
In my family Eid day starts at 6 o clock for adults, where we pray Fajr (Morning Prayer), after that the men get ready for their Eid prayer. When the men come back from prayer we all get together at my mother’s house.
We give each other gifts and eat food. The children love Eid day especially because of the nice gifts and money they get from adult relatives. We all have a lot of different foods e.g. Palau rice, Biryani, Asian sweets and delicious puddings. My foster children are always included in my Eid celebrations and are welcomed in my large family and friends. Then we visit my family and friend’s houses to meet and greet and give gifts, celebrations go on for three days in my family.
Being a foster carer has not altered the way I spend my Eid it has made my Eid a great deal better, when I see the joy and happiness on my foster child’s face.
Eid is a very joyous occasion for all Muslims and especially for young children. It follows 30 days of compulsory fasting for all Muslims who are old enough and well enough to participate; this is the holy month of Ramadan.
During Ramadan all of the Eid shipping is done a few days before the celebrations take place. People will wake up early in the morning put on their new clothes and start preparing the food. Eid prayers will be read at the local mosque and a prayer will be performed at the first meal at home with the whole family sat at the table together.
A variety of exotic food will be prepared including colourful rice dishes, several meat dishes and many sweet dishes.
The rest of the day will be spent visiting close family and friends until late night. Children will be particularly pampered and given money at each house that the visit and will be bought large toys and lots of sweets to eat. Eid is mainly about being with family and loved ones and spending a little time together which otherwise we would very rarely do.
Encouraging a child to learn about Islam is first done at home by teaching the child basic Islam using creativity to engage the child from a very early age.
There are plenty of recourses available Publishers have books available for all ages .There are many Nasheed artists who have recorded Islamic songs from nursery rhymes to Rapping appealing to ones choice of music.
Children friendly sites are available on the internet incorporating learning tools to help develop the child’s knowledge of Islam. They use creative activity to ensure the child can learn about Islam and the etiquettes of Islam.
Children are enrolled in a local Mosque at the age of five, where there is a set curriculum to educate the child and parents or carers evenings are held to see what level the child is working at. The teachers teach using various methods to ensure the child can develop at their own pace ensuring the child builds a secure foundation of Islam to enhance their self-esteem and identity.
Mosques promote diversity and cohesiveness so that the child has a good understanding of engaging with everyone from all communities to build their social skills. Children will be part of out of mosque activity i.e. funfairs raising money for charities or special Islamic days making the child feel part of their Muslim identity.
Days leading up to Eid festival the whole family will be interacting with preparations for Eid new clothes and special foods and gifts whilst children will be told why they are celebrating Eid and the importance by fully involving the child from preparation to Eid prayer and the celebration. The child will have a greater awareness of family friends and feel part of a secure base.
Carers looking after Muslim children have to maintain the child’s need of their Islamic identity by ensuring the child develops there education of Islam. Foster carers need to promote Islam by using all sources available. All foster carers should have no reservation about getting in touch with a local mosque to arrange a meeting with the Imam who will offer their advice on how foster carers can develop the child’s knowledge of Islam and also in the same time have a better understanding of how to meet the child’s needs of being a Muslim.
Non-Muslim carers should not have any reservations for looking after Muslim children .We live in a multicultural diverse society and therefore no one should be judgmental on non-Muslim carers who in their professional capacity are ensuring their child’s faith and ethnicity needs are met.
Fosterline want to send their very best wishes to all Muslims and especially to all Muslim foster carers and looked after Muslim children. Eid Saeed.