Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fitr means “to break the fast” and so symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. When our Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) arrived in Medina, He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) found that people of the city celebrated two festivals. He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) abolished these pegan observations and told the Muslims that Allah has substituted them for you with what is better: the day of sacrifice (Eid-Al-Adha) and the day of Fitr (breaking the fast). The Eids are purely religious occasions for the Muslims. They are the only holidays in Islam, and were granted to the Muslims by Allah. This indicates His great love and mercy towards those who adhere to His blessed religion: Islam. ‘Eid-Ul-Fitr’ falls on the first day of Islamic month of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Muslim calendar, and marks the end of fasting observed during the month of Ramadan. The festival of ‘Eid-Al-Adha’ is celebrated on the 10th of the month of Zillhijjah; Qurbani (Sacrifices of Animals) are made on this day and their meat are distributed amongst family and the needy, commemorating the unparalleled sacrifice offered by the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his first child Prophet Ismaeel (AS) the forefather of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
The Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) considered the month of Ramadan the most suitable for the spiritual discipline of the Muslim community. Allah says in the Holy Quran: ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, guidance to men and clear proofs of guidance and the criterion (of right and wrong). So whoever of you is present in the month, he shell fast therein’ (Sura Bakr, 2:185). Ramadan has been, for Muslims, the training school for self-discipline and self-restraint. This voluntary denial of all food, drink and pleasure during daylight hours is part of a regulated discipline whereby Muslims not only fulfill their Islamic obligations, but it is also a means of bringing them closer to their Creator. Allah says: O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil (Sura Bakr, 2:183). Fasting has been prescribed in one form or another by all the revealed religions of the world. The Bible tells us that Prophet David (AS) declared ‘I humbled my soul with fasting’ (Psalms 35:13). We are also told that ‘Jesus (AS) fasted forty days and forty nights’ (Mathew 4:2). Ramadan provides practical difference from sin and wrong-doing. It is the path for individual purification as well as collective self-monitoring. The positive aspect of fasting with its communal practices like breaking the fast with family, relatives and friends are all designed to create social cohesion to combat selfish individualism, hedonistic materialism and egotistical isolation. The annual fasting in Islam is a divinely sanctioned method of liberating the human soul from the realm of time and space and graft it to the absolute and eternal reality. The true object of Ramadan has been to recharge our spiritual batteries for the year ahead, for us to become not only nearer to our creator but also closer to humanity. Ramadan focuses on individual human beings. If a human being learns to restrain himself from making wrong decisions, it carries on through his family, community and country, and could make the plane earth entirely peaceful. That is the real message of holy month of Ramadan.
Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the most important festivals in Islam which is celebrated by Muslims all over the world with great joy and festivities at the end of Holy month Ramadan. Eid-Ul-Fitr is an occasion for joy and happiness, it is certainly not an occasion for over-eating, frivolity or for the pursuit of pleasure. A holiday in un-islamic culture is a chance to immerse in wordly pleasures, or to involve oneself in prohibited acts to the utmost. For Muslims, the Eid is an occasion to increase in good deeds. Eid-ul-Fitr occasions an opportunity for the believers to forget all grudges and ill-feelings towards one another and start afresh in the brotherly spirit that Islam preaches. It is incumbent for Muslims to assist all the needy, the poor and those in distress, regardless of their faith, nationality or heritage. Muslims are not only content merely with their personal righteousness and salvation, but they work to bring justice, peace and joy for all. Muslim world is at present facing many social, political and other challenges. We can overcome these difficulties Insha Allah with faith and trust in Allah and with unity and solidarity among ourselves. We must continue working with sincerity, honesty, trust and wisdom to promote all that is tolerant, progressive and beautiful about Islam. A lot of rage, anger, oppression and talk of war is heard around the world. Kashmir a disputed territory within the meaning of international law where all hearts, except those which have been blackened by the blind pursuit of this worldly power and self, feel deep wounded. Hundreds of families are mourning the tragic deaths or custodial disappearances of budding young men. Over the past 30 years Kashmiri nation has lost over a hundred of thousand men, women and children including some of its most illustrious sons of the soil. Jammu and Kashmir the size of which is bigger than 100 sovereign countries of the world was from the earliest period, a seat of learning. Today it is counted among the corrupt states. Law or religion is not respected, human killings, human rights violation, corruption, dishonouring of our sisters is common. Eid is not an occasion to take a vacation from our responsibilities and commitments, nor to waste time and money in extravagance. It is the time for us to focus on our faith and responsibilities. It’s our duty to present good programs for our children in order to improve their levels of thinking and enhance their various capabilities. We should focus on charity during the Eid.
We should remain vigilant, united and provide every possible support to the families who lost their dear ones. Holy month of Ramadan teaches us to build in ourselves the concern for the others; the poor, the hungry, those in distress, those in debt, those who are away from their homes. All Muslims who are of means must pay alms to the poor. According to Holy Quran, One of the signs of those who don’t take the Day of Judgement seriously is ‘they don’t encourage (themselves as well as others) to feed the poor’(Quran, 107:3). We probably don’t have the means to bring about the change in the Ummah on a global level-but we can work for the betterment and reformation of our own community. On the day of Eid Prophet Muhammad (SAW) asked every Muslim (Men and Women) to come out of the homes together and offer prayer. Once Hazrat Ali (R.A) said in his Khutba of Eid-ul Fitr: O people! This day is like the day of your resurrection: So consider your coming out of your homes to your places of (Eid) prayer like your coming out of the graves towards your Lord. Further, he (RA) says consider your return to your homes like your return to your homes in the paradise. In the Eid prayer we should turn to Allah with broken and contrite hearts and beg for Allah’s Mercy. A single glance of that Mercy can pull us out of the vortex in which we have been helplessly wallowing.
People always think of Eid as the basis of unity. Real unity is in being concerned for the less fortunate brothers and sisters of our community, locally as well as globally. That is the message of Eid-ul Fitr even expressed in the verse recited in that prayer: ‘indeed success is one who pay charity and remembers the name of his Lord and prays’ This refers the issue of paying the fitra (charity) on the day of Eid-ul Fitr before going for Salatul-eid. Holy Quran says, You prefer the present life while the hereafter is better and ever-lasting. This (message) has been come in the Scrolls of Ibrahim (A.S) and Musa (A.S)(87:14-19). Eid is an occasion to increase in good deeds. Each Eid marks the conclusion of an important worship, and the determination to continue in obedience and submission to Allah. On Eid-ul Fitr one should reflect one’s condition of spiritual improvement and resolve not to lose what one has gained but rather, not only to maintain it, but press forward to even higher spiritual development through righteous conduct, prayers and seeking the Grace of Almighty Allah.
Finally, Eid is also a time to realise the urgency of fraternal bonding and the concept of inter-faith harmony that demand a meeting of hearts and minds to weld the Ummah as a cohesive and pious force on the path of peace and tranquility. In the present context, when Muslims are being widely portrayed as terrorists owing to the zealots, the need to highlight Islam’s stress on universal brotherhood, binding mankind together into one entity, and its image as the promoter of peace and harmony demand exemplary behaviour by its followers. In brief, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr truly symbolises piety, patience, fortitude and godliness. Socially, Eid-ul-Fitr reminds us to share the festivities with the poor, the underprivileged, the downtrodden, orphans, neglected and the cast off besides embracing people from all walks of life. So let’s all get together and visit the families of the affected ones offering them sweets with our own hands, after all Eid means sharing of joys. On this occasion we should remember our deceased, those who got martyred in the path of Allah, those who are being persecuted, oppressed and harmed and seek Allah swt’s forgiveness and mercy for all of them. May Allah (swt) shower His Mercy on all the muslims all over the world (Ameen) Eid Mubarak to all friends, brothers and sisters. Wa salam.
( The authors write regularly on Islamic topics exclusively for “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are exclusively their own [email protected])