As Bay Area Muslims ended their fasts Monday and prepared for the celebratory Eid festivities Tuesday that signal the close of , the West Valley Muslim Association (WVMA) is busy finalizing the creation of a large-scale Eid event that will bring together Muslims from all over the area.
The WVMA, based in Saratoga, provides services to Muslims in several nearby cities, including Cupertino, Campbell and Los Altos. What started in 2007 as a small room hosting weekly prayers has grown into to a full-fledged community organization that offers classes, lecture series, programs, prayer services and community gatherings.
During the month of Ramadan, WVMA was busy organizing daily prayers, open houses and gatherings for the Muslim community, culminating in Tuesday’s Eid celebrations at the Quinlan Center and Memorial Park.
Says Reshma Hyder, elected board member and communications secretary of the WVMA, “We’re a pretty dynamic group and we have a lot of programs going on … we started out in a small room, but now our weekly prayers have close to 400 people.”
Hyder emphasizes the convenience that the organization brings to Bay Area Muslims, who might otherwise not have an easily accessible place to pray.
“We’ve done a lot of outreach in local newspapers so that people who might want to use our services know about us,” she says. “[The WVMA] provides a nice place for people to pray during the day … they may not belong to the community here, but they can still utilize our Friday services.”
Indeed, one of WVMA’s biggest times of community outreach comes during the month of Ramadan, in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours.
“During Ramadan, we have a morning breakfast and a daily breaking of the fast, and we provide the food, so it’s a really nice community gathering—that’s another service we provide for in this area, and it’s really convenient,” Hyder says.
The organization also participates in a number of community service projects, from partnering with Habitat for Humanity to working with and helping local orphans.
“We’re always expanding and looking into ways to help the community,” Hyder says.
While Ramadan is a period of fasting, it is also a time, Hyder says, for charitable giving and sharing the wealth.
During Tuesday’s Eid celebration, each member is asked to give $10 to the congregation’s Eid fund, and there will also be a collection fund with Islamic Relief for the Somalia Famine.
“The lecture in the morning [of the Eid festival], which is done by our imam, is usually about reflection on the last month, including a reminder to be mindful of the food we ate or did not eat," Hyder says. "The collections are a way to show that we are thankful for everything we have.”
In addition to charitable giving, Tuesday’s celebrations are just that—a celebration. There will be live performances, a bird show for kids, food and face painting. The turnout is expected to be huge—while last year’s celebration brought in 1,200 people, this year Hyder says the WVMA expects to see up to 3,000.
With the month drawing to a close, Hyder says the WVMA is grateful for the support from the Bay Area community.
“We want to educate people about the faith and the culture, and we’re really happy to be established and welcomed in this neighborhood,” she says. “We at the WVMA are happy to open doors to everyone, to have a diverse group of people attending our services.”
Eid Festivities will be held insha'Allah on Tuesday at Cupertino Quinlan Center and Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.