The purpose and essence of Eid-ul-Fitr
TMR Mohsin & Aijaz Kashmiri
Well after a month long endeavour in order to earn the pleasure of Almighty Allah and to strengthen our relationship with him through fasting, praying, giving Zakat, helping needy, reciting the Quran , invocation and so on—and the trials and difficulties that Muslims all across the globe went through in the form of starvation and thirst, Allah (swt) bestows his blessings and joy to his slave in the form of “Eid”.
It’s like a divine reward that O my Abd (slave)! I was keenly watching how willing you were in fulfilling all my commandments. You suffered from hunger and thirst, your throat would dry up due to intense heat, but did not show any huff or displeasure. Rather all such trials strengthened your Iman (faith) as is the trait of Believers.
“As for the true believers, when they saw the invading confederates, they cried out: “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and what Allah and His Messenger said was absolutely true. This only increased their faith and submission.” (33:22)
Since you succeeded in all the tribulations, the transient bindings of Ramdhan are lifted from you now. I had ordered you to abstain from food and drink, today the order is reversed. Now you must have it. You are no more allowed to avoid eating and drinking.
This is actually to instill a sense of obedience in believer; that the required thing is Amr (order) not Amal (deed). Any act of worship in Islam like Salat (prayer), zakat (almsgiving), Hajj (pilgrimage) or Soam (fasting) is not Matloob (desired) in itself, but what is essential is following the ‘ order ‘.
When Shaari’ah (law giver) decrees something to do, it becomes reward worthy to perform that act but if He forbids from anything then it has no Ajr (reward) in doing that. Take an example of Arafah ( Makkah). If one stays there for whole year except of 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (Islamic month of pilgrimage), it will not fetch him a single benefit or reward because Shaari’ah has not ordered to stay there in other days albeit it’s the same place of Arafah and same Jabl-e-rehmat.
When Allah said to spend 9th of Dhul-Hijjah in Arafah, then staying there on that day would be accepted and enumerated as Sawab (reward). Interestingly, this is to be done by leaving the Harm e Kaabah (sanctum) where the Ajr of one prayer is equal to hundred thousand prayers offered elsewhere.
Now If someone thinks let’s pray five prayers of 9th of Dhul-Hijjah in Harm e Shareef for more sawab instead of praying in barren land of Arafah : it would be deemed as violation of divine ruling, let alone the Ajr of one lakh prayers. Hence the desired thing is not ampleness of deeds but the “obedience”. Same goes with fasting.
On sighting the crescent of Ramadan we were ordered to observe fast for complete month. And now on the appearance of crescent of Shawal we are commanded to break the fast. Now the Ajr lies in eating and drinking. That’s why prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has forbidden from fasting on Eid days. In a hadith in Musnad Ahmed Hazart umar (ra) gave a sermon on the day of Eid and said, “O people, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade fasting on these two days (i.e., the two Eids).
Essence of Eid-ul-Fitr: Eid is a festival of Muslims. When the prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah , he found that people used to celebrate two days during the time of ignorance period (Jahiliyya).
He said: “I came to you and you have two days that you celebrated during Jahiliyya and Allah has substitute for you better days: the day of sacrifice (Eid ul Azha) and the day of breaking Fast (Eid ul Fitr). “(Abu Dawood).
Eid for Muslims is a time of unity when they all break their fast together and perform a prayer out in the open. Islam exhorts its followers to make social life a visible expression of God consciousness. Prayer is the most effective means of fostering this virtue in man. This is the reason why it has been made essential for Muslims to observe prayers in congregation.
So Muslims should be keen to attend Eid Prayers. It’s also a time when Muslims remember the poor by giving charity before Eid prayer so the poor can use it to enjoy on such a day. Therefore at the end of Ramadan every Muslim is required to pay Zakat al -Fitr (a special fast breaking alm) which is given to poor & needy.
May Allah almighty, on this special occasion of Eid, end all the sufferings of humanity and may this Eid be blissful and bright for Muslim Ummah.
(TMR Mohsin has done his masters in public administration and Aijaz Kashmiri is a social activist)