Eid Al-Fitr today culminates a month of fasting wherein the faithful spent their time praying and beseeching God for forgiveness and mercy. For many, Ramadan was not just an abstention from food and drink. Rather, it was an exercise in patience and discipline. Eid is the celebration for those who fasted and obeyed God's rules and teachings. It is for those who spent the month of Ramadan in complete devotion to Allah. Eid is a time when all get together to celebrate.
It is preceded by people shopping and looking around for gifts for their near and dear ones. It is a time when the bright lights from shops seems to signal us to enter and look and purchase. And very rightly so. Eid should be celebrated in a bright manner . We should see that this day and the following days be used to spread happiness by visiting our friends and relatives.
Gifts are exchanged during Eid by young and old alike. We also visit the elderly and the sick. Eid is a time where all kinds or festivities prevail. Many of us gormandize to make up for "lost food" during the month of Ramadan.
However, with all the going around we some time forget our lesser privileged brethren. We forget that there are many out there who have nothing to celebrate. There are those among our brothers and sisters for whom Eid day is just another ordinary day. There are those who open their cupboards on Eid day and find them bare. There are those who in hospitals who will go through a bleak and lonely day with no one visiting them. Friendless, deprived of company, they will have no one to offer solace or comfort. Let us therefore see to it that our deprived brethren welcome the day of Eid with warm and hope.
As we buy gifts and clothes for our children, let us earmark a small sum for those who cannot afford to buy. Also we should instill in our children a sense of compassion so that when they buy something they will also think of their unfortunate brethren. Let us teach them the art of giving. We should let them know that there are millions of children around the world who don't have the basic necessities to make this day a different day.
We cannot divest ourselves from the misery of others. We cannot shrug it off saying that it does not concern us. Many people tend to be inward looking. They may at times donate money to charity and feel rightly it may seem so that they are doing their duty. However, the fact that if one seen to be with these people the perception of charity changes. There is a feeling of belonging when the recipient and giver meet.
In the West, people donate money and time to be with the underprivileged. Those who cannot offer material things give their time. We should also do this. We don't have to emulate the West because our own Islamic ideology teaches us to be kind and compassionate. Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that "I and the provider of the orphan will be together." And what greater prize is there for anyone of us than to be around our beloved prophet. All we need for that is compassion, sincerity and a feeling of brotherhood and understanding. And that will decide the quality of our life on earth and the hereafter.
Let us pray for the true spirit of Eid and I wish Eid Mubarak to all.