PROF. G R MALIK
It is the last Friday of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the two chief festivals of Islam, is around the corner. When our Prophet (SAW) migrated to Madinah, he found the people there celebrating two festivals every year. On inquiry he was informed that these two days had been traditionally reserved for merry-making and gay abandon. The Prophet told the Madinans that God had now given them two better festivals – Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.
Festivals are so universal a feature of all cultures that they seem to fulfil an important collective need. They are not only occasions of merry-making but have also an inestimable communal value. Psychologically, of course, they provide an outlet for pent-up emotions and this cathartic therapy is needed periodically to make people better and more wholesome. But apart from that, they serve the purpose of communal bonding, imparting to a cultural community a sense of unity and identity. In a way they continually renew and sustain a community. This is true of all festivals in general but a festival also constitutes the index of a community’s mind, the index of its particular world-view. By carefully observing and analyzing a festival one can see the cultural consciousness of a community reflected in it in its essentials.
As far as the Islamic festivals are concerned, they exactly mirror the spirit of the Islamic system which is God-centric and in which God is realized through the service of mankind and not through escape from life. Now both these cardinal articles of Islamic faith characterize the celebrations of the Eid. Eid prayers and takbir constitute the one pole, and saduqah al-fitr or zakat-ul-fitr, the other pole.
As you proceed to the Eidgah to bow to Allah and express your gratitude to Him for having blessed you with Ramadan and Quran, you go on reciting the takbir, and when you come back, preferably by a different route, takbir remains on your lips. But even before that, before you proceed to Eidgah to do your duty to God, you have to make sure that you have done your duty to man; that you have paid the zakat-ul-fitr to the poor and the needy around you. Without having done this your Eid prayers and the fasting that has preceded them will not have the approval and acceptance of God.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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