As we end our meditations for Shahru Ramadan, it is important for us to understand the true meaning of Eid-ul-Fitr, that we will soon be celebrating.
For all of us, Eid-ul-Fitr is a time when we visit family and friends, feast together and give gifts to those who are important to us. However, what is the real meaning of Eid-ul-Fitr and why is it so important?
The word Eid comes from the Awd, which means to return or to recur. In this meditation, we will look at both of these meanings, in sha Allah.
In a previous meditation, we described how Imam Jaffar-us-Sadiq (AS) taught us to view Shahru Ramadan. The Imam (AS) said that just as Allah (SWT) has made it compulsory for us to perform hajj once in our lifetime, where we all dress equally no matter what our wealth or position is, Allah (SWT) has also made his month the month where we are all equal, as between sunrise and sunset, a rich and poor person will still feel the same hunger and thirst.
Furthermore, just as we celebrate the completion of hajj with Eid-ul-Adha, we celebrate the completion of Shahru Ramadan with Eid-ul-Fitr. This is to celebrate that our soul has returned to its pristine condition, where it is cleansed, purified and obedient to Allah (SWT).
When we look to the Quran Majid, we see that the first mention of Eid was during the time of Nabi Isa (AS). In the 112th – 114th ayats of Surah Al-Ma’idah, Allah (SWT) informs us of how the disciples of Isa (AS) asked him if Allah (SWT) was able to send down a great banquet for them, from the heavens. Isa (AS) told them that they should not ask for such a thing from Allah (SWT), but they told Isa (AS) that they wanted this as a sign to help them to restore their faith and allow them to help Isa (AS) with his mission.
When Isa (AS) was convinced of this reason, he asked Allah (SWT) to send down a banquet for them. This banquet became a miracle of Isa (AS) and a sign that Allah (SWT) is the greatest of all providers.
Furthermore, this became an Eid, as it was a day in which their doubts were cleansed, and they returned to having full faith in Allah (SWT). It is reported that this event happened on a Sunday, which is why Sunday is revered in the Christian world even today.
Just as they returned to full faith in Allah (SWT), Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of Shahru Ramadan and our return to full faith in Allah (SWT).
Amirul Mumineen (AS) teaches us that although Eid is a day of great celebration, it should not just be a day that we celebrate once but should be a day that recurs in our life, that we celebrate over and over again.
In the Nahjul Balaga, Amirul Mumineen (AS) said: ‘Eid is for those whose fasts have been accepted and whose salaat are worthy of reckoning and every day that one does not commit a sin it is Eid.’
Shahru Ramadan is a month that has cleansed us through performing salaat, fasting, reciting the Quran Majid and observing Lailatul-Qadr. Just as we have been cleansed, we must now continue this cleansing going forward. This is why Shawwal is known as the month of Eid, as we should not just be celebrating it on the first of Shawwal, but should have many more days without sin, that are Eids for us, and consequently, we should strive to carry this on throughout the rest of the year and, in sha Allah, the rest of our life.
Indeed, the true measure of our success in Shahru Ramadan is not how many Quran Majids or prayers or fasts we completed, but how much we improved and purified as a person. This change can only be seen after and when we reflect back at the end of Shawwal and other months and can still see this change, that is when we know that Shahru Ramadan was a success for us as it caused this positive change within us.
In one of his kutbas, Amirul Mumineen (AS) also said that Eid is to be celebrated, when you remember Allah (SWT), then Allah (SWT) will remember you.
When we contrast the way in which we celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, with great feasts in elaborate venues, to how Amirul-Mumineen (AS) celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr, we see how far we have come from the true meaning of celebrating Eid. Amirul Mumineen (AS) used to spend Eid-ul-Fitr in a hovel, a small shelter, shivering and eating harira, a simple food that the poor would eat. He (AS) did so to remember Allah (SWT) and to protect his obedience to his Lord. What greater celebration is there than being close to Allah (SWT)?
More importantly, Amirul Mumineen (AS) then gave us a formula to enjoy Eid every day, by remembering our obligations to Allah (SWT), our ibadat, refraining from making allegations, shunning evil deeds, abandoning drinking, stop shortchanging, eschewing false testimony and to stop running from the battlefield.
Imam Mohammed-al-Baqir (AS), in his qunoot for the Eid Salaat said something very similar. Imam (AS) asked Allah (SWT) to beseech him, on Eid, with that which was good for him and protect him from that which was bad from him. The Imam (AS) also reminded us to remember that with the happiness of Eid, we must not forget the sadness that this day also contains, as just as we are eating and drinking, it was the hunger, the thirst and the tragedy of Karbala that ensured that we have the glory of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate.
May Allah (SWT) give us the strength and wisdom to return to our normal life and normal routine knowing that we are cleansed and purified and, more importantly, may we strive to maintain this cleansing and purification throughout the month of Shawwal and beyond. May every day be an Eid for us, as this purification protects us from sin and may we, by remembering Allah (SWT), be remembered by him and through this remembrance, be given what is good for us and protected from that which is bad for us. Aamin.