SHAFAQNA- Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
The Day of Eid is certainly an auspicious day. It is the day of renewing of the covenant with God Almighty for His endless bounties, especially after the month-long fasting of Ramadhan that purifies the hearts of the believers, strengthens their spirit, soothes their souls, firms up their faith, instills in them the hope in divine mercy, inculcates the feeling for self-reform, and encourages them to do good to others in society. The Divine Banquet that was spread out for one full month may be over but Divine Blessings will never cease for the seekers of Truth. For a Muslim, the Eid is not just any other ordinary day. It is a day on which a special prayer is performed before anything else in the early morning hours. The Eid Prayer is thus one of the finest displays of Islamic solidarity. As is evident, rows upon rows of the faithful stand solemnly in the presence of God Almighty, as a form of thanksgiving, bowing in unison and prostrating in unison to present a marvelous sight. Eid ul-Fitr is actually the icing to the fasting cake of Ramadhan. It is a day of great rejoicing, but as you know, joys and happiness in Islam have a meaning and purpose unlike the indulgence in sins and frivolities that accompany the festivals of other religions.
The Eid in Islam is thus an occasion of real joy on which the bounties of God are appreciated and gratitude expressed for having blessed humanity with such a beautiful world that is a place of trial and a stepping stone towards the unimagined rewards of eternal life in the Hereafter. In view of this bounty, a true Muslim ought to reflect on the legacy of the Ahl al-Bait that we have received in the form of prayer, supplication, and the dynamic laws of the shari’a according to which we are required to mould our daily behaviour, so that our transient life becomes meaningful and an atmosphere of peace and prosperity prevails. For the faithful, so evident and obvious are the favours of the One and Only Creator that even the adversities that are created for them and their societies by the enemies of humanity, appear mere hurdles to be surpassed as we progress on the straight and unwavering path towards paradise and eternal bliss. So, let us lift our hands to beseech the Loving Lord for help at each turnstile of life as well as divine guidance for those fellow humans who have strayed away from the path of the All-Merciful and All-Forgiving God, by reciting this wonderful prayer, which is part of the special Eid ul-Fitr supplication to God Almighty by Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the 4th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
“Thy door is open to the beseechers; Thy munificence free to the askers; Thy help near to the help-seekers; The expectant are not disappointed by Thee; those who present themselves are despaired not of Thy bestowal; Thy provision is spread among (even) those who disobey Thee; Thy clemency present itself to (even) those hostile toward Thee…”
We start the day of Eid by first giving the Zakat-e Fitr money to the have-nots of the society before we offer the special Eid congregational prayer, and then we exchange visits with family members and friends. The atmosphere is indeed thrilling, reflective of the spiritual and social transformation that occurred in us and in the society because of the bounty of Ramadhan. In view of this bounty, a true Muslim ought to reflect on the legacy of the Ahl al-Bait that we have received in the form of prayers, supplications, and the dynamic laws of the shari’a, according to which we are required to mould our daily behaviour, so that our transient life becomes meaningful and an atmosphere of peace and prosperity prevails. Here we would like to present to you a famous aphorism from the Master of Eloquence, the Gateway of the City of Knowledge, the Commander of the Faithful, and the Leader of the Pious, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), who says about Eid: “Indeed the Eid is for those whose fasting has been accepted by God and whose worship has been appreciated, and any day on which God has not been disobeyed is Eid.”
As is evident from the wording of this Maxim which is number 428 in the book Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali (AS), as the Vicegerent to the Seal of Divine Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), minces no words when he says that any day on which we do not transgress the laws of God is a day of celebration for us. In other words a true believer, whatever the month or days of the year, is never indifferent to social, political, economic and cultural issues of brothers-in-faith, especially those groaning under Zionist oppression in the occupied and usurped land of Palestine, those being savagely killed by Israeli-US supported terrorists in Syria, those being suppressed in Egypt by the military junta, those being martyred in mosques and husseiniyas in Pakistan by devilish elements masquerading as Muslims, and those in Myanmar who are being terrorized by the Buddhists.
This is what we learn from the exemplary life of Imam Ali (AS), who taught us the correct way of observing Eid, and who was eventually martyred in this blessed month of Ramadhan in the defence of Islam and humanitarian values, while engrossed in the daily ritual prayer in the Mosque of Kufa. What an Exemplary Ruler he was! He departed from the world, a martyr, and it is the dynamic legacy of the cousin and first infallible successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) that has kept aloft the torch of guidance and humanitarian values. The Almighty’s Last Messenger to mankind had rightly said: “Ali ma’al Haq wa Haq ma’ Ali” – which means Ali is with truth and truth is with Ali. How true! This saying clearly indicates the status of Imam Ali (AS), the person whose bravery, generosity, patience, piety, knowledge, wisdom, eloquence and magnanimity – among other virtues – has continued to inspire the seekers of truth and human dignity, irrespective of whether they belong to any religion or ethnicity. He personified peace and justice, and his portrait used to hang in the halls of the Christian knights of the Byzantine Empire as the symbol of chivalry.
Let us make the Eid atmosphere more joyful by focusing on an advice by Imam Ali (AS) to his elder son and successor, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS): “My son, learn four things from me and through them you will learn four more. If you keep them in mind your actions will not bring any harm to you. The greatest wealth is wisdom; the greatest poverty is stupidity; the worst unsocial trait is vanity and self-glorification; and nobility of descent exhibits itself in politeness and in refinement of manner.”
“The next four things, my son, are: Do not make friendship with a fool because when he tries to do you good he will harm you; Do not make a miser your friend because he will run away from you at the time of need; Do not be friendly with a vicious and wicked person because he will sell you and your friendship at the cheapest price; Do not make friend of a liar because like a mirage he will make you visualize very near the things which are at a great distance and will make you see at the great distance the things which are near to you.”
Well, dear listeners, don’t you think that these gems of advice are necessary for developing the proper perspective of life among us, especially amongst the youth? Of course, they are. By pondering on the sayings of Imam Ali (AS), we can clearly see that the infallible Imams were sent by Allah to guide humanity towards salvation and save it from darkness. With Ramadhan over, and after having enjoyed the spiritual delights of the Grand Nights of Qadr, let us celebrate the day of Eid ul-Fitr in a fitting manner by praying for the advent of the Promised Saviour, Imam Mahdi (AS) whom all religions have predicted, and who will revive the legacy of his ancestors, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and Imam Ali (AS) to fill the earth with peace, justice and fairness through his global government, and will cleanse the earth of all traces of tyranny and corruption. Amen.
Before bidding you goodbye, we present you a poem composed on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr by Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi:
Behold! Eid ul-Fitr ushers in a new dawn
The icing to the cake of fasting Ramadhan
Reward for our month-long endeavours
This is how God grants the faithful favours,
Amid rejoicing we need to take stock of things,
To see whether happiness or grief the Eid brings,
As long as Muslims are divided
No Eid or a festivity to us is provided,
True festivity lies in unity
Greatest weapon is solidarity.
Islam is our identity
Based on the firm pedestal of fraternity,
Because of its dynamism, Islam attained eternity
It is no claim – but a manifest reality,
Glorious is our past
And the present glory will certainly last.
We see how nations flourished under Islamic rule
Spread the rays of knowledge in manner calm and cool,
All equal – in ease and happy
No complaint, no sorrow nor one sorry.
In Islam Eid is manifestation of unity
All share what all feel, hence all a single entity.
Let us do soul-searching to see what is short
And attend what Islam has taught,
Prophet Muhammad immortalized God’s laws,
Unlike manmade systems, the shari’ah is without flaws
So, let us celebrate Eid al-Fitr in its true spirit,
On the base of morality, with Muslim ranks tightly knit
As Imam Ali has informed us, indeed,
The day when we commit no sin is the real Eid
SHAFAQNA- Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz