Eid-ul-Fitr: a day of celebrations …it marks thanksgiving for Ramadan

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
Eid-ul-Fitr: a day of celebrations …it marks thanksgiving for Ramadan
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Eid-ul-Fitris a day of high note. It marks the end of the sacred month of Ramadan. Thesighting of moon as per the Islamic lunar calendar stays as the marker of theend of Ramadan and beginning of the month of Shawwal.Eid-ul-Fitr signifies that the fact of month of endurance has come to fruitfulconclusion for the faithful, hence the celebration. Ramadan is enduring, as ittests tolerance levels vis-à-vis natural instincts like hunger and thirst.Fasting is prescribed for a period of one month for specific number of hoursfrom dawn to dusk. Dawn in the Islamic tradition is the call for Fajr prayersand the dusk the call for Maghreb prayers. In the intervening period, one maynot eat or drink, and abstain from biological instincts like sex with the legalpartner.

Eid-ul-Fitr apart from celebration for passing the endurance test duringRamadan is in essence a day for fulfilling certain religious and socialobligation. It marks the fact that even while celebrating an event, prayer maynot be neglected. In fact a specific prayer (Salat-al-Eid) is nominated for theday. It is a congregational prayer, performed in specified places like Idgah,or in open fields or community centers. It is timed to morning hours, andincludes the prayer and the 'Khutbah'. 'Khutbah' of Eid prayer differs, as itfollows the prayer, instead of preceding it. The prayer ritual for Eid is also different from other forms of prayer.

It is limited to two 'Rakaat/Rak'ah, and includes 'Takbeer (AllahuAkbar)' said by Imam and the followers in prayer. 'Takbeer-e-Tehreema' followsin first 'Rakaat'. The congregation repeats 'Allahu Akbar' three times, whileraising hands to the ears and dropping them except the last time, when handsare folded. 'Surah-e-Fatiha' and the other obligatory 'Surah' following itare recited by the Imam. 'Ruku' and 'Sajud' follows as in any other form of'Salat'. In the second 'Rakaat' following 'Surah-e-Fatiha'and the other 'Surah' three 'Takbeers' are called before 'Ruku'. In each'Takbeer' hands are raised to the ear and dropped. The fourth time, thecongregation says 'Allahu Akbar' and goes to 'Ruku'. Routine prayerresumes, followed by 'Khutbah'. This is the 'Sunni' ritual. Shias differ inhaving five 'Takbeers' in first 'Rakaat' during each one of these, a special'Dua' is recited. 'Surah-e-Fatiha' other 'Surah' 'Ruku' and 'Sajud' follow.In the second 'Rakaat' five 'Takbeers' are yet again followed by  'Surah-e-Fatiha' other'Surah' 'Ruku' and 'Sajud'. 'Khutbah' follows.

The socio-religious obligation is Zakat-ul-Fitr (Sadqa). It isobligatory to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr before joining Eid prayers. Sadqa-e-Fitr is fortaking care of deprived and dispossessed, so that they have the subsistence, anallowance for celebrating Eid. It marks the guiding principle of Islam to carryall along in all walks of life. No body may be left wanting in an Islamicsociety. Sadqa-e-Fitr is consistent with communal aspects of the month ofRamadan. The communal aspects highlight the basic values of Islamic society,such as empathy for the poor. It differs from mere sympathy, as it promotestogetherness rather than despicable class distention. Charity in Islam hasdifferent connotation. It is matter of obligation than choice, hence in no casea favour.

Fasting in the month of Ramadan and Sadqa-e-Fitr to cap it promotesselflessness in spite of projecting the self. It extols fundamentaldistinctions, subordinating the physical self to spiritual self. It is arelease from the biddings and bindings of physical self. 'Nafs' denoting thephysical, the biological needs could be a cage, promoting selfishness. Ramadanprovides a period of intense search to quell 'Nafs' and release the self. Inits essence, it is a rejuvenating process, a cleansing of the self. AllamaIqbal philosophizes the rejuvenating process, by citing the twin aspect ofcreation. The twin aspects are 'Khalq' and 'Amr'. One aspect of creation'Khalq' dictates the physical self; it cannot but decay with time. 'Amr' on theother hand denotes free will, where the spiritual self is left with a choice tochose the path, it may adapt to value assimilation and promotion. Ramadan is ayearly exercise to lay stress on the finer aspect of creation.    

Ramadan also marks the descend of 'Quran-e-Majid' also called'Furqan-e-Hamid'. Furqan is the subtle line of distinction between good andbad, right and wrong, true and untrue. The night of descend of Quran fallsduring last ten days of Ramadan, marked as 'Najat'. 'Najat' is deliverance fromsocial ills and evils. 'Quran-e-Majid/Furqan-e-Hamid' is the vehicle ofdeliverance. The night of descend may fall on 23rd 25th 27th or other odd nights of last tendays. As and when it falls, the night signifies spiritual bliss. The nightcalled 'Al-Qadr' is better than a thousand months, as Quran relates (30:97).The Quranic mention of thousand Months is metaphorical. In its essence, itdenotes timelessness, tuned to divine timing, where there is no past, presentor future. Divine timing is holistic. 'Al-Qadr' is a night of spiritual bliss,as divine forces supplement on another, leaving hardly a space for forces ofevil. 'Quran-e-Majid/Furqan-e-Hamid' as such dissipates forces ofevil, provided it is followed in letter and spirit. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) wasthe very embodiment of Quran, hence revered as 'Quran-e-Nateq'the moving or the spoken Quran. There is thus more than one reason forrejoicing the advent of 'Eid-ul-Fitr'.

Yaar Zinda,Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

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