The Message of Eid
Allah’s mercy overcomes his anger. He will see us off nicely. He is glad that we spent those few nights in a few hours of worship, that we called on Him sincerely in prostration asking for whatever wishes were hidden deep inside of us.Eid. A day of food, colorful clothing, money, cheery faces. Definitely a wonderful celebration that Allah has ordained for us in order to honor our month of spirituality and changes. A day of a two-unit prayer that makes us recite nine times:
“O Allah: I ask You for the best of all that for which Your righteous servants have asked You, And I seek Your protection against all that against which Your righteous servants have asked Your protection.”
Let’s take a minute and think about what exactly we are celebrating. Is it a reward for Muslims because they have worked so hard? I mean, all we did was basically “skip lunch”, as a lot of people put it. Maybe it is a reward for those who have completed reading a complete Holy Qur’an (all 30 sections), but how many of us really even do that? I know I’m guilty of not. Maybe we are celebrating a blessed month of protection from Allah against all the bad things that are usually on our tail.
Maybe the holy month of Ramadan’s purpose is something that has changed from the times of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) compared to it now. People now are busy. You know, school, work, the family, who has time to do extra supplications, AND read some holy book? That’s ridiculous – we barely have time to even read our five prayers because we are so busy! Nevertheless, we each find our own ways to take advantage of this holy month during which, according to many narrations, we are Allah’s guests. He closed the gates of hell and locked up Shaitan. We found ourselves doing all-night prayers on the Nights of Qadr, reciting long supplications and learning from our scholars, reading books, whatever the way may be. We get a good feeling, just that one or two nights where we put aside the time to reflect, ponder, sincerely ask Allah for help.
Social network pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) were full of messages saying something along the lines of “I can’t wait for Ramadan to be over!” or the ones that were persistent even starting from the first day of fasting – “I’m soooo hungry!” – or, of course, the classic countdowns of how many days were left. I wonder what Allah thinks, as He is the host of this month. We can think of it in a manner of one of our best friends inviting us over to their house. I wonder how they would feel if we kept looking at our watches, fidgeting to get up, and stuffed our food in our mouths. I wonder how appreciated and loved they would feel. No doubt, as a best friend, they would still love us and see us off nicely as we left their home.
That is the point, my friends. Allah’s mercy overcomes his anger. He will see us off nicely. He is glad that we spent those few nights in a few hours of worship, that we called on Him sincerely in prostration asking for whatever wishes were hidden deep inside of us. He is happy with us. I wonder how Allah feels, as the Master of the Worlds, that his creations at least for this one month out of twelve, gave Him some of their time. I wonder how I would feel.
We can go on to think why Allah made it only obligatory for us to fast for only one month instead of six. Because of course, He knew that in the eras later on, His servants won’t have – or rather, won’t make – the time for Him, and they won’t be able to handle such a task, so he made the requirements less in order for it to be easier for us. It’s like that one kind professor who has a 2-to-4 page limit for his papers instead of 6-to-8. Allah is kind. The most we can do the rest of the eleven months is to keep up the sincere remembrance of Him. Even if it is not every day, at least on a Saturday night, even if we get home late from wherever we are, take 15 minutes out of the 5+ hours we stay awake at night anyway, and sit in a corner and read the Munajaat of Imam Ali (peace be upon him).
“Oh my Master, you are the Guide, and I am the confused one…who can have mercy on the confused one except the Guide?”
It would make more sense to read the English, if we only gave 15 minutes. It just might hit home a little harder. If not every Saturday, then at least once a month.
The month of Ramadan should be an example to us on how we should live during the rest of our months – in remembrance of Allah, in remembrance of the less fortunate, and in remembrance of our dear Imam Ali, who himself was always in remembrance of Allah and the less fortunate. Everything in Islam teaches a lesson of beauty.
There are plenty of ways that fasting and the month of Ramadan teaches us lessons. One can be the positive change in our spirituality. Calling on Allah more and more regularly that we feel closer to Him is nothing but a benefit to us – the more we do it, the more obvious it will become why it is a benefit. It is something unexplainable, basically like a hidden treasure. Another lesson is the bigger picture of life – remembering those who are less fortunate, who at Iftar time do not have a huge meal to eat, but are fasting anyways because of their dedication to Islam. If we were to think of this every day as we opened our fasts, I wonder if it would continue on the rest of our days out of practice.
Or, the practice of self-control we learned during Ramadan. We go around our daily lives without eating a thing, even though there are restaurants all around us, friends eating in the same room as us, water fountains aplenty, yet we don’t dare eat or drink. Why is that? This is proof that we each have control over our actions. Allah is allowing us to show ourselves that we have control over our actions, and this control does not only last for 30 days. So that one day in a month when it is not the holy month of Ramadan, and we have the choice to pick up and buy something haram, just as it was available when we were fasting and we did not, we still do not have to pick it up. Or, just as we had the chance to enter into a place where un-Islamic things are taking place, we still have the control not to drive over there or take a step into the building.
The spirit of the holy month is a beautiful thing, and I think it would be even more beautiful if continued on throughout the year. How nice it would be to see our mosques and centers filled with people eating together and calling on their Creator together, with tears in their eyes begging for a new start?
I like to see this month as a reminder for how the rest of our months should be spent – in devotion and in remembrance. Let’s keep up the good work, the good deeds, and the patience. And if we lacked those things and feel bad that we might have lost our tempers, attended wrong gatherings, didn’t finish our Holy Qur’an, did not ask for forgiveness, or spend the nights of power in worship this month, let us practice every week, every day, once a month, so that when the next time the month of Ramadan rolls around, and if we are blessed to still be alive, we will be ready to take advantage of the opened gates of Heaven.
As we all celebrate Eid this year, let us not forget those around the world who will still be starving, thirsty, and tired all year long. Don’t let the purpose of the Ramadan become a ritual, there is a reason for it all. Think about it.
Eid Mubarak to all, especially the ones who cannot celebrate with fancy, expensive outfits, lavish food, and Eid money. May we allow the true teachings of Islam to be a guiding light in our lives as it is meant to be, by opening our eyes, taking control of our actions, and thanking Allah for giving us another chance every day.