Serjeel Ahmed, Missionary, Micronesia
The sighting of the new moon at the end of Ramadan is a special time for over one billion Muslims worldwide. It is a time of grand celebration that follows a rigorous month of fasting during the day and prostrating in front of Allah during the nights.
On this day, Muslims observe the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, adorning themselves with specially selected clothes and perfume, before heading to the mosque for Eid prayers. After that, people busy themselves with family reunions and shared meals. The sweet shops are filled with long lines of people eagerly waiting to get their hands on specially prepared confectionaries so that they can be distributed.
Children anxiously wait for gift s, also called “eidi”, from their elders. More importantly, the occasion of Eid emphasises sharing with those in need.
The need for celebration and happiness has always been an innate trait of humans designed by the creator of the universe himself.
Every religion and society has their days of celebration. Hinduism, known as the oldest religion on earth, celebrates Diwali. Christians celebrate Easter and adherents of the Jewish faith celebrate Hanukah. Nations around the world celebrate different seasons and times to relieve people of their fatigue, perhaps for a few hours. With the advent of Islam, Allah gave Muslims two days of Eid to elevate the believer’s spirituality. While other worldly celebrations may be held, Islam’s goal is to provide a person with a celebration that grants eternal happiness of the Hereafter. It can be likened to an incredibly thirsty person – he may be given unclean water for temporary survival, but the real pleasure is when he drinks fresh, cold water.
Allah has given us two main days of Eid with great intricate reasoning in their occurrence. On Eid-ul-Fitr, Muslims spend their day in the remembrance of Allah to allow them to develop their spirituality. The second occurrence of Eid-ul-Adha is a day of remembering the sacrifice that Abrahamas became ready for, in wishing to slaughter his son in the way of Allah. It is a lesson for all to be prepared to sacrifice whatever they have for Allah.
In remembering Hazrat Abrahamas, we recognise the value of obedience in Allah’s cause as this is the actual moment of Eid for a believer. In chapter five of the Holy Quran, we read of the disciples of Hazrat Jesusas that they asked for “a table spread with food”, to which Jesusas replied, “Fear Allah, if you are believers.” (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.113).
Prophet Jesusas then prayed to Allah:
“O Allah, our Lord, send down to us a table from heaven spread with food that it may be to us a festival, to the first of us and to the last of us, and a Sign from Thee; and provide sustenance for us, for Thou art the Best of sustainers.” (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.115)
Allah then replied, “Surely, I will send it down to you, but whosoever of you disbelieves afterward – I will surely punish them with a punishment wherewith I will not punish any other of the peoples.” (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.116)
Thus, the days of Eid are not a time for worldly celebration alone, but are within themselves a profound call to become closer to Allah the Almighty. When one becomes a recipient of Allah’s blessings, a heavier responsibility is laid upon a Muslim to remember Allah for the favours that have been bestowed upon him. That is why the Holy Prophetsa would pray six times on the day of Eid, rather than the daily five prayers. The lesson in these Eid days is to remember Allah with greater passion and supplication in times of our happiness. In every moment of life, we must keep Allah’s love stronger than every other pleasure.
Like a fruit-bearing tree, if we do not bend with the weight of the fruit that Allah has bestowed upon us, the branches of our faith will inevitably falter and break. The Holy Prophetsa would spend his nights supplicating in the way of Allah with that his feet would swell from standing.
Once, Hazrat Mughirara bin Shu‘ba asked the Prophetsa for the reason of his great struggle in the way of Allah, to which he replied, “Should I not become a thankful servant of Allah?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 1130)
A man by nature is inclined to become blind in his time of happiness. That is why the Holy Prophetsa taught us that our greatest Eid is in recognising that Allah is greater than everything else in this world and that only when we thank Allah can we progress as believers. The Sahabara (Companions of the Prophetsa) understood this sentiment and worked with the greatness of love in their hearts for Allah. They were among those who never had bread made of fine wheat, nor did many of them have enough cloth to cover their heads and feet at the time of their burial. What they did have at their disposal was the opportunity to inculcate the pleasure of Allah in their actions; they submitted to His desire, so much so that every day became an Eid.
Eid holds within itself an extraordinary message for the Muslim world. Up until the point that the Muslim world held its time of Eid as a chance to run towards Allah with even greater vigour, they flourished with an extraordinary victory. The moment they started to forget Allah during their times of triumph, they fell into great sorrow and their achievements began to recede one by one.
It is a shame that a majority of the Muslim population today deems Eid as a time of worldly celebration alone and have lost the true essence of Eid within their hearts.
We as Ahmadi Muslims should continue to run towards Allah’s mercy and in these days of Eid, thank Allah and bow even further in our prostrations and humility, so that every day becomes a day of Eid.
May the coming of this Eid grant us true happiness and contentment of our hearts. While it is a time of celebration amongst ourselves, we must never forget the essence within: to fall in Allah’s lap in every moment.