Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

The essence of Eid-ul-Fitr

Eid-ul-Fitr, the greatest religious festival of the Muslims, is upon us once again. At the end of the holy month of Ramadan which calls upon the Muslims to observe day-long fasting, practise piety and refrain from all sinful indulgence, the appearance of the faint and fleeting crescent in the evening sky is heralded in the most joyous spirit. It opens up the floodgate of three-day long feasting after a month of fasting. For Muslims who have fasted during the month, the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is like finding an oasis after a long journey through the desert.

Eid celebration starts early and piously, with congregational prayers held in mosques and open fields. Repeated and rhythmic sounds of chanting prayers ring out from worship places and echo in the air, creating a solemn religious atmosphere all around. People from all walks of life, especially children and youth don their finest attire as part of the festivity, embrace each other and exchange greetings. It is the most opportune time to strengthen our bond with family members and friends and uphold love and fellow feeling. Buoyed by the spirit of Islamic brotherhood and festivity of the moment, we can even make peace with those who have wronged us to end disputes.

However, if the true spirit of Eid-ul-Fitr is to be imbibed, progress towards equal distribution of wealth and decreasing income inequality must be hastened. So, let us on this Eid spare some thought for those umpteen numbers of poor people in our society. Let us embrace people from all walks of life and share our joy and festivities with the poor, the downtrodden, the underprivileged and the orphans. After all, Eid means sharing of joy and happiness.

The Islamic provision of giving out zakat and fitra during Eid underscores this egalitarian principle of building an equal society. The wealthy must share his/her wealth with those in dire need. But the way things are, zakat and fitra are doled out only as a symbolic gesture and the actual inequality of wealth on a collective scale is not addressed. Ocean-wide inequality exists between citizens within Muslim states and between states within the Muslim commonwealth. The lesson of Eid is to quicken the move towards removing the imbalance as a way to uniting and unifying the Muslim ummah.

We wish a happy and safe Eid to our readers, patrons, advertisers and well-wishers. Eid Mubarak!