The importance of celebrations

CELEBRATIONS play an important part in our lives. A society that does not celebrate any event collectively reduces communication and leads to disunity. On the other hand, a people who celebrate an event without a purpose, celebrate just about anything without conforming to any set beliefs. They end up adopting unfamiliar rituals and customs, further distancing themselves.

By Abid Ishaq

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Published: Fri 4 Nov 2005, 11:13 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:48 PM

Islam wiped out all such hollow practices and introduced to us a meaningful celebration by giving Muslims Eid Al Fitr to thank Allah for a great act of worship; completing the fast of Ramadan. Eid falls on the first of the tenth month, Shawwal, right after the fasting of the ninth month, Ramadan. It is a great blessing of Islam that whatever Muslims do (including celebrate) is strongly embedded in faith and purpose.

Dear readers, today's article is about the blessed celebration of Eid Al Fitr and the exemplary manner in which the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the other righteous Muslims observed this celebration. Now, when we generally talk about celebrations, the first thing that comes to many is music and play. However, the concept of celebration in Islam is different, rather meaningful. The day of Eid in itself is a spiritual day, a day to draw closer to Allah, the Most High. Those who habitually perform acts of worship simply to discharge their spiritual duties find it difficult to worship Allah on Eid Al Fitr.

The first Eid prayer which the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed was in the second year of Hijrah and he continuously prayed afterwards until Allah collected his soul. So, the Eid prayer in itself is obligatory on each and everyone of us. He (peace be upon him) also ordered the menstruating women to be a part of this prayer, but to stay away from the prayer area. They partake in the blessings of the prayer by listening to the sermon and supplicating solely to Allah, The All-Hearing.

The Eid prayer is performed in the open since the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray in the open, according to numerous prophetic narrations. If this is not possible in a community — as is the case in some Western communities — every effort should be made to pray collectively to enhance the community spirit of Eid.

The Prophet, may Allah exalt his mention, used to perform the Eid prayer when the sun rose a spears height in the sky. Its last time is before the sun reaches its zenith. So, this clarifies that we should make our best attempt to pray Eid Al Fitr as early as possible. It was also a practice of Allah's Messenger to make ‘takbir’ when going to pray. To avoid traffic and last second distractions, one should leave early and join others in glorifying Allah. The amount of time we take out of our busy schedules and spend waiting for the prayer rewards us with the great prize of the prayer itself.

Dear readers, a Muslim should wear his/her best clothes, as is narrated in the hadith of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him): 'The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to wear a hullah (a loose, flowing gown) on the two Eids and the day of Jumah.' (Ibn Khuzaymah).

The Eid prayer in itself is a two-unit prayer. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray two ‘rakats’. The prayer is followed by a sermon (‘khutbah’) and concluded with supplication (‘dua’). Muslims should greet each other saying: Taqabul-lul-lahu min-na wa minkum meaning: ‘May Allah accept from us all acts of worship as well as from you'. Upon returning to one's house after the Eid prayer, one should make note of the prophet's instructions by taking a different route back home.

In some communities, various Eid gatherings and festivals are organised. These events organised for the festivities should be separate for men and women, for we are warned against mixing, touching, and hugging between men and women who are not related to each other, for instance, if they are not husbands, wives, daughters, sisters and brothers. Moreover, these events should not preoccupy the participants to the extent that they forget other religious obligations, such as neglecting Asr or Maghrib prayer.

Dear readers, we should be careful of being extravagant on the blessed day of Eid as the purpose of this celebration is to thank Allah and draw closer to Him and not to bring upon ourselves His Wrath. May Allah accept our Eid Al Fitr this year and give us the opportunity to thank Him again next year. Amen!

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