Eid-ul-Fitr for Whom?
Eid-ul-Fitr for Whom?
Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi
Source: EID-UL-FITR FOR WHOM?
Published On: 17/8/2012 A.D. – 29/9/1433 H.
Some sections of the society are vigorously pursuing the view that Eid-ul-Fitr is a prominent symbol of Islamic unity; therefore all the Muslims should celebrate it on one particular day.
Some people hold the view that all the Muslims, across the world, should observe it on the same day, while there are others who feel that at least Pakistani Muslims should certainly have it concurrently.
However, these are the flaws of views and thoughts. Such views are floated primarily due to the ignorance of religious value. Moreover, those are the people, on the forefront of such theories, who do not even fast during Ramadan, but are very ‘concerned’ about Islamic unity with regard to Eid.
The very first misconception these folks have is that, for them, Eid is a festival akin to Christmas, Holi or Diwali or it is a national festival that is manifested as a symbol of unity for Muslims.
However, Eid is essentially related to supplication that commences at the beginning of Ramadan and culminates after the end of Ramadan, by thanking Allah, with special Eid prayers.
According to the clear instructions of Islamic law, this adoration cannot begin until it is ascertained, through reliable sources, that Ramadan have commenced and similarly it cannot cease unless it is acknowledged, through dependable authority, that they have come to an end.
Holy Qur’an has clearly stated:
“Month of Ramadan is that, in which Qur’an is revealed, therefore each of you who is present, during this month, should fast”.
This verse categorically resolves that from the beginning of Ramadan, and till its end, every Muslim should fast and without the fulfillment of fasting during this month, there is absolutely no question of commemorating Eid.
This is evident that Ramadan is a lunar month and the commencement of which depends upon the appearance of crescent and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has very clearly instructed to begin and end fasting only after seeing crescent. But if the horizon is not very clear, complete the fasting of thirsty days, unless two reliable witnesses testify the advent of crescent.
In this instruction, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has distinctly notified two points: firstly, the testimony of appearance is required when the horizon is not clear and secondly, in that case, the decision of the appearance of crescent will be based on the testimony of two trust worthy witnesses and not information.
Because this is an accepted fact that deposition, through telegram or telephone is invalid. For this, physical presence of witnesses is a must. If you try to testify in a court through telegram or telephone, you would come to know immediately whether it is acceptable to the court or not. Here, the question is that when such “testimony” cannot be acceptable to any court in this world, then why are we wanted to rely on this, in a matter of Shariah , depends on which the validity of fasts of millions of Muslims.
Those who toe the idea that Muslims, throughout the world, should celebrate crescent, throughout the world, always and necessarily, on the same day is impossible. Even celebration of Eid, in a country or region, on the same day is not made mandatory in Shariah.
If it is made possible in any country through proper system of telecasting and broadcasting to the entire nation, according to the principles of Shariah, then this is not forbidden either.
But Shariah never makes it essential, nor does Shariah consider it maleficent that people in different regions celebrate Eid on different days. The canon of Allah is meant for the entire humanity and for all times to come.
Today, due to the revolution in information technology that people expect the Eid to be celebrated concurrently.
But just a few decades back, leave aside communicating about the appearance of crescent throughout the subcontinent, it was not possible to inform the inhabitants of even one state, if the crescent appeared on the 29th of Ramadan. If Shariah had made it mandatory for all Muslims to celebrate Eid on a single day, then how would Muslims, over the last few centuries, practice this impossible injunction. Even in today’s satellite age.
It is not possible to follow it strictly. Muslims do not live only in metros and urban towns where they have access to state of the art communication facilities. They are also populated in far-flung rural areas where communication facilities are not available.
Making the celebrations of Eid on the same day a Shariah instruction translates that, to be a Muslim, not only one radio station is necessary in a country, but also every individual or family or at least one radio set in every town would be a must. Or else they will not be able to pursue their religious duties will then communication equipment to become an integral part of Islam? The Shariah of Allah has laid down such a smooth set of guidelines by which it is possible for every Muslim to easily perform his or her religious duties.
Shariah has not specified the timings of Salah according to the movement of watch to make watch an indispensable part of Islamic religion. Rather, it has made universal indicators like ascend and descend of sun for determining the timing of Salah, to which every individual on the earth has access.
Similarly, for commencing and ending fasts also, it has declared the appearance of Shawwal and Ramadan crescent as a symbol which is universal indicator and every Muslim, anywhere in the world, can find out when did Ramadan begin and end. Had Shariah linked to the dates of calendar, then it would be necessary for every Muslim to learn the art of reading stars or calendar would have become inevitable part of his life without having which he would not be able to perform his religious duties.
Or if it was made mandatory that after the appearance of crescent, in one part of the world, the entire world or every nook and corner of the universe will begin to observe and end fasting, then before the invention of present means of communication, it would not be possible for Muslims to practice this religion.
Even after the evolution of present communication network, every Muslim would have to bear the burden of subscribing to these services, if they want to remain Muslims, regardless of whether he or she can afford bread and butter for self -feeding.
WHO TRULY DESERVES EID GREETINGS?
After necessary clarification on this subject, I extended my greeting to you and to all of my Muslim brothers. People who genuinely deserve the greeting of Eid are those who fasted for the whole month of Ramadan; who endeavoured to take maximum benefit from the instructions of Qur’an; who tried to read, understand and take guidance from Qur’an and took advantage of the character-building exercise which Ramadan seeks to impart to every Muslim. Qur’an explains only two primary objectives of the month of Ramadan: firstly, Muslims should build their character and secondly, Muslims pay gratitude to Allah for the favour he has bestowed on Muslims, in the form of revealing Qur’an, during the month of Ramadan.
If there is one biggest favour Allah has done to the humanity, it is the revelation of Qur’an. This is the greatest divine blessing, because food and other resources, for instance, oxygen, water, food grains and similar sources of economy, through which man earns the bread, constructs house, provides clothing, though these provisions too are the blessings and kindness of Allah, but they are merely meant for the human body.
Holy Qur’an, is the blessing which is conceived for the soul of man, for his character and essentially for his real altruism, is the ultimate benediction.
A Muslim can offer true gratitude to Allah only in a situation when he thanks on the food provided by Him and also on the gracious commandments which have been issued to him in the form of Qur’an.
The most appropriate way to thank Him is not just verbal appreciation that thank you Allah for giving us Qur’an, rather the precise approach for doing that is to acknowledge Qur’an as the wellhead of guidance; recognize it as a true navigator and take practical advantage of its counseling.
Qur’an gives you instructions about your personal life that how should you lead a devout life.
It forbids you from deeds that are harmful in shaping a character full life. It gives you guidelines, by pursuing which, your personality will develop in an upright manner and you could become an exemplary human being.
It also provides extensive guidance about your collective life. How to shape your social life and your domestic life? What should be the outline of your culture and civilization. How should you conduct the affairs of your state? What would be your constitution? How should you manage the social life? What should be the avenues to earn your bread and butter? Where should you and should not spend your earned money? How should be your relation with Allah? How should be your relation with your own conscience? What should be the nature of your relationship and behaviour with other human beings, your spouse, your off-springs, your parents, your folks, members of your own society and the entire human population of the earth, even with plants and animals, and with various blessings of Allah? Qur’an gives you specific instructions about each of these aspects of life.
The obligations of every Muslim is to accept it as real fountain head for guidance; turn towards it for counseling; truly recognize those instructions, directions and principles which it is dispensing. Muslims should reject all those beliefs and practices which contradict them, Whatever is there source.
If an individual has, during the month of Ramadan, read through Qur’an and understood it from this perspective. And has endeavoured to absorb its teachings and instructions, to the maximum possible extent, in his life and character, then he has offered true gratitude to Allah for this divine blessings – in the form of Qur’an. For this, he literally deserves the greetings that he has completely fulfilled the responsibility, which the month of Ramadan placed on him.
Second and equally important objective of fasting, in the month of Ramadan, for which it has been made mandatory is that you should lead a pious and righteous life. If you consider the reality of fasting, then you would know that righteousness and piety cannot be injected in a better and more effective way than this.
What is righteousness and piety? Righteousness is, essentially, to refrain from violating the commands of Allah and adhere to His guidelines.
Fasting allows you to continuously practice this for a month.
Deeds which are usually permissible in your life, they too are forbidden during fasts, by the order of Allah, and continue to be so until they are again permitted by Allah only. Even water which is pure and permissible, during fasting when Allah instructs you not to consume this, then not a single drop can be swallowed down the throat, even if the throat begins to crack by thirst. However, the moment drinking of water is allowed by Allah, then you tend to rush towards it as if you were tied down and you have just been released. This process of caging and freeing persists, for a month, so that you are prepared for the complete submission to Allah. You get used to stay away from those activities, which are banned by Him and undertake things, which are permitted by Him.
you manage to exercise full control over your inner-self that it could not force you to carry out its unwarranted demands, against the will of Allah. This is the second real motive for which fasting is made mandatory for you.
If during the month of Ramadan any individual has imbibed this spirit of Fast, then he truly justifies the greetings of Eid.
And the one who does not throw up this month-long training on the very first day after Eid, but keeps benefiting from this for the remaining eleven months of the year, he is even more worthy for Eid greetings.
Consider a hypothetical situation where an individual eats highly lavish food, which is extremely nutritious for him. but immediately after feeding, he vomits it out by putting a finger into the throat, then there will be no benefit of this diet, because he has not allowed the food to digest and translate into blood.
On the contrary, if an individual eats and digests food and then blood is made which circulates in his body, then this the actual reward of eating which he has gained. Eating and digesting simple food is better than eating very lavish food and throwing it up. This is the case of Fasts Ramadan. The real payoff of Ramadan can be gained only when, after Eid, you do not puke the vigorous training, imparted to you for a month. Rather, for remaining eleven months, allow its effects to work on your life. It one can achieve this goal from Ramadan, then he truly deserves hearty greetings; that he has bagged a very precious blessing of Allah.
OUR TREATMENT WITH ISLAMIC CHASTITIES
Unfortunately, a large number of people among us are those who do not turn towards Allah even during Ramadan.
The holy month comes and goes but their homes do not indicate any sign that these are inhabited by Muslims, for whom this month has any special significance. Leave fasting, they do not even care to show any respect for this month.
Their eating and drinking persists even during Ramadan, like any Christian, Hindu or Sikh. Clearly, those who behave like this are taking to a situation of a barren land that, even during monsoons, when every inch of land turns lush green and the crop blooms and flourishes, does not produce a single leaf of grass.
The way monsoons are a season of cultivation and growth for land, similarly Ramadan is an era of sprouting and flowering of the spirit of Islam.
If Allah had issued the directive of fasting, giving an option to Muslims to keep 30 days fasts at their own convenience, then there would have never been this season-like feeling in our religious life.
But, the direction of Supreme Sage has been that all Muslims fast together, in one particular month only. This move has created the feeling of a season.
When the season comes, leave aside high quality fertile land, even those pieces of land which have limited level of fertility, buds of vegetable begin to sprout even in those lands. The bounty of season is such that land with even limited potential of growth is not deprived from its blessings.
And the land that does not grow even a bud, during monsoons, is indicative that it is free from the faculty of growth.
Similarly, Ramadan is such a period that those Muslims having a ray of Faith and a shred of Islamic emotions, comes this month and the deeply buried Faith in them becomes restless, however, insensitive has been their lifestyle during remaining eleven months.
Getting up of all Muslims together for Sahar, for a month; fasting together the whole day; breaking the fast simultaneously; and offering Taraweeh during nights at various places creates an impressive collective environment in Muslim districts, by virtue of which Mosques get flooded.
Reciting of Qur’an becomes a common sight everywhere, even those who do not pray otherwise, start offering prayers regularly; those also start fasting who are not inclined towards Islamic way of life, in ordinary months.
If a person is relentless even in this ambience; he does not develop any leaning towards Allah; his heart is still not inclined for prayers; fasting and reciting of Qur’an, then this is a clear indication that his heart is absolutely empty from the feeling of Faith. He has no link left with Islam.
All ties, which he could have had with Allah and His religion, and with the Muslim community, he has severed them all. Thus, how can you trust that, a person who was born and has opened his eyes in, and being a part of Muslim community, severs his holiest bonds and connections with the lifestyle and religion of this community, in future, he will not attempt to backbite and desert this community.
This is obvious that his conduct is only to satisfy desires of his inner-self. Here the question is, when his desires are making him behave like this, the same desires, in future, may move him on a worse course.
Gentlemen, we need to think very sincerely about the reasons that have resulted into this situation.
If handful of people behaved like this, it could have been ignored. But we find hundreds of thousands of people present among us, who very vocally and proudly keep eating and drinking in Ramadan and perversely humiliate to those who fast. This is clearly a very alarming development and we should attempt to understand the causes behind this.
This situation is actually born because for a long time we are oblivion of the fact that the greatest reforms Allah, His Prophet (Peace be upon him) , His book had affected in our lives is still left in our society or it is lost. We have been very conscious about the economic prosperity of our community, and we have been making great efforts for this.
But we have no concerns about those grand moral and spiritual reforms on which the nation of our society was established. Rather, there is widespread existence of such education and training, law and order system, which is disastrous for Islamic system. Consequently, we are witnessing that the influential sections of our society careless for the destruction of most sacred places of Islam that they do for the crease of their trousers.