Eid 2015 – In between reflection and hope for kinder tomorrows

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SHAFAQNA - With Muslims around the world just about wrapping up their month of fasting, most will be actively preparing a most anticipated and long awaited Eid, ready to enjoy in the celebration and traditions of this blessed festival, surrounded by family and friends.

An important date on any Muslim’s calendar, Eid al Fitr will be somewhat different this year, as many countries in the Islamic world continue to find themselves within the grip of violence and wars, plagued by economic difficulties and heartache.

And it is of course in times such as these, when God injuncts us to remember the less fortunate by opening both our hearts and our purse’ strings in remembrance of Him and the blessings He has bestowed on all of us, that Muslims should turn to each other in kindness and with compassion.

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.” – Quran 2:177

While of course Eid needs to be remembered as a joyful occasion, it is also a time for reflection and most certainly a time to implement those lessons of modesty and generosity a month-long of fasting and praying taught us. Now that we are all free to return to our lives, would it not be better to keep the memory of Ramadan alive by enacting its teachings and helping others achieve and attain what we wish for ourselves?

And since we all strive for security and safety from all harms, whether physical, emotional or financial, it is important that as a community, we remember those less fortunate we owe protection to. And if indeed faith lies in God’s remembrance and fortitude before adversity, let us be patient and kind in His name with each other.

For Muhammad Abadi, his wife, Elham and their two daughters, Zaynab and Leena this Eid will be bittersweet. The Abadi family arrived in the UK from Syria this April and for them the journey to safety has been long and filled with heartache.

“We understand how lucky we are to be here in the UK where our children are safe from the ravages of war but we cannot help but think about all those we have left behind and how our family stands now divided. We have left a lifetime of memories and laughter behind us. I fear I will never see my homeland anymore or pray on my parents’ grave. I fear my children will not know their cousins, uncles and aunties because we can no longer be together as we were.

This Eid will be lonely … It is very difficult to smile when your heart weights so heavy and yet we have so much to be thankful for.

This Eid will be a quiet one for us. We feel ostentation will be disrespectful for our people back in Syria. This year it is about remembering God and striving to be better people. I don’t want to squander the blessings my family was given by being selfish and insensitive to the pain of others,” said Muhammad.

In Swansea where she is now living with her maternal uncle and her auntie, Doha Saeed from Yemen recalls how while she managed to escape the violence of Yemen, her brother and father could not. Heartbroken and torn in between happiness and concern for her family, Doha’s Eid will be a mixture of complicated feelings.

“I know how lucky I am to have escaped war and I know that both my brother and my dad are breathing a little easier now that I am safe with my uncle but I feel so guilty! Eid is suppose to be a time when family gets together around a big meal. Eids in Yemen are always loud and happy … My house is usually filled with the smell of meat and sweets. This year Eid will be somewhat sad.

But I have decided not to feel sorry for myself! I have too much to be thankful for … that would be ungrateful of me. So this Eid I will say a special prayer for my family and I will make sure that I remain committed to my Ramadan goals: I will be generous to others, I will remember to pray on time and not be lazy in my religion and I will try to be patient. This year for me it is not about the cakes and the presents … it is about being thankful for what God gave me and pray that he keeps my loved ones safe and happy … always!”

Just like Ramadan is not meant to be a food festival indulgence, maybe Eid does not have to be all about the lights and the money spending. Maybe this year, we ought to stop and think about how Eid is really a lesson in love and brotherhood.

“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allahs Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” – Quran 24:22]

By Catherine Shakdam

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