This month which was with us for twenty-nine or thirty days, is now about to leave us. It is time for us to go back and see how this guest treated us. Imagine you have guests for a month. Soon after they are gone you go home and go to the room where your guest was staying in, and you feel their absence, their empty space. You remember the wonderful time you had with them during their stay. You remember the good times, their kindness. There are people, who we never get bored with no matter how long they stay with us as they are gentle and good company. When the time finishes, the guest leaves us, because they have a limited time – they cannot stay forever. The same goes for Ramadan. We soon realise how quickly the month of Ramadan has finished.
We are saying goodbye to the month of Ramadan – the one whose departure is very heart-breaking., and this is bothering us. It puts us in deep grief, makes us lonely, we will miss the month of Ramadan. But of course we will always remain in debt to the month of Ramadan, and we feel protective towards the honour and dignity of the month.
We are compensated for the loss of Ramadan with the festivity of Eid. We are granted a way to fill the cavity which is created by the departure of the month of Ramadan in our lives. When our dear guest wants to leave, we escort them but with eyes filled with tears we see them go and disappear. This guest however has left us a letter and some gifts, so we read the letter and examine the gifts with pleasure and happiness. We enjoy the gifts as it helps us to forget just for a while that our guest is not with us anymore but our guest knows about our pain after his departure. This is the example of the month of Ramadan.
Once Hasan Al-Basari passed by a group of people who made mockery of Ramadan. He then said: “Indeed, Allah has created the month of Ramadan as a racetrack for his servants where they compete with one another in worshiping Him. A group has advanced ahead and won while other groups have lagged behind and failed to win. What is more astonishing is one who laughs and makes fun in the day. Those who have come ahead are the winners and those who have mocked are the losers. ”
Lucky is the one who is able to grab the Laylatul-Qadar (Night of Power), a single night which could only be found in the last ten days of Ramadan from 20th until 30th – which is better and superior to one thousand months of worship. Allah said: “We have indeed revealed this message in the Night of Power. And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. There come down the Angels and the spirit by Allah’s permission on every errand: Peace! This until the rise of morning (Qur’an 97:1-5).
It has been suggested that the Night of Power could be on 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th. The reason why Allah, the almighty, did not make known on which night this virtuous night falls, is so that His servants will strive hard to seek and seize that particular night by performing various acts of worships starting on the night of 21st especially like in acts of ibadah such as tahajjud, recitation of the Qur’an and many more in the middle of the night.
The spirit of Eid-ul-Fitre
Eid Al-Fitr is the most important festival in the Islamic calendar. The day does not mark any historical event but it provides the Muslim for an occasion to offer thanks to Allah for having given them the strength and the will to observe fast during the holy month of Ramadan. It is also an occasion for prayers when the Muslims gather in large congregations, standing shoulder to shoulder, to demonstrate the equality and equity which is the inherent feature of Islamic society all over the world. But the greatest significance of this day of rejoicing lies in the fact that on this day every Muslim is enjoined to give the needy food at the rate of the prescribed weight per every member of his household, including servants and guests who were sheltered under his roof the preceding evening.
Eid Al-Fitr then serves a three-fold purpose: It places upon every Muslim the obligation to remember Allah (SWT) and offer Him thanks; it affords him an opportunity of spiritual stock-taking in that he can now ponder over the strength of his will or the weakness of his character, as the case may be, which manifested itself during the preceding month (Ramadan); it also is the day for the haves to share a portion of what they have with the have-nots. And, for those persons who disobeyed this command of Allah (SWT) this is the day of an end to the month-long pangs of conscience, inner struggle and continuous realization of the feebleness of their character. No more will they have to argue, without much conviction, against fasting. No more will they have to think up an excuse every morning for not fasting. Almost everyone realizes the spiritual, social, scientific and medical benefits which are derived from fasting. But so far as a Muslim, a true believer, is concerned, it should be sufficient that fasting is prescribed in the Holy Book of Allah (Glorious Qur’an), and as such is the command of Allah (SWT). Should one seek to justify Allah’s commands? The measure of a man’s love for his Creator is his unquestioned obedience to the commands of the Creator. When for whole month a Muslim has obeyed Allah (SWT), unquestioningly, without complaint, without regret, and when he has spent his time in prayers, in humility and in charity, should one wonder, if at the end of this period, the Creator may Himself turn to such creature of His and say: “It is now for thee to ask for Me to give.” Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, is the period when man is subjected to a supreme test. Without compulsion, without coercion, the Muslims throughout the world obey Allah; and every day from dawn to sunset abstains not only from sensual pleasures but even from the necessities of life like food and drink. Some do this in shivering cold, some in burning heat, some do it where days are short and others where days are interminably long. They all fast, regardless of the colour or their social position. Having done this, for one whole month, today on this auspicious day of Eid Al-Fitr, every Muslim should be ready to face the year that lies ahead with renewed strength, greater understanding and universal goodwill. He has fasted to acquire piety, discipline and self-control. Now the habit of unquestioning obedience to Allah is cultivated in his heart and mind. He is now trained to accept the commands of Allah, in the remaining eleven months of the year, with the same unwavering loyalty. He has emerged from the month of Ramadan with a new personality and a stronger character, confident of his ability to subordinate his desire to his will, his emotion to his intellect.
Essence of Eid
The celebration of Eid ul-Fitr culminates a month of fasting wherein the faithful have spent their time praying and beseeching God for forgiveness and mercy. For many, Ramadan was not just an abstention from food and drink. Rather, it was an exercise in patience and discipline. Eid is the celebration for those who fasted and obeyed God’s rules and teachings. It is for those who spent the month of Ramadan in complete devotion to Allah. Eid is a time when the entire Muslim community comes together to share in each others joy and blessings and also to lessen the burden of those who may be suffering.
It is preceded by people shopping and looking around for gifts for their near and dear ones. It is a time when the bright lights from homes and shops illuminates our life. We use see this day and the following days to spread happiness and social harmony by visiting our friends and relatives.
Gifts are exchanged during Eid by young and old alike. We also visit the elderly and the sick. Eid is a time where all kinds or festivities prevail. Many of us gormandize to make up for “lost food” during the month of Ramadan.
However, with all the going around we some time forget our lesser privileged brethren. We forget that there are many out there who have nothing to celebrate. There are those among our brothers and sisters for whom Eid day is just another ordinary day. There are those who open their cupboards on Eid day and find them bare. There are those who in hospitals who will go through a bleak and lonely day with no one visiting them. Friendless, deprived of company, they will have no one to offer solace or comfort. Let us therefore see to it that our deprived brethren welcome the day of Eid with warmth and hope.
As we buy gifts and clothes for our children, let us earmark a special sum for those who cannot afford to buy. Also we should instill in our children a sense of compassion so that when they buy something they will also think of their unfortunate brethren. Let us teach them the art of giving.
We cannot divest ourselves from the misery of others. We cannot shrug it off saying that it does not concern us. To do this would be an injustice to humanity. The Quran (5:8) tells us … Be just: that is next to piety.
Many of us donate money to charity and fulfill our religious duty. However, if we actually meet the recipients of our charity the perception of charity changes. There is a feeling of belonging when the recipient and giver meet.
Islamic ideology teaches us to be kind and compassionate. Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that “I and the provider of the orphan will be together.” And what greater prize is there for anyone of us than to be around our beloved prophet. All we need for that is compassion, sincerity and a feeling of brotherhood and understanding. And that will decide the quality of our life on earth and the hereafter.
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