(This article was written in 2018, much before the Covid-19 pandemic. We share it to tell young Muslims about the spirit of Eid and teach the proper way of celebrating Eid, although we are well-aware that current conditions do not allow us to pray in congregation, visit even our families or beloved ones. We wish to meet on further Eids in good health and under normal conditions again!)
“It is the month of Ramadan in which The Quran was sent down, guidance for mankind with clear teachings showing the Right Way and a criterion of truth and falsehood. Therefore, anyone of you who witnesses that month should spend it by fasting, and whoever is ill or on a journey shall fast the same number of days later on. God desires ease for you and He does not desire for you difficulty. He wants you to complete the prescribed count of days so that (the day fasting is finished) you glorify His Greatness (through Salat ul Eid) and fulfill your duties towards Him for giving you guidance.” (Al Baqara 2:185)
“When Rasullullah (pbuh) came to Medina he witnessed two days in which people were playing games and entertaining themselves. Rasullullah (pbuh) asked: “What are these two days about?” They replied: “We used to celebrate these days during the Age of Ignorance. Rasullullah said: “God replaced these two days with more beneficial ones. Those are the days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Salat, 239; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, 3/103 (11945)
Eid al-Fitr is coming soon. We are coming to the end of another month of Ramadan. Hopefully we all completed our fasting in an orderly manner. May God increase your rewards! Previously we mentioned how fasting benefits us physically and spiritually. Notice that fasting is such a devotion that has many benefits we greet with celebration after its completion. This is a blessing from God onto us. As we stated in the hadith at the beginning of our speech, in return for the reward of our devotion throughout the month, we spare more time for visiting our loved ones, playing, entertainment, and chatting with each other. At least we used to do so in older times, but recently these good habits are almost forgotten.
The days of Eids are not for sitting down at home and eating foods and sweets or going to the beach for a holiday. Unfortunately, today’s Eids are taken as a holiday and most of us ask straight away the same question: How many days off do we have for a vacation? Surely the idea of a vacation is very pleasant, but the Eid should not be perceived as a vacation only. The real meaning of the Eid is the enjoyment of fulfilling the duty of a devotion, visiting the loved ones who you haven’t seen for a long time, reconciling with the people who you were upset with, and building up a strong relationship with your relatives. You may still enjoy your foods and sweets or your free time while you do these. But escaping your location for a vacation and avoiding the values which we ought to gain throughout the Eid is against the essence of the Eid.
Well, how is the Eid celebration supposed to be?
Let us find out the way in which Eid was celebrated during the time of Rasullullah (pbuh). Those days, Rasullullah asked men, women, children, elders, the sick, and everybody else to gather in an open area for the Eid celebrations. That’s why all the young girls and boys should also come together for the Eid celebrations as adult men and women do.
As you know today, the distances among the people may be longer than ever before. Many people may not see their relatives and friends when they go to mosques nearby. That’s why we should go and visit each other for Eid congratulations. Some of you may find this a little boring but visiting your relatives to keep your ties close with your relatives is not your parents’ wish only. It is an order from God. The surah Al-Nisa verse 1 finishes as follows: “Be careful of (your duty to) God, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights) and (to) the ties of relationship; surely God ever watches over you.” This order of God may only be fulfilled by visiting your relatives. Think about it this way; you will have a trip around and you will be served foods and sweets while you fulfill the order of God. Aren’t you gaining a lot?
During the time of Eid besides visiting your relatives, there is another good thing to do: Reconciliation with offended ones. Because Rasullullah (S.A.W.) said:
“It is not appropriate to be upset with your coreligionist for more than 3 days. After 3 days, if you run across each other, you should greet him/her and ask him/her how he/she is. If the person who you came across responds to your greeting, you both get a reward. If he/she ignores you, he/she will commit a sin and you will get rid of your responsibility.” (Abi Dawud, Adab, 47 (4912))
This good manner should always be shown, not only on the days of Eid. However during the days of Eid it is easier to reconcile with the people because meeting each other in the same surrounding is more possible than the other days.
As it is stated in the verse at the beginning of our speech you should fast in an orderly manner during the Ramadan. As for the days which you couldn’t fast because of your illness or journey, you should fast the same number of days later on. The verse ends as the following: “so that (the day fasting is finished) you glorify His Greatness (through Salat ul Eid) and fulfill your duties towards Him for giving you guidance.” The meaning of glorifying God in this verse is uttering the Takbir during the Eid prayers. We hope that by performing the Eid prayers and visiting your relatives you celebrate the Eid as it is meant to be. We wish you a happy and peaceful Eid.
By A. Zeynep Donmez – Ozlem Ata Translated from Turkish by Yilmaz Kaso