Dr. Farida Khanam | The Times of India | May 13, 2021
The celebration of Eid al-Fitr takes place on the first date of Shawwal, which is the tenth month of the Hijra calendar. It marks the end of the month-long period of fasting. The aim of fasting is to rekindle faith by preparing a believer for this worldly life of test and teaching him patience and duty-consciousness.
The abstinence practiced during fasting is to allow a believer to focus on self and contemplate on life. In doing so, he reaches the point where he can discover the innumerable blessings of God Almighty. When one fasts leaving food and water, one realizes one’s own helplessness vis-à-vis God’s greatness. This experience makes him understand that God is the Ultimate Giver. Such a realization engenders deep emotional feeling of love and gratitude for his Giver. In other words, the spirit of Eid al-Fitr allows a believer to acknowledge the greatness of God Almighty.
The month of fasting and the day of Eid al-Fitr serve to remind man of the creation plan of God. Fasting represents this worldly life and Eid al-Fitr symbolically reminds a believer of the life hereafter. Fasting spiritually rejuvenates the mind of a believer in virtues such as patience and gratefulness, humility, self-restraint and duty-consciousness towards his fellow beings. That is why the Prophet of Islam said that the month of fasting is a month of patience. (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith No. 20323)
According to tradition, the day of Eid is the day of divine reward. This is because Eid al-Fitr gives man a faint taste of the life hereafter. When believers observe their duty in the month of Ramadan in the true spirit of the season, God declares, “O angels, be witness that I have decided to bestow upon them paradise in the world hereafter.” (Shu’abul Iman, Hadith No. 3444) It reminds him of the joys and pleasures of the Hereafter promised to a believer who shall successfully pass this worldly test thereby becoming a candidate for the mercy of God and for finding a place in the everlasting and perfect world of Paradise.
The breaking of the fast brings an end for a few hours to the restrictions placed during the day, and the day of the festival of Eid al-Fitr, brings an end to the prohibitions and restrictions placed during the entire month. A true believer, having undergone the period of fasting in a most sincere manner, gets the feeling of the Hereafter as soon as the month of Ramadan is over and the celebrations for Eid are underway. He feels as if he is a divine guest. From the depths of his being, his heart cries out: ‘O God, as You have helped me carry out the injunctions of fasting and at the culmination of the month, have bestowed on me the joys of Eid, accept this life of mine as one spent in fasting and bestow on me the delights of Paradise. Include me amongst the list of persons who have been bestowed the life of Paradise by opening the gates of mercy!’
As a believer comes out of this month and finds himself observing Eid al-Fitr, he should also be reminded of the spirit of solidarity and brotherhood, which Eid stands for. This year’s Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr have been in the backdrop of the intense state caused by pain and a sense of loss. Let us pray that this Eid al-Fitr renews our courage, opens new vistas and offers fresh perspective to face the struggles of life with fortitude; in return saving us from succumbing to despair!