We are bidding al-widā/farewell to the blessed month of Ramadān, the month of the Qur'ān, the month of siyām/fasting, the month of qiyām/night prayers, the month of ghufrān/forgiveness, the month of ihsān/goodness and the month of karam/generosity. We bid farewell to the month that hosts Layla-tul-Qadr/Night of Power, a month that harbors Yawm-al Furqān (The Day of Criterion occasioned by the Battle of Badr). We bid sentimental farewell to a shahrun mubārak, a hallowed month indeed.
In bidding farewell to Ramadān, we are faced with three question. Are we also bidding farewell to all the good deeds we did in Ramadān? Will we maintain the key practices of patience, humility, compassion, solidarity and generosity throughout the year? As Ramadān departs, will we let the spirit of Ramadān leave us as well?
Reflection of a Spiritual Wayfarer
Let each one of us open a page from the book of our individual muhāsabah/ self-examination and reflect as to what was achieved through this month. What benefits were derived, which behaviors were adjusted, what good practices have been adopted, which bad habits have been relinquished; and how did the prayers and fasting of Ramadān influence our attitudes and perspectives; how has it improved our relationships; with Allah, families, friends and neighbors; how did it affect our bodies, our hearts, minds and souls?
We have been spiritual wayfarers/ as-sā'ihūn on the transcendent journey towards the attainment of piety. Where did that journey take us? Have we become better human beings; more considerate, more caring, more compassionate? Have we journeyed from self-centerdness to social consciousness, from self-righteousness to righteousness? Where did we start and how far have we journeyed; if at all.
We have fasted in pursuance of taqwa, which is the continuous process of character development coupled with Allah-consciousness. It entails purification of the self from the evils of bad intention, deceit, hypocrisy, egoism, cowardice, conceit, prejudice. It becomes manifested in positive attitude, good behavior and lovable character. This leads to a degree of moral, ethical and spiritual elevation towards piety. The one who has truly benefited from Ramadān is the one whose condition after Ramadān becomes better than it was before Ramadān.
We should emerge from the month of Ramadān with hopefully a better personality and a stronger character, confident of our ability to subordinate our desires to our will, our emotions to our intellect; our lower self to the higher self. Ramadān has filled our lives with blessings, awakened our slumbering conscience and hopefully purified our souls.
We have abstained from the three fundamentals of life; food, drink (necessary for daily survival) and from intimacy (which facilitates the perpetuation of the human race). We have done this unquestioningly from dawn to dusk for one whole month. Now the auspicious day of 'Eid al-Fitr approaches; every conscientious soul should be ready to face the year that lies ahead with renewed zeal, unwavering will, devoted fervor, enthusiastic dedication, higher vision; accompanied by an enhanced spirit of universal goodwill. Be ever cognizant of the fact that next Ramadān may or may not come; even if it does, we may or may not be around.
Islam teaches us how to celebrate through 'Eid; a celebration incorporating worship that brings Muslims together in harmony, remembering Allah's bounties and celebrating His glory and magnificence. `Eid is an opportunity to multiply good deeds, bringing delight and pleasure to the hearts of families and friends; without forgetting the less privileged. We do not start our 'Eid festivity until sadaqatul fitr/charity of 'Eid has been paid; thus remembering the poor and downtrodden even before we start our celebration.
Let the day of 'Eid al-Fitr be an opportunity to purge ourselves from grudges and suspicion, an occasion for eliminating rancor and hatred; a time of renewed kindness to dear ones, a time for fostering love among Muslims and compassion for humanity. 'Eid Mubārak!