Congratulation on the blessed Eid! May Allah make such occasions a continuous joy for all Muslims! O my beloved, this isEid; it is the day of joy, delight, and purity. Allah says: [Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy therein let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard] (Yunus 10:58).
Let hearts be reconciled and souls be sincere toward one another. Let us renew the Islamic fraternity charter that brings the believers together. They help one another to righteousness, exhort one another to truth and endurance, help the oppressed, and curb the oppressor. Actually, the joy of `Eid will not be sensed by those whose hearts are envious, whose consciences are cheating, or whose souls are overwhelmed by whim. Let us dream of a promising future whose good omens are glimmering on the horizon. How tough life would be if it lacked hope!
The poet Abu At-Taib Al-Mutanabi innovated bad custom followed by many poets later on. He authored his pessimistic poem lamenting his luck in Eid. Poets followed Al-Mutanabi’s footsteps and used to lament their bad conditions and unfortunate luck in Eid. Some lamented their personal, individual problems and others had a wider outlook. Since our childhood, we memorized poems grieving over the painful reality of the Ummah and its sufferings that reject the joy of Eid without achieving victory. No doubt, achieving the desired hope, whether individual or collective, has a splendid joy and a wonderful flavor. However, Allah the Most Wise has known that the Ummah will be lax as the preceding nations, relying on the glorious past and forsaking its duty, and that crises, ordeals, and calamities will afflict it. Yet He Almighty has legislated for them to rejoice at Eid as an expression of gratitude to Allah for enabling them to fulfill worship and for guiding them to Islam. [Allah desires ease for you, not your discomfort. He desires you to fast the whole of the month, and that you may magnify Him for giving you His guidance, and that you may give thanks] (Al-Baqarah 2:185).
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) kept Muslims away from imitating polytheists or Jews and Christians in their festivals, he did not leave them without festivity and joy. Rather, he distinguished them with the two great feasts, namely Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, which are associated with the worship of fasting and pilgrimage. Throughout the centuries, Muslims have celebrated these two feasts and have gathered and given generously to the poor and needy during them. Muslims even followed legal concessions (rukhsahs) on such days which they may not have indulged in on other days, depending on the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) “Leave them for this is the day of `Eid.” They used to do that even in times of trouble and distress. In fact, the human souls may be flat-out bored with the excessive pressing on one issue even if it is right in itself. People cannot stand extreme seriousness. Thus, there is no harm to stop lamenting and grieving in order to make our hearts taste happiness and delight for a while. In this context, there is some nice meaning, which is to remind people that there is nothing lasting in this life and that the whole matter rests with Allah. He gives power to whom He wills and brings down whom He wills. The degradation and bitterness the Ummah experiences are not everlastingly inescapable, and history does not know the last word; rather, it goes in successive stages that witness advance and regress, rise and fall, having power and being oppressed. There is nothing more harmful to the Ummah’s morale and capabilities than the feelings of inability and feebleness.
`Eid comes while we are an alluring target for the American attacks. It comes while coalitions have an appetite to strike on the right and left, to get even with Muslims and their culture and history, to condemn Muslim communities and interfere in their curriculums, thinking, media, and economy. Actually I noticed bitterness and latent sadness on the features and in the speech of many people. True, this derives from their praiseworthy loyalty to this religion and from their deep concern about the Ummah. But to change the mood by using joy and laughter and by recalling childlike innocence can reshape the soul, renew its resolution, and heighten its aspiration. Allah with His far-reaching divine wisdom covered Muslims with drowsiness in the Battle of Uhud when war flared up and harm befell Muslims and frightened them. With this drowsiness Allah drove away evil from them and restored to them tranquility, content, and calm.
Actually, Eid is a part of the divine system bestowed on this Ummah. Eid links the Ummah’s past with its present and brings up the nation’s young generation with a feeling of real belonging to the Ummah. Moreover, it links the Ummah’s joy with its religion, which represents the way to perfection, power, and victory. It is not proper that circumstances make us forget the Eid’s nature and essence as a feast so that we turn it into an occasion for lamenting. Let us rejoice at Eid in defiance of poets and follow the Prophet’s guidance. Here we see a ray of hope at the end of tunnel, sparked by a little but brave child fighting the enemy with stones in Palestine, and by those sincere people who strive and endeavor to reinstate the Ummah and rectify its affairs.
** Sheikh Salman ibn Fahd al-`Udah is a prominent Saudi scholar.