Close to 2 billion Muslims all over the world celebrate Eidel Fit’r today (July 17, 2015) to commemorate the day of Eid-el Fit’r in fitting celebrations in their respective communities. 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 deserving of the pleasure of Allah are considered just cause for celebration.
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 during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therfore, is the first day of the month of Shawwal that comes after Ramadan.
Muslims are commanded by the Qur’an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.
The Sunnah (recommended acts) on the day of Eid are as follows:
- 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 (esp. for men).
- Having breakfast on Eid-el-Fitr before going to the prayer ground.
- Giving of Saddaqah (alms-giving).
- Going to the 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 started to converge at the prayer ground (which is an open space at the playground of the Matalam High School) 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.
Before the start of the Eid congregation prayer, I was asked by the Imam (congregational prayer leader) to make some announcements on anything relevant to the occasion.
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. The traditional notion that after Ramadan, one is free to return to his/her usual imperfect (sinful) way of life, is absolutely wrong, hence, a spiritual reawakening is necessary to correct this.
Ramadhan, in fact, is the annual training ground for every Muslim faithful to demonstrate that he/she is capable of rising above mundane dependence on food, water and sex during the day. As a training ground, it is expected that the virtues of fasting be kept alive and practiced until the next Ramadhan comes.
I like the sermon of Ustadz Norodin Abas especially the portion where he said that there are three kinds of people that exist in this world with respect to faith and material possessions.
1. Those whose faith increases as their material possessions increase and decreases as their material possessions decrease;
2. Those who were blinded by materialism that, despite huge increase in their material possessions, they remain adamant and unfaithful to God; and
3. Those who remain steadfast in their faith despite being poor or less fortunate than others.
Of course, the best type of people are those belonging to no. 3. He said, however, that one does not have to be poor to be steadfast in his faith. He asked: “Do you know what is better than no. 3?” “Those who keep their faith regardless of whether they are poor or rich”. Still, much better than this, are those who, not only keep their faith, but remember to share with the poor in times of abundance, and those who are able to keep their faith and resist envy and temptation in times of deprivation.
May Allah (swt) grant the Muslim Faithfuls inner peace, peaceful co-existence with their fellow human beings (Muslims and non-Muslims) and eternal peace in the Hereafter.
Happy Eidel Fit’r celebrations to all.