The Significance of Eid
If there is anything that we should celebrate, it should be in gratitude of what we have and the renewed vigour of our community. Let me tell you why that is.
Eid is a time of festivities, a moment to celebrate the small but consistent accomplishments we achieved in Ramadan. In the fasting month, we trained ourselves to be mindful of our thoughts and actions. We learned that being a better person requires lots of effort, and as the days passed, we understand how being a dutiful servant and proactive member of society go hand-in-hand in leading a meaningful life. And so, we began giving our 110% effort at work and in school, and we commit the same energy at night in prayer. Tiring as it was, deep down, we felt a calmness descend upon us, as though Allah was reassuring us that He was witnessing us giving it our all.
Yet, at the same time, we witness the hardships that others go through. When you helped your local mosque give out food packs to the needy, you had a glimpse of the lives of those less fortunate than you; their cramped apartments filled with old furniture, small kids playing with broken toys, wearing an obviously oversized shirt from another charity event. When you got back to the mosque to prepare for Iftar, you bump into groups of foreign construction workers lining up to get drinks for their friends at the eating area. Their tired but cheery faces smile at you as they pass you a cup. That same evening after Maghrib prayers, the congregants brought in a casket as the Imam called for everyone to join in Jenazah prayers – someone’s aunt just passed away a few hours ago.
See, as we enjoyed another month of Ramadan, others are afflicted with trials by Allah. This doesn’t make them any lesser, if anything, it means that Allah wants to test them and elevate them in status. What we should do is reflect; what we have, what others don’t have and what we can do. The act of reflection lies at the very heart of every chapter in the Quran.
“Then do they not reflect upon the Quran, or are there locks upon their hearts?” (47:24)
“Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought”. (16:11)
“And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought”. (16:44)
“And in yourselves. Then will you not see?” (51:21)
When we reflect on ourselves and the things happening around us, we begin to question ourselves and scrutinize what we do on a daily. We see the areas where we are lacking, and from there, we can take the necessary steps to improve our habits and our lifestyles, because as much as we want to rid the world of all its evils, the biggest challenge is coming to terms with our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Once we truly discipline ourselves and become competent human beings do we really unleash our true potentials and make an impact on society.
The second significant achievement is communal unity.
Islam is a holistic religion that encompasses all aspects of life, its teachings and value permeate through each and every level of the society; the individual, the family unit and the community itself. Therefore, it is not enough that we maintain our relationship with Allah. We also have to be take care of our relations with the people around us. Here comes the concept of ‘Hablun minAllah, hablun minannaas’.
Roughly translated, it means ‘our rope with Allah, our rope with people’. In essence, Islam teaches us the dual importance of maintaining both these things in our lives. We see this in Ramadan when we do community work together, by preparing Iftar for our fellow brothers and sisters. We understand that our obligations to Allah don’t stop us in any way from performing our jobs and responsibilities. In fact, our tasks become a form of ibadah and an amanah in the eyes of Allah.
Therefore, the same communal energy that we exhibited in Ramadan should be continued in Syawal and all the remaining months. This is why we celebrate during Eid; because we are once again reconnected once again with all our brothers and sisters. The Prophet (peace be upon him) described the Ummah as a single body, if part of us becomes harmed, the rest will be affected as well.
So, with that in mind, let us channel our renewed spirits into becoming better servants to Allah and better members of the community. Let us learn to set aside our differences and work together towards a common goal; to gain Allah’s pleasure and to be successful in this world and the next. May we all be blessed to meet Ramadan again next year.
Contributed by Ustaz Mizi Wahid of Safinah Institute.