The 2.1 billion Muslims in the world today (August 19, 2012) commemorate the day of Eid-el Fit’r in fitting celebrations in their respective communities and more often funfares and other forms of merry-making, not contrary to Islam, are included to make the occasion more lively as this is also a time for thanksgiving. It is a day of rejoicing, because in Islam, devout worship and the performance of good deeds to get the Pleasure of Allah are considered just cause for celebration. After a month of continuous fasting, Muslims are endorsed to rejoice. But, of course, central to the celebration is the two raka’ah Eid prayer that usually starts before 7:00 in the morning.
Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “break-fasting”; and so the holiday symbolizes the celebration of break-fasting after completing the fasting of the entire month of Ramadan (calendar month). The first day of Eid, therefore, is the first day of the month Shawwal that comes after Ramadan.
Muslims are commanded by the Qur’an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir on the day of Eid-el Fit’r.
The Sunnah (recommended acts) on the day of Eid
The following are recommended acts (www.islamiccity.com) on the day of Eid-el Fit’r:
- Waking up early.
- Preparing for personal cleanliness
- Taking a Ghusl (bath) after Fajr.
- Brushing of the teeth (shewaq).
- Wearing of best dress appropriate for the occasion.
- Using perfume (men only).
- Having breakfast on Eid-el-Fitr before leaving for prayer ground
- Paying Zakaat-al-Fitr before Salaat-al-Eid (on Eid-al-Fitr).
- Going to prayer ground early.
- Offering Salaat-al-Eid in congregation in an open place except when the weather condition is not favorable.
- Using two separate route to and from the prayer ground.
- Reciting the Takbir.
In our corner of the world (Poblacion, Matalam, North Cotabato, Philippines), Muslim devotees had started to converge at the prayer ground which is an open space in a 5-hectare residential compound owned by my wife’s family (Sultan) as early as 5:45 a.m. I was a bit surprise to see Muslim women arriving in bigger numbers than the men until at about 6:30 a.m. there were already more men than women.
I was asked by the Imam (congregational prayer leader) to make some announcements, especially the (Sultan) family’s heartfelt concurrence to the religious leaders’ clamor for a Mosque to be constructed in the area. I pinpointed to the congregation the exact spot where the Mosque will rise (ensha Allah) and took advantage of telling them about the essence of Eid-el Fit’r (More often, I give sermons on Friday congregational prayers).
I told the Muslim faithfuls that Ramadhan is an occasion for the highest level of spiritual retreat and soul cleansing to take place. The holy month of Ramadhan is an Islamic assertion to give utmost dedication and commitment to the performance of iba’dah and purification – meaning, a way to live life that is free from sin and unworthy mundane indulgence. The essence of Ramadhan is practicing a way of life that ensures any Muslim faithful of a place in Heaven, and therefore, should be carried out throughout the year as death can come anytime of the year. The traditional notion that after Ramadan, one is free to return to his/her usual imperfect way of life, is absolutely wrong, hence, a spiritual reawakening is necessary in our corner of the world.
After the Eid congregational prayer, our family offered food and halal drinks to the members of the congregation by way of a kanduli (feasting on sumptuous food, usually Muslim delicacies). My isnad (wish) was for Allah (swt) to strengthen our iman (faith), increase rij’k (sustenance) and give us lasting peace here and in the hereafter.
Happy Eid Mubarak to all.