Preparing Yourself for Eid (Both: Eid al-Adha & Eid al-Fitr)
For many people, the Eid is a time of celebration, festival, not unlike Christmas for the Christians, gifts are exchanged, time is spend in the playgrounds, the parks, the beaches, etc.
It is a day of celebration, and it is not to say that Islam is against enjoyment and happiness, Islam is the way to ultimate enjoyment and happiness but we do not want to lose the spirit of Eid, as happened to Christians with Christmas, because their Eid fundamentally is reaffirmation of Ramadan, it is reaffirmation of the basic principles and elements of Ramadan itself. The three basic principles are or were the establishment of prayer, charity, and the faith of community.
That is why Eid began wit Salatul Fajir, that was the day of Eid the first thing we did on that day on that day was Salatul Fajir, that is what we are supposed to do, for those people who spent the night in celebration and missed Salatul Fajir, they just undermined their whole Eid, I am not going to say that their Eid had no value, but they just sabotaged their Eid, those who missed Salatul Fajir on the day of Eid, and there were many.
The numbers I saw during Ramadan for Salatul Fajir, I did not see on the day of Eid, they were preparing to come for Salatul Eid but which was the most important? Salatul Fajir or salatul Eid? Salatul Fajir, so the most important element of that day was lost from it, Salatul Fajir was reinforced for those 29 days, every single day, Salatul Fajir, that is why Masjids were full, it was reinforced by the principle of delayed suhoor, Prophet Muhammad [SAW] had said that the Ummah would be in success as long as they delay their Suhoor and hastened their Iftar, delay their Suhoor and hasten their Iftar, why, what is the issue about delaying Suhoor, because the delaying of Suhoor ensures Fajir, that is the point, it is not about that meal, yeah you could eat the meal earlier, it is the same meal, the meal does not change in terms of the time.
Whether you do it delayed or you do it earlier, you do it in the middle of the night, whatever, but the Prophet [SAW] stressed delaying of that Suhoor, delay it, to the last minute, your Suhoor ends wit the Adhaan of Fajir, that is the best Suhoor, ending with the Adhaan of Fajir, why because then it is easy to go from there to the Masjid, you are up already, everything is in place, very easy to go and pray Salatul Fajir, Salatul Fajir, which is normally the most difficult Salaah, Salatul Fajir, which is normally the most difficult Sallah, about which the Prophet [SAW] had said that the distinction between the believers and hypocrites is Salatul Fajir, Salatul Fajir, so that delayed Suhoor reinforced Salatul Fajir throughout Ramadan, Salatul Fajir, and we all know the importance of Salaah.
Salaah in Islam, after the declaration of faith it is the first thing which is obligatory on us, if we fail to establish the Salaah, we have failed with out Islam, we can fast every Ramadan, make Hajj, give Zakah, everything else, but if we do not pray, there is no Islam, Salatul Fajir, so the Eid began with Salatul Fajir.
The day of Eid, then before we pray Salatul Eid and Salatul Eid is also reinforcement of Salatul Fajir in Jammah, but primarily Salatul Fajir, this is the principle of establishing worship of Allah, as the foundation of our day, and we enter into every day.
Based on the worship of Allah, so Salatul Fajir, stressing also the importance of the goal of fasting and Salatul Fajir, that the goal of Fasting, Allah said what, in order that.
You would increase in God consciousness, that you would gain a consciousness of Allah which would protect you from evil, what did Allah say in the Qur’an about Salaah, he said, establish the Salaah in order to remember me, to have a consciousness of me, to be conscious of me, so the same goal, the fast, the Salaah, but before we go on to do Salatul Eid, we are obliged to give charity, we are obliged to give charity, that charity was the implementation of the charitable nature which the fast was supposed to create in us because as we were fasting, hungry, thinking about those who are not fasting because they chose to fast but because they had no food, those who are starving around the world, that was supposed to motivate us to want to help them, to empathize, to sympathize with them, that principle of sympathy and empathy was then translated into action by Zakatul Fitr, Sadahtul Fit, which had to be given before the Eid prayer, if it was given after the Eid prayer, it is just general Sadaqah, better you do it but you lost the reward, the great reward of Sadaqhtul Fitr, so that was the second principle, charity, feeding the needy and you know that charity we have Zakah, the principle of Zakatul Fitr is different from Zakah, both of them involve charity, obligatory but Zakah is for those who have wealth.
The wealthy amongst us, relatively wealthy, you have wealth which you have not used for a year, you pay Zakah on it, you are, you got surplus wealth so that Zakah is for the wealthy, but Zakatul Fitr is for everybody, as long as you have enough to give a plate of food to somebody else, you must pay for Zakah, it is for everybody.
So it is telling us that the principle, this is not a thing for wealthy, it is about a charitable nature, it is about generosity, giving from what you have, that even the people who would normally receive Zakah throughout the year, they would receive Zakah, these people are required to give because no matter how poor you are, there are people who are poorer, that the poor would also recognize Allah bounties and mercy on them, so this was the spirit, of course what has happened is that we have lost this spirit and understanding of what is involved, and it has been replaced by the Christmas spirit, giving gifts, so this is the day you give gifts, everybody gives you gifts and you give gifts to you kids and it is a day of exchanging gifts, but that is not what it is about, not to say to give a gift, it is not good, the Prophet [SAW] said give gifts and build love, give gifts and build love, it builds love but that was not the primary principle of the Eid, but this for many of us is what it has become, it is like Christmas, the kids are all waiting, we just do not have a Christmas tree, but the kids are waiting where is my Eidi, where is my Eid gift, you know, like my Christmas present.
So it is important that we teach our children the true message of Eid, that message of generosity, or sharing, sharing with others, and not get lost in the present giving, very important.
The third element, the element of faith community, what unites Muslims all over the world, we all fasted together, all round the world, the whole world got a message, the Muslims community was fasting, we were united by that principle of faith, fasting for one month, every year, Salatul Eid was a reinforcement of that community, we did not play Salatul Eid in our local mosques, maybe some places where they did not have a place large enough to hold the prayer, they did it in some mosques but in general Salatul Eid is prayed in open area, musalah, whatever, this is the place now where the people who normally prayed in their local Masjid, who then pray in the biggest Masjid of their area for Jummah, now go to this larger area, beyond the Jummah where all the people were praying Jummah’s.
They all now come to this area and pray together, this is the faith community, reviving the faith, that bond of faith, that bond of faith which holds us and unites us, which goes above nationality, nation, tribe, etc. though to certain degree we can see elements of tribalism in the Eid greetings after the Salaah, all the Pakistanis give greetings to the Pakistani’s, all the Philippine’s give greetings to the Philippine’s, and even amongst the Philippine’s the, go it together and the, do it together, we see this, Indians gathering, giving, sharing, that is not a good sign, it is a sickness, it is a sickness, not a good sign, for me, I greeted everybody and if there Jamaicans I would not have been just handing out with Jamaicans anyway, so it is not by default but the people of all the different communities, they greeted me, but that is how it should be for everybody, we will greet everybody, everybody who is next to us, everybody who is around us, not just go looking for our Indian brothers or Pakistani brothers, Pilipino brothers.
Go greet them, now I mean it is not to say we can not also communally gather, you know have something together for our communities, whatever, no harm.
But the Eid, after Salatul Eid, that faith community gathering, we break down now into tribalism immediately, after the Salaah, not a good thing, not a good thing, and when we have our gatherings we should invite people from the other groups, do not let it be a Pakistani thing or an Indian thing or an Egyptian thing, do not let it be that, if you do Shaitaan has won, Shaitaan has succeeded in sabotaging Eid, so these are thoughts that we need to take away from Salatul Eid, our Eid day, to reflect on, there is another Eid coming up. Let us not repeat the mistakes of this Eid in that Eid, or next year after Ramadan.