So you saved enough money to pay for sacrificing on Eid? Alhamdulillah! Isn’t the crowd huge? Subhan’Allah! You wore a beautiful new outfit for Eid? Masha’Allah! If we truly understand the meanings when using those words, then we remind ourselves of the fact that Allah controls everything, and we recognize that none of what we do is the sole reason for its doing.
The Muslim ummah is once again active with festivities to celebrate the Eids of Adha, Ghadir, and Mubahila! As we are busy getting dressed up for the occasions, exchanging wishes, and spending time with family and friends, it is important to remember to do so in a halal manner and to remember the Almighty.
Not only does the holy month of pilgrimage bring the opportunities to earn more blessings than during other months, but it also brings the joys of the three Eids. Thus we have special days in which we aim to improve our spiritual status through prayers, and days which are spent in celebrations. But the two concepts are not separate; rather, even on Eid, we need to keep our spirituality in mind.
Sure, we go to the mosque, perform Eid prayers, and listen to the sermon – but what about everything else? During the rest of the day of celebrations, it is vital to be constantly aware of Allah’s presence at all times.
As the Shias of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), we must strive to live the way he taught us, and among the many beautiful values he has spoken of, the Imam stressed on piety: God-consciousness. To be conscious of Allah’s presence is to also be aware of our own insignificance and to attribute all that is positive to Him. We are never alone in what we do, and therefore, everything which is good is only thanks to Him.
Getting back to the Eid celebrations – we often use terms in our daily lives which trace things back to Allah rather than taking the credit for it ourselves. Don’t forget to remember Him on Eid as well! So you saved enough money to pay for sacrificing on Eid? Alhamdulillah! Isn’t the crowd huge? Subhan’Allah! You wore a beautiful new outfit for Eid? Masha’Allah! If we truly understand the meanings when using those words, then we remind ourselves of the fact that Allah controls everything, and we recognize that none of what we do is the sole reason for its doing.
Besides adding words in our speech that inspire piety, it is also important to be pious in everything else we say – because no matter what the size of the crowd on Eid, tongues will definitely be working overtime! However, remembering the presence of the Almighty will make it easier to “think before you speak”. Are the words about to be uttered going to cause any good? Is it something that wouldn’t be embarrassing to repeat later on? Will the words please Allah? If not, then refrain from saying it!
Eid is a time to give our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters special wishes and gifts. The gifts come in many different forms: a card, a prayer, food, clothes, or perhaps an object. The key point is that the gifts do not have to be anything extravagant; rather, they should be according to each person’s God-given abilities. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) has even said, “If you have nothing to give, give a kind word or even just an affectionate smile.” It is the intention that matters. Being conscious of His presence when deciding what to give prevents us from making a show of our gift. It purifies our desire to give only for the sake of pleasing Allah.
After the celebratory gatherings at the mosque, everyone has their own plans: some spend time with the extended family members, some with friends – but even in those situations, it is essential to keep in mind Allah’s presence and our purpose of getting closer to Him. Different people have different standards when it comes to what extent they choose to live in a halal manner. So when making the decision whether to accompany someone to a gathering, just remember the saying of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him): “Piety is that Allah does not miss you in the place where He has commanded you to be, and does not see (find) you where He has forbidden you from.”
Of course, there is also the “dressing up” aspect of Eid. Wearing beautiful new clothes on Eid is a recommended act in Islam, and in the context of segregated gatherings, there is nothing wrong in dressing up fancily. However, the moments between when we step out of the house and into the ladies’/gents’ side of the mosque are important as well. Proper hijab – in terms of clothing as well as behavior – must be observed.
After the events at the masjid, anytime that there is interaction between non-Mahram individuals is a time when it is even more necessary to be conscious of Allah’s presence. The interaction must be respectable, and the attire must also be in line with the rulings of Hijab. Sometimes you hear the “It’s only one day” excuse in reference to not observing Hijab – but that is one entire day in which Allah is being forgotten!
In sermon number 16 of Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali has said: “Beware that sins are like unruly horses on whom their riders have been placed and their reins have been let loose, so that they would jump with them in Hell. Beware that piety is like trained horses on whom the riders have been placed with the reins in their hands, so that they would take the riders to Heaven. There is right and wrong and there are followers for each. If wrong dominates, it has (always) in the past been so, and if truth goes down, that too has often occurred. It seldom happens that a thing that lags behind comes forward.”
We must strive to be among those who do not lag behind, and to be the riders who are guided by piety. In our happiness of celebrating the Eids, let us re-affirm our belief in the teachings of Islam by heightening our awareness of Allah’s presence. When we say the special takbir, let it be that we say it with strong conviction and true piety.