It’s so totally lame to write about eid on eid… innit?

Assalamu aleikum,

… But I’ll do it anyway.

stick tongue

Having been a muslim for longer than I care to admit because it will unavoidably make me sound old, I still haven’t gotten quite used to the concept of Eid. As a new muslim, I too, used to define it as a sort of a muslim equivalent for xmas. But as the Eids have gone by, although they increasingly become more and more xmasy (as do all the feasts celebrated by westerners with too much money, few children and a christian/secular family peer pressure over their heads), they seem to gain more meaning too.

My son is not yet so old that he’d understand anything about Ramadhan (he does know what fasting means; it means mummy won’t eat my left overs); he also doesn’t have older siblings who’d teach him to whine for presents (alhamdulillaah *phew*). And yet I feel that I must make Eid special. I guess it has something to do with … everyone else doing so too? I do try to refrain from fussing (I never fussed about xmas either… well, nor did anyone else in my family. Thank God for that.) . I know parents who start having their “Eid stress” before Ramadhan has even started.

Too many parents (i.e. mothers… I mean…get real, it always is the mothers anyway) spend the last days of Ramadhan hunting for gifts, cleaning and decorating the home and most importantly, cooking. The last 10 days of Ramadhan SHOULD be devouted to excess worship, seeking for the forgiveness of Allah. The men should be in itikaaf (as they often are, mashaAllah) but no one seems to remember, that the women should be in itikaaf as well. A woman’s itikaaf  consists of staying at home (i.e no unnecessary hanging out at the marketplace etc.) and excess worship. It does not mean staying at home because you gots to cook biryani for the rest of the block or shopping for stuff you really don’t need.

eid shopping don’t ask me what it says here… but it actually is a real comercial. sad, innit?

Today I took part in a massive Eid-prayer at the local park. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many muslims anywhere at the same time. The sun was shining, the birds were singing andthere was a light autumn breeze blowing (yes, this IS England, and YES that DOES happen.occasionally) and everything was discustingly idyllic. MashaAllah. I don’t think that I’ve ever so clearly felt the sakeena (peace and tranquility) descending on my heart.

But as soon as the prayer had finished the mussizzing (muslim sister buzzing) began. There was a bayan (religious speech) somewhere, but even though the speaker system was good, it was impossible to hear it very well. This is not the first time this has happened to me; the same thing happened in my walima (yes, there was a bayan there-but don’t ask me what it was about), at a sister’s iftar yesteday and on many other occasions too. And I wonder at these women who don’t bother with the bayan; is it that they don’t understand? (which shouldn’t be the case here… The bayan was in English. Even the freshiest freshie understands that much)or is it that they think that it does not concern them? or don’t they just simply care?

If the last one is the right answer, or even if it is the second one, why bother coming to the Eid prayer in the first place? or to any other religious happening for that matter, if your niya is not to gain religious benefit? Is it just because that’s what everyone does; we like to parade around with our newest blingy blingy dopattas and meet our friends? My husband often points out, that born-muslims easily take Islam for granted, and thus don’t really feel the need to gain religious knowledge. I know from experience that a lot of converts do that too. However this is not a matter of understanding, culture or willingness to learn; it’s a matter of manners, that a lot of sisters (and brothers) seem to lack. I remember back in the middle-of-nowhere land, how after the Eid prayer the men who didn’t want to stay fro the bayan, started walking out in the middle of it…

To too many of us Eid has lost it’s original meaning (although not on the same scale as the christians have lost the meaning of chirstmas; even those of us who don’t practice acknowledge it to be a religious feast). The fascinating sights one sees in the Eid prayer (the see-throughable lace hidjabs, the “look at my silicon-valley” hidjabs and the “I fell into a bucket of paint on my way here”-masks some sisisters wear)  are…well, fascinating (I saw one sister who had so much jewellery on, plus a REAL blingy dress, that it really hurt my eyes to look. I guess this IS a good way to keep men’s eyes down though… hmm…. there IS an idea there (lol)), but Eid should be the feast when we eat, drink and glorify Allah (and actually these things should be mentioned in a reverse order); our feast begins after the prayer, after the emphasizing of Takbeer (Allahu Akbar- Allah is the Greatest. ie. Praising the greatnes of the Perfect Being).

Eid, in other words, is not about us. It’s not about how much food we cook (or eat), how fancy our new clothes are, how blingy our washed car is (and oh, didn’t someone break our bumper AGAIN btw, at the fun fair parkinglot where we went after the prayer. ah the annoyance..) nor about what we got (or what our children got) for presents. It is a feast to glorfiy Allah, for all of His bounties; for the fact that He gave us the ability to fast on Ramadhan (and thus purify ourselves and to learn to control our nafs (lowly desires)), and He gave us the right to celebrate afterwards. He did not give us the right to fall into ghafla (negligence) due the celebration.

And I’m talking to myself first.

May Allah enable us to continue whatever virtuous deeds we have performed in excess during Ramadhan (such as reading Quran,praying nawafil and giving to the poor) and enable us to live until next Ramadhan, so that  we may again gain His special blessings. Peace and Blessings be upon the Prophet (sallallahu aleihi wa sallam) who gave us such a beautiful example of how Ramadhan and Eid should be spent. Aamiin.

Have a blessed and peaceful Eid inshaAllah.