Celebrations give new energy and spirit to the monotonous routine of daily life to all of us. That is why they are prescribed in Islam by the Creator, as it has been in every religion. A Muslim has two celebrations in a year namely Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. Too much of anything is good for nothing. Maybe, this is the reason why the celebration for believers has been limited to two times in a year.
If such occasions come too often, we tend to lose the value and joy related to them. We also know that part of our joy of any occasion is in waiting and preparing for it. We should be able to benefit physically, mentally and socially through these celebrations. That is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, has set examples and taught us on how to celebrate these days. By competing in adopting whatever everyone does or the media highlights as celebration or what the marketing strategists advise us to do, we are actually losing the real and lasting benefits of the Eids. I have heard many people say that they will not celebrate Eid, because of the prevailing atmosphere of the pandemic or of personal loss or political troubles. But this feeling is because of not knowing what Eid is and how it has to be celebrated.
Actually, a believer has no choice in celebrating Eid. It is the instruction from your Lord and fasting is made Haram on these two days.
The history of Eid
After Hijra when Prophet, peace be upon him, noticed the celebration of the people in Madeena he enquired regarding their celebration and then told his followers that Allah has prescribed better celebrations for you than this. This is the reason why the two Eids attain the status of worship (Ibadah). That is why we begin the celebration by loudly proclaiming the greatness of Allah i.e., Allahu Akbar. This slogan detains us from all immodest ways of celebration. Yes, Eid is a celebration of no extravagant spending, no consumption of anything that is harmful to health especially drugs, liquor etc. which are supposed to be part and parcel of celebration in society otherwise, no night parties and dances, no excessive mingling of men and women or anything that makes people lose spirit, money and energy and are not within the moral limits.
The Eid celebration that the Prophet and his followers have illustrated is the one through which one gets rejuvenated in all senses, which benefits in the following days of the year. It is not an occasion to spend all the savings and enter into debts, resulting in losing one’s peace of mind and physical health.
The celebration of Eid ul Fitr comes to a believer when he is filled with a sense of fulfilment of his duties towards his Lord and indulging in activities that draw him near to His Lord during the month of Ramadhan. It is the celebration of strong will and sacrifice, a day filled with rejoicing in the mind of the believer. It is not due to the knowledge that one whole month’s fasting is over, but due to the sense of satisfaction that those were days when he was able to work hard to please the Almighty. That happiness remains forever when the believer is strong enough not to go back to those bad habits and actions, from which he abstained while fasting.
We begin the celebration from Eid Gahs (Special Gatherings on the day of Eid) not just to pray, but also to listen to reminders and advises. That is why listening to Eid Khutba (Speech) also becomes part of the ritual. We should take all precautions so that the chained shaitan doesn’t come back to us at any cost. We must keep on reciting ‘Takbeer’ for this purpose.
Social aspects of Eid
We are instructed to go to Eid Gahs through one path and return through another path. That is the Sunnah. It shows the social aspect of this celebration. It is to meet with more people and exchange greetings. Women and children are also encouraged to attend Eid Gahs. We need to wear the best dress that we have on that day. The Prophet, peace be upon him used to wear a special dress brought from Yemen on Eid. It doesn’t mean we need to compete in wearing the latest fashion and design available in market. This gives a temptation to spend the last days and nights of Ramadan in the markets. Some even travel to distant places avoiding local markets to get the latest fashion dress to show off in Eid Gah. This tendency is seen not only among the rich but also those who struggle to make both the ends meet.
Wasting the benefits of Ramadan
The amount that comes in hand through Zakath and Sadaqa which flow from the rich during Ramadhan also go wasted in this kind of rat race and other extravagant spending rather than get utilized in a productive way. This is an area which the community leaders and Zakath givers have to take care of. Organized way of collection and distribution of Zakath, identifying the really needy ones and ensuring to spend more on making people stand on their feet is the need of the hour.
Eid as ‘Return’
The word Eid also means ‘Return’. Definitely it is the return to your Creator. So, Eid is a day of seeking forgiveness and praying. Having good food is part of the day’s celebration. A believer has to ensure that his relatives, neighbours and all those who are dear and near to him also get food on the day of Eid. He goes to the Eid Gah after distributing the ‘Fitr Zakath’ (a form of charity which every believer has to distribute in the form of staple food of the place).
Spending time with family
Eid is a day to be spent with family. It gives an opportunity for believers to spend quality time happily with family in this busy life. The girls in the Prophet’s (S) family were reported to have sung songs in front of him. But we should be careful not to bring the kind of celebrations that are against the Sunnah and the spirit of Eid. Just like Ramadan, Eid is also a day to gather more and more rewards from Allah by spending on good deeds and remembering Him. We should be repeatedly proclaiming the greatness of Allah through Takbeer. While wearing the new dress we should remind ourselves that the best dress is ‘Taqwa’.
The Qur’an says: ‘O Children of Adam! We have provided for you clothing to cover your nakedness and as an adornment. However, the best clothing is righteousness. This is one of Allah’s bounties, so perhaps you will be mindful.” (7:26) We have the right to have good food. But should remember what the Qur’an says: “…Eat and drink, but do not waste. Surely, He does not like the wasteful.” (7:31)
Retaining the essence of Eid
Eid is also a day to evaluate and assess what we achieved through Ramadhan. We must also make plans on how retain them and utilize in the coming days. Let us remember the following verse from Qur’an while celebrating Eid.
“And do not become like the woman who, after having painstakingly spun her yarn, caused it to disintegrate into pieces. (16:92)’’