Let us celebrate Eid with simplicity and grace!
EidulAdha is being celebrated today in Saudi Arabia and shall be celebrated here tomorrow. This festival is a tradition that has come down to us from Prophet Abraham(AS). On this occasion, Muslims commemorate his sacrifice by offering sacrifices world over for the sake of Allah.
When we talk about the festival of Eid in the context of the Kashmir Valley, it is pertinent to say that the people of this Muslim-dominated place have been facing countless problems which are absolutely unique to the other parts of the world.For instance, the ongoing conflict situation and the political uncertainty has brought a large chunk of our population under the poverty line. As if all this was not enough, the unemployment rate coupled with growing inflation here is among the highest in most of the states in India.
With this background, when we talk of Eid celebration, as a nation we must keep in mind that this festival urges us to fulfill some responsibilities towards our community. It makes us aware of our good fortune and allows us to get a sense of contentment by helping those who are underprivileged.
Sadly, here people have buried the true spirit of Eid and turned it into a festival of extravagances! Indeed, Eid is supposed to be celebrated wholeheartedly but that doesn’t allow us to create unnecessary rituals and compel people who can’t afford it to follow the same. We must get that religion and culture are different and shouldn’t be mixed.
In a society like ours, where people can’t afford to feed themselves properly, how can we even think of overspending? Social comparison is natural, people can’t help but look up to other people who are financially better off. Lectures on looking at those who have less in order to be grateful can help, but not to a great extent. Hence, people fall prey to an inferiority complex and try to match all the irrelevant cultural trends occurring in society. So, can’t we just simplify it? After all, Eid is supposed to encourage unity and brotherhood, yet we have the audacity to exclude our fellow humans on such an auspicious occasion, too! The Quran says, “O children of Adam, take your adornment at every mosque, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess [7:31]”.
As it is known, the sacred food obtained from the sacrificial animal is supposed to be divided into 3 equal parts i.e.; one part for the person who supplied the animal; one part to be shared out among the family, friends, and neighbors; one part to be given to those in need. The intention behind this festival is to ensure that even those who can’t afford to have meat and other lavish dishes get plenty of it at least once a year.
However, we Kashmiris have adjusted a trend here too. This sacred food is distributed unequally. The large chops of meat are given to special relatives and friends and even larger chops are given to newly married alliances. Then the remaining small pieces are distributed amongst neighbors. In most cases, needy people aren’t even on the list. How did we ever come to this? Our religion allows for prioritization according to certain circumstances, not for worldly trends! Stop calling it a sacred sacrifice when all you’re doing is slaughtering an animal and feeding ‘your’ people only. Even on such holiest day, if our fellow humans aren’t having few morsels of food, then forget about being a Muslim, we don’t even deserve to be called a human first.
Eid belongs to all. This festival is not only about eating, lavishing and enjoying (although there’s nothing wrong in that too) but the primary spirit of it is to consider the needs of the under privileged class too, just as we feed our closest ones. Be it morally or religiously, we’re not allowed to exclude them regardless of religion, caste or creed, as they’re also a part and parcel of our society.
Besides, for god’s sake keep your cameras away while helping others. This act is completely unethical. The needy people may not have the food to eat but they do have self-esteem. Put yourself in their shoes once, would you like it? Surely not. Now, some people would justify it by saying that it’s a source of encouragement for other people to do the same. Oh really? Then why don’t we capture while feeding birds or animals too, in order to ‘encourage’ people? The truth is, it is human nature to feel superiority over other humans. This temptation is completely natural however it’s up to us whether to fight this urge or let it over smart us. Even as per Islam, it’s compulsory to keep such matters confidential. So, kindly stop promoting such insensitive trends and have some integrity instead.
Moreover, let’s stop teaching our children that the essence of any festivity lies in disturbing the mental peace of other people by playing with the firecrackers. Be sensible and don’t invade someone’s personal space at least. Not everybody likes the harsh crackling sounds especially talking about the patients and oldies in houses. Rest, we all are totally aware of the other dangerous side effects of firecrackers.
To sum it all up, let our culture unite us and allow us to celebrate Eid thoughtfully this time. The only spirit of such auspicious occasion is to find bliss. Let’s find it in simplicity this time. Eid Mubarak to you all.
(The writer is a student of class 12th at GGHS Kothibagh Srinagar and can be reached at [email protected])