Eid-Ul-Fitr: Philosophy, Distinctions and Importance in Islam

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Eid is the time to express our gratitude towards Allah and seek his blessings

By: Dr. Ashaq Hussain

The three-letter word Eid is actually derived from the Arabic word “Ooud” meaning return and recurrence and is as such  named because it returns every year, however, literally  meaning of Eid is celebration, happiness or bliss. By the way, the concept of Eid is as old as human history. A study of ancient historical books reveals that Eid began with the beginning of world civilization.

The Islamic history reveals that the first Eid in the world was observed on the day when the repentance of Adam was accepted. The second time Eid was celebrated on the day when the war between Habeel and Kabeel ended. The ummah of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) celebrated Eid as the day when the fire of Namrod turns out to be flower on Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). While the Ummah of Hazrat Yunus (AS), celebrated Eid on the day when Hazrat Yunus (AS) emerged from the massive fish. In the same way, the people of Prophet Musa (AS) celebrated Eid on the day when Prophet Musa, with the help of Allah, saved the children of Israel from the tyranny of Firao’on. The Ummah of Jesus (pbuh) still celebrates Eid on the day of the birth of Jesus (pbuh).

Contrary to all this Muslims celebrate two Eids every year namely Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. Eid al-Fitr is a religious festival in the Islamic world which marks the end of the month of Ramadan and every year the first Shawwal is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm. Allah Almighty has taken special care of the human psyche. Man has been given opportunities to be happy with certain limitations due to his natural recreation. Adherence to these limits and restrictions is obligatory and necessary on every Muslim. In Islam, these happy occasions are called “Eid”, and celebrating them with etiquette and conditions is rewarding and commendable, but by violating the etiquette and conditions, this happiness will lead to sorrow and grief on the Day of Resurrection.

The Philosophy of Islamic Festivals and study of Islamic teachings makes it clear that the celebration of Eid and the expression of happiness are in fact to invoke and give thanks for the precious blessings bestowed by Allah Almighty. Thus Eid is to be thankful for the blessings of Allah Almighty, self-sacrifice and mutual unity and solidarity and not just happiness and joy that is devoid of spirituality. Unlike the Jews and the Christians, our Eids are not subject to historical events or the custom of the past. The days that Islam has designated for the festival are not associated with any event that has occurred once in the past, but instead has been considered as the basis of the festivities, which are celebrated every year. Therefore, Allah Almighty has fixed both the Eids on the occasion when the Muslims have completed an act of worship. Therefore, Eid-ul-Fitr is kept after the passage of Ramadan and since the Momins remained engaged in worship for a whole month, as such this Eid-ul-Fitr is fixed in this happiness and reward.

Eid festival has a far-reaching and lasting effect on Islamic society, and because of these effects, they are distinguished from the festivals of the rest world. Spiritually Islam has not made the festivals a model of luxury that erodes moral values and contradicts the spiritual requirements of man, but has placed in them such passionate manifestations of worship which would be a means of attaining spirituality, divinity and sincerity. Eids that are celebrated with Islamic limits and restrictions create feelings of piety and godliness in hearts and stimulate the human spirit for righteous deeds. So, as long as Islamic society and civilization remain established in their splendour, Islamic festivals will continue to have a spiritual impact on them and as such will continue to be a source of spiritual food for Muslims.

It is the distinction of Eid festivals that these occasions of joy and entertainment lead to religious awakening and religious inclination and ignite religious and religious tendencies in the society. Otherwise, the festivals of the rest of the world have left no stone unturned in burying their religious teachings. Islamic festivals, like those of other religions, forbid luxury and gaming or gambling. Extravagances under the guise of happiness are not allowed at all, because the observance and practice of these things turns happiness into murkiness and also it causes a feeling of inferiority among the helpless and poor sections of the society. Islam has maintained the basic principle of simplicity, asceticism and contentment in these occasions of happiness, there is no adherence to new clothes or good and expensive food, it is necessary to wear clean clothes, even if it is old. The teaching of Islam about food and drink during festivals is to keep in mind the capacity or the limit and instead of refreshing oneself with these material things, one has to make arrangements to invoke the blessings of Allah Almighty and make him happy by remembrance and worship.

These manifestations of simplicity and contentment in festivals have a profound effect on the occasions of private and individual happiness in Islamic society. Thus we should realize that celebration does not mean that God’s blessings should be wasted and spoiled, but their gratitude to Allah is the true spirit of happiness. It is permissible to organize activities in Islamic festivals that do not contradict Islamic teachings, such as reciting poems, naats and hymns to arouse the spirit of pride and love. In addition such activities enhance the spirit of freedom and national pride and Islamic support in the society and also provide proper entertainment equipment. These positive recreational activities have a profound effect on the Islamic society. However, in view of modernization (westernization) and the lack of Islamic teachings aims of Islamic festivals has almost disappeared in the society and it is now worth considering whether the rituals and festivals of west which have now became customary in Islamic society and the interest of the new generation will have a positive effect on the society? Absolutely not!  Thus, one should always observe the limits prescribed by Islam. Although it is from the Sunnah to enjoy the celebration of Eid, but one should avoid parties that contain free mixing, and flirting, instruments of the devil etc. Once Ramadaan ends, one is not “free” to go back to his old sinful ways, free from the constraints of Ramadan. Rather, we celebrate Eid because Allaah blessed us with the opportunity to worship Him and ask for forgiveness. In other words, Eid is a reward for all the good deeds people have done during Ramadan. At last on this Eid ul-Fitr may Allah accept our fast and continues to shower His blessings throughout the year and thereby throughout life; wish that Allah’s blessings light up the path and lead to happiness, peace, prosperity and success. Wish you all a very Happy Eid.

Dr.  Ashaq Hussain is Assistant Professor (Selection Grade) At Govt. Degree College Chatroo and can be reached at joinchemistry@gmail.com

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