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What is Eid ul Fitr
Eid ul Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadhan. We say farewell to the blessed month, it’s beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of seeking nearness to Ar-Rahmaan, the school of Imaan and an opportunity to recharge our spiritual batteries.
Eid-ul-Fitr (Id al-Fitr) is linked with the Holy month of Ramadan. It signifies the end of the month of fasting (the first day of the month of Shawwal).
Eid-ul-Fitr is a unique festival. It has no connection with any historical event nor is it related to the changes of seasons or cycles of agriculture. It is not a festival related in any way to worldly affairs.
Its significance is purely spiritual. It is the day when the Muslims thank God for having given them the will, the strength and the endurance to observe fast and obey His commandment during the holy month of Ramadan.
This day, in Muslim world, brings rejoicing and happiness. The rejoicing is not, however, at the departure of the month of Ramadan; it is the happiness which man feels after successfully completing an important task.
It is celebrated for three days in a holiday called Eid-ul-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged. Friends and family gather to pray in congregation.
The feast of Fitr is God’s reward for those who fast during the holy month of Ramadan. In this month, man should try to add to his true knowledge of God, do acts of charity for the needy, renew his beliefs towards his Lord and this will be a real Bairam Feast (Turkish word meaning festival) for him. The prayers of the day of Bairam a reason of unity and solidarity of Muslims all over the world.
Why celebrate Eid ul Fitr?
Is Eid a sign of happiness that Ramadhan has finished? Quite the opposite! It is a celebration of thanks to Allah for giving us the chance and the strength to carry out His commands in the blessed month. We are happy that we were able to fast and pray in Ramadhan, and have hopefully increased in taqwa (God-consciousness), the goal of fasting.
Allah says in Sura al-Baqarah, ayat 185: “You shall complete the number (of days) and you may glorify God for His guiding you, and that you may be thankful.”
Imam Ali (AS) says: “Eid is for him whose fasts have been accepted by Allah, and whose worship has been appreciated by Allah. Everyday in which you do not disobey Allah is a day of Eid.”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) and the Imams celebrated Eid and encouraged all Muslims to do so. They told Muslims to wear good clothes, put on perfume, and go to the mosque to recite the Eid prayer. They also said to exchange Eid greetings, visit each other, and generally pass the day joyfully. We should remember the poor by taking out fitrah before Eid, and visiting them and sending them gifts if we can.
The day of Eid is meant for remembering Allah. The Holy Prophet (SAW) says: “Give beauty to your Eid by doing takbir”. It is said that the Prophet (SAW) himself used to come out of his home on the day of Eid, reciitng the takbir and glorifying Allah in a loud voice
For who is to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr ?
Eid al-Fitr is a great day of festival for Muslims. It is a day of rejoicing and being happy. But for whom? Is it the day of rejoicing for those who simply put on new clothes and wear perfume? Or is it the day of being happy for those who were eagerly waiting for the release of the greatest enemy of mankind, Satan, from his captivity so that they all revert to committing sins? Unfortunately, many Muslims abstain from sins during the month of Ramadhan, but come Eid, they go back to what they were before! Cassettes of prayers, which were in their cars during the holy month, are thrown back into their cases and replaced with those, which are unlawful, by Shari’ah. The forbidden places from which they had abstained for month long, are infact the same places they go to celebrate Eid.
Just as, when a person goes to a college, or a university and at the completion of his course, he receives his award marking his achievement, we must understand that, the holy month of Ramadhan is a spiritual university where we are being trained to achieve Taqwa i.e. piety. The day of Eid al-Fitr is when Allah (SWT) is awarding us for our achievements.
On the day of Eid al-Fitr, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) delivered a sermon in which he said: “O people! Verily this day of yours is the day when the righteous are awarded and the wretched are losers. It is a day which is similar to the one on which you shall be standing (before your Lord). Therefore, when you come out of your homes to go to places of your prayer, remind yourselves about the day when you (your souls) shall come out of your bodies to go to your Lord. When you stand on places of your prayer, remind yourselves of your standing in presence of your Lord (on the day of Judgement). And when you return to your homes (after prayer), remind yourselves about your returning to your homes in Paradise. O Servants of Allah! Verily the minimum reward for those men and women who fasted (during Ramadhan), is an Angel, who calls out to them on the last day of the month of Ramadhan (saying): O SERVANTS OF ALLAH! REJOICE THE GLAD TIDING THAT ALL YOUR PREVIOUS SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. Therefore, watch out in those things which serve as your re-creation (on this day and days to follow)” (Nahjul-Balaghah)
What to do on this Day?
In the previous nights of Mahe Ramadhan, we prayed, offered charity and attended lectures. What will happen now? Have we fulfilled the requirements of Taqwa and graduated from this school with the diploma of the God Fearing?
The night of Eid ul fitr is a majestic night. It is beneficial to keep awake for Ibadah as this night is of equal importance as the night of Qadr. Eid must not just mark the ‘end’ of Ramadhan. Rather, it should be a new beginning, where we emulate our character and Islamic values, which we have focused upon for the past 30 days. We are like a child out of the womb, pure and innocent. Eid is the day of victory as we have succeeded in subduing our desires and purified ourselves. Let’s not wash away our good deeds and revert to our merry old ways. Let the masjid still overflow with worshippers; let the Quran be the most essential part of our lives instead of letting it gather dust on our shelves. Our condition should be better than before Ramadhan.
Eid is not just a ritual that provides us with an excuse to enjoy ourselves. It represents important values and participating in them, we seek to please the Almighty and attain nearness to Him.
On this day do honor God for His endless and all-enhancing mercy.
In view of the great significance attached to this day of Eid, numerous traditions consisting of prayers and worship of God on this day, have been quoted from the Holy Prophet and his Ahl-al-Bait.
Taking a solemn bath (Ghusl) on the night preceding Eid is highly recommended (Sunnat). This is a night of great sanctity and profound virtues, and should be preferably spent in worship and prayed to God.
Imam Zainul Abedin (A.S.) used to spend this whole night in devotion, and has said: “This night is as important as that of Shab-e-Qadr” (that is to say, the odd night towards the latter part of Ramadan when the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to our Holy Prophet [S.A.W.]).
It is quoted from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) that “one who offers six Rakat prayers on this night reciting in each Rakat Sura ‘Al-Hamd’ once and Sura ‘Qul Huwallah’ five times God will pardon his sins”.
Haris Aawar narrates that Hazrat Ali (A.S.), on this night, after Maghrib prayers, used to offer two Rakats prayers. In the first one he used to recite Sure ‘Al-Hamd’ once and Sura ‘Qul Huwallah’ one hundred times, and in the other both the Suras only once. After completion of the prayers he would bow his head in prostration and recite “Atubo Ellallah” 100 times and then would say, “I swear by one (God)! He has the sole command over my life”. Whoever will, in this way, offer two Rakats prayers, the Beneficent will positively fulfill any wish begged from Him. (Aamal-e-Shabe Eid-ul-Fitr)
For detail Aamal of Shabe-Eid please refer to http://www.duas.org/1nightshawall.htm#EID
The conception of Eid in Islam is not confined only to celebration extravagance, luxurious feasts, friendly handshakes and embraces. The Muslims should rather devote this day to the worship of God and should beseech Him to approve their virtuous deeds and forgive their sins. This is because the doors of God’s pardon are kept open this day and His Blessings are bountiful.