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~ Muslim by Choice ~
"Allah! None has the right to be worshipped, but He." Surat Al-Baqarah: 255

Celebrate Eid

Friday, October 28, 2005

What does Eid celebrate again and again? God's bounty and His mercy
By Khurram Murad.

As the sun sets on Ramadhan, multitudes of Expectant jubilant eyes become glued to the skies, eager to sight the new moon. For that new moon heralds the coming of the Eid day - one of the two days Muslims all over the world celebrate each year in thanksgiving festivities and rejoicing.

What does Eid celebrate again and again? In what do we rejoice? Obviously, in the first instance, we are thankful for that grace from God which carried us through the month of earnest, joyous labour, of constant, faithful toil, spent in fasting, prayers, and Quran recitation. But upon a little reflection, we can immediately see that our joyous festivities, in fact, hail and celebrate that unique moment when God's infinite mercy, the first light of His last guidance, dawned upon mankind.That is why Ramadhan has been reserved for the Fasting; that is why the end of Ramadhan has been earmarked for rejoicing:

'O mankind, now there has come unto you an admonition from your Lord, and a healing for all that you may rejoice; for it is better than all that they may amass!(Al-Quran 10:57-58)

'Come, ye thankful people, come', the Eid seems to be echoing the Quranic call - 'that you complete the number (of Fasts) and proclaim the greatness of God for having guided you, and so that you may render thanks and rejoice' (Al-Quran 2:185).

How many and priceless are the riches and gifts from God to us, how abundant are His bounties - who could count them? Yet the most priceless undoubtedly are his words that illuminate the pathways of life and guide the steps of His servants to success, here and in the Hereafter the joy and the glory of those who submit to them. Hence, from the moment the new moon heralds the coming of the Eid day the constant cry of the heart and tongue is 'God alone is great; to God belongs all thankful praise'. This cry remains on the lips while the festivities of Eid remain, in response to God's command.

The two Muslim festivals are just one measure of how Islam emphatically and totally centers their lives in the Quran. If Eid al fitr celebrates the beginning of its coming down, the other festival, Eid al adha, marks its completion. For if in Ramadhan is the night in which the first revelation came, on the Day of Hajj came the verse proclaiming the perfection and completion of the guidance it bought (Al-Quran 5:3).

All our days are crowded by God's blessing, the varying seasons have their own rounds of bounties, but no day and no season can be like the day and season which were crowded by God's guidance.

No people live without festivals of their own. They are essential means for keeping collective consciousness, for sustaining unity and cohesiveness. But no festival is like Eid, it is unique among all of them.Some centre their celebrations on the person of the one who created their identity, but not Eid; it does not celebrate even the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the last Messenger who bought Devine Guidance to mankind, and a great mercy from God unto the worlds, rather it celebrates the sending down the word of God. the Quran, and its triumph. Some rejoice in the beginning of the New Year, but not Eid; it rejoices in the dawn upon mankind of a new era of light and peace. Some celebrate the end of the dark winter days and the coming of the spring light and warmth, but not Eid; it celebrates the end of the dark, cold night of ignorance and the coming of a warm spring of Justice and Equality. Some give thanks for the harvest of grain, fruit or cattle, but not Eid; it gives thanks for the harvest of the richest blessings of God for soul and intellect, for mind and heart, for living and conduct.Could not one say that Eid raises man's festivities from the Physical, from level of flesh and blood, space and time, to the spiritual and intellectual and then roots them there, symbolising what Islam does to mans entire life, vision and hope. Thus, while providing a radical new mould for Muslim collective memory and identity, Eid symbolises a radically new basis for human unity as well.

Those who form their identities by persons and events, temporal and physical, erect barriers that are insurmountable. Who can change his race, colour, place of birth, or who can share in the physical harvests of another except by their permission? But not so in Islam, says the Eid; anyone who is prepared to turn away from all the false gods, and return to his Creator and surrender himself unto Him by following his guidance, can always join a new unity.

Yet, the solemn, spiritual character of Eid does not rob Muslims of delights, pleasures and merriment that must accompany any human celebrations. Muslims begin to look ahead to the day as Ramadhan sets in. As Eid approaches, joyful expectations increases, the day is more talked of. Houses are cleaned and decorated, especially on the day and night before. New clothes are prepared, for everyone must wear his best. Near sunset all turn their eyes to the horizon – in corners, in open grounds. Some exchange cards and gifts – a recent addition. There is no selfish spending spree though; Eid is not a commercial venture. Delicious meals are cooked and, in sharing, heartily eaten. But not a morsel should be thrown away. Every worldly thing is from God, a bounty, and must therefore be made use of to honour His occasion, to rejoice in His greatest bounty. It is this spirit which pervades Eid celebrations.

Ramadhan is a time to reap; and obligatory good deed increases seventy folds; a voluntary one becomes like the obligatory; the doors of Hell are closed and the Satan's are chained, those of Paradise are opened. It has a night better than a thousand months. It is a period of heightened devotion and quickened piety, of self-discipline and generous sharing. Only the festival of Eid softens the sadness in the heart, the tears in the eyes, as Ramadhan is bid farewell. It seems, does it not, to be over too soon, to have sped too quickly? Eid brings joy and promises a certain of Ramadhan (for Eid literally, means to recur, to come again and again) and incites to even greater celebrations that lie in store for those who proclaim the Greatness of God, mention His name and live by His name, in hearts and in homes, market places and corridors of power, thereby seeking admittance to God's pleasure and rewards, here and in the Hereafter.

6:15 AM :: ::
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