Hazrat Maulana Abul Ata Jalandhari was a stalwart of the Jamaat. He was the editor of Al Furqan (among other Arabic journals) and author of the acclaimed Tafhimat-e-Rabbaniyyah. At the age of 27, he was sent as a missionary to the Arab world, conducting tabligh in places such as Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. He would also serve as a lecturer and the principal of Jamia Ahmadiyya, among many other notable offices of the Jamaat.
This article was published in Al Fazl on 5 December 1937.
Hazrat Maulana Abul Ata Jalandhari, (1904-1977)
As the 29th day of fasting approaches its end, Muslims begin to look towards the horizon. The young and the old set their eyes firmly on the sky in search of the crescent moon. If the moon is not sighted on the 29th day, the same stargazing scene repeats the following evening; everyone eagerly searching for the appearance of the Eid crescent.
There are two Eids in Islam – Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. The Eid we are celebrating today is Eid-ul-Fitr. Eid-ul-Fitr signifies the day of celebration upon the completion of the month of Ramadan. Eid is a day of happiness that one wishes to see again and again, as man is naturally inclined towards experiencing joy.
A believer, on the one hand, finds joy in fasting during the month of Ramadan and on the other hand, he is rejoiced by breaking the fast on the day of Eid. Those who are able to fast during the month of Ramadan by abstaining from food and drink during the day and by spending the nights in worship, fully deserve expressing joy at having been able to obey Allah in that way. That joy is expressed through their actions and their appearance. Their relatives and loved ones also partake of that joy and perhaps most of all the little ones.
This Eid, however, only lasts a day. This outward expression of happiness is only temporary. It cannot be considered the ultimate reward for fasting. Fasting is much more precious and valuable than that. Therefore, we conclude that Eid is just an illustration, a small glimpse of the real Eid, which has far-reaching and lasting effects. Indeed, it is the purpose of man’s life.
Although true believers are saddened by the departure of Ramadan and the spiritual blessings attached to it, humans are also naturally inclined towards socialising. Hence, after a spiritual exercise of about 30 days, they need to practically live out the gathered experience. The rest of the 11 months can, therefore, be likened to a farmer taking his produce to the market after harvesting it. Thus, although one may feel sad upon the end of Ramadan, it is also important to enter the next phase by celebrating Eid.
The expression of happiness and joy upon successfully completing the first phase (of fasting) is called Eid. Indeed, only those are truly deserving of celebrating Eid, who have also benefitted from the spiritual blessings of Ramadan. The Holy Prophetsa once said:
إِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ عِيدِهِمْ يَعْنِي يَوْمَ فِطْرِهِمْ بَاهَى بِهِمْ مَلَائِكَتَهُ فَقَالَ: يَا مَلَائِكَتِي مَا جَزَاءُ أَجِيرٍ وَفَّى عَمَلَهُ؟ قَالُوا: رَبَّنَا جَزَاؤُهُ أَنْ يُوَفَّى أَجْرَهُ. قَالَ: مَلَائِكَتِي عَبِيدِي وَإِمَائِي قَضَوْا فَرِيضَتِي عَلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ خَرَجُوا يَعُجُّونَ إِلَى الدُّعَاءِ وَعِزَّتِي وَجَلَالِي وَكَرَمِي وَعُلُوِّي وَارْتِفَاعِ مَكَاني لأجيبنهم. فَيَقُول: ارْجعُوا فقد غَفَرْتُ لَكُمْ وَبَدَّلْتُ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ حَسَنَاتٍ. قَالَ: فَيَرْجِعُونَ مَغْفُورًا لَهُمْ
“When their day of Eid comes, i.e. the day when they break their fast, God speaks proudly of them to His angels, saying, ‘My angels, what is the reward of a hired servant who has fully accomplished his work?’ They reply, ‘Our Lord, his reward is that he should be paid his wage in full.’ He says, ‘My angels, My male and female servants have fulfilled what I have made obligatory for them, and then have come out raising their voices in supplication. By My might, glory, honour, high dignity, and exalted station, I will certainly answer them.’ Then He says, ‘Return, for I have forgiven you and changed your evil deeds into good deeds.’ He said that they then return having received forgiveness.” (Shu‘ab al-Iman, Imam al-Baihaqi)
The true essence of Eid is evident from this hadith. Eid is an excellent occasion for the acceptance of prayers. When even we mortals fulfil the wishes of our children on Eid to the best of our abilities, then would my Lord, the Most Generous, reject the prayers of his sincere servants on that blessed day? Not at all.
Many of us ask our children on Eid, as to what gifts they want. It is natural to humans that they wish to share their happiness with those around them because happiness necessitates coming together and socialising. And the way to make others happy is to fulfil their wishes as best as possible.
On the day of Eid, Allah the Exalted also says to his servants in his own way, “O my servants, say what you desire! What would make you happy?” If someone does not hear this voice, then they ought to pray for the ability to listen.
Eid is a day of happiness. It is a day for the acceptance of prayers. However, only supplications that are infused with passion, reach God’s throne. Hence, one should not waste the entire day pursuing short-lived pleasures and temporary joy; rather, one should pray for eternal bliss and everlasting happiness.
If someone is unaware as to what eternal bliss and everlasting happiness mean, then they should ponder over the following words of the Promised Messiahas. He states:
“Our paradise lies in our God. Our highest delight is in our God for we have seen Him and found every beauty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring though one might have to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing though one may have to lose oneself to acquire it. O ye, who are deprived! Hasten to this fountain as it will satiate you. It is this fountain of life that will save you.” (Noah’s Ark [English], pp. 35)
O Most-Forgiving and Sattar God, who conceals the shortcoming of His servants, bless us with Your communion and grant us the true Eid. Amin.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu published in Al Fazl, 5 December 1937)