The word Eid comes from Arabic; which means frequent coming. Again Eid denotes happiness, joy and pleasure. Again, the social connotation of Eid means festival. Eid-Ul-Fitr is the festival of breaking fasting. This day is celebrated throughout the whole Muslim world. The festival brings glory and the highest return from God for all the beloved Muslims. Its social teaching and significance are very imaginable and meaningful. It solidifies and strengthens social harmony, humanity and values in society extending and exchanging mutual co-operation, collaboration, simplicity, sympathy and brotherhood among the people. So, on this day all people, irrespective of poor and rich come under an umbrella of equal enjoyment. It is so a big day when all Muslims throughout the world celebrate it with pomp and grandeur. Purity of our soul comes through Eid and it removes and washes away narrowness and jealousy of mind.
The pleasure of the Eid is so arranged that the hungry and the have-nots can join and share despite their all want and sorrows. In Islam, there is a practice of giving "Zakat" by which discrimination, disparity and injustice will be minimised.
At an Eid congregation all people forget and forgive their past ill activities, they submit their humble prayer before God for peace and unity. As a result, we see a very heavenly atmosphere at an Eid congregation and it becomes a big meeting place with each other. So we always become the worshipers of truth and beauty. Let us promise that we spread the teaching of humanity to all humankind for God's mercy.
Eid-Ul-Fitr brings with it a sense of joy we associate with a benign commitment to sharing it with others. Coming as it does immediately after the end of Ramadan, it is for all Muslims an occasion not only to celebrate but also to introspect and reflect on the degree to which we have brought themselves closer to the true tenets of the religion and how prepared are we to identify ourselves with the woe of the disadvantaged and less fortunate members of society. It is not enough to be empathetic of their plight but also to contribute our mite to serving the cause of collective well-being. Through a month of sacrifice and the process of self-purification we came to the stage of giving zakat and fitra as a more than symbolic act of piety.
The Eid prayers and the embrace that follows are expressions of brotherhood, fellow feeling and solidarity of all people. In the mundane world, there is a surge in trade and commerce, which has a lift-pump effect on the entire economy. The volumes of sale and business increase manifold with a rapid rise in terms of productivity, procurement and supplies. Also, new products signifying trade diversification come into the market with fresh merchandising, advertising and fashion designing. In catering to the varied tastes, the market achieves diversification with our export potential increasing to that extent. There are, however, twin responsibilities and obligations that must accompany this overarching, buoyant trend. It is in keeping with the spirit of Ramadan and that of Eid-ul-Fitr, that the wealthy and affluent should have exercised restraint in their personal purchases so as not to indulge in a show of wealth, even unwittingly. Such deference to the feelings of the disadvantaged segments of the society is expected. Secondly, the traders and the businesspeople could undergo self-examination as to whether they participated in fair business practices to spread their profits through larger volumes of transactions. Then there is the emphasis on safe homecoming and return of the people who have been on the move.
Ramadan is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. The end of Ramadan marks the beginning of the three-day Eid ul-Fitr or "feast of fast breaking" holiday, in which Muslims exchange social visits and seek to strengthen bonds of brotherhood in the community. They celebrate with prayers of thanksgiving, good food, new clothes, gift giving, and all the other festivities associated with a happy occasion. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated not because the month of Ramadan is over, but out of gratitude to God for having obeyed the commandments in the holy month.
Eid day is an exciting time for Muslims. Before the Eid prayer Muslims give out some money for the poor. This is a reminder that the fasting has made them more understanding of the needs of others. Then they go to mosques for the Eid prayer. After that, most people visit family and friends where they exchange gifts, share sweets and enjoy time together. Most Muslim communities hold an Eid dinner later in the evening for the people to get together. The celebrations continue for a couple more days, sometimes even till the next weekend.
During this holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying "Eid mubarak" meaning "blessed Eid," and "taqabbala allahu a'maalakum" or "may God accept your deeds". It is a time to reflect on the month that has passed, to be happy at having achieved a month of fasting and worship, and to hope that the deeds have earned the pleasure of the Lord.
Muslims on this day wear their best clothes and offer Eid 'namaz' or congregational prayer at mosques. After offering their prayers, they exchange good wishes of the festival with their neighbours and other people. They also donate alms to the poor on the auspicious occasion. The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr not only has religious essence but also carries a social connotation. Like other festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr is also observed with great enthusiasm. Delicious food and drinks are an indispensable part of the festivity. People decorate their houses and prepare luscious traditional sweets and cuisines to celebrate the festival. The most common recipe in this festival is the delicious meethi seviyan (Sweet Vermicelli) prepared from various healthy and mouth-watering ingredients. Moreover, ahead of the festival, the markets are filled with fascinating items in the shopping list for Eid. Fancy and food items mostly dominate the festival and as the festival approaches excitement to celebrate gains momentum not only with Muslims but also with shopkeepers and traders doing a brisk business. The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr is no-doubt perks up the spirit inherent in all the festivity. The significance of this festival is also interpreted as a good time to bring people together in harmony and gratitude.
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed is writer, columnist & researcher
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